Interview: Gilbere Forté
Fri, 02 Aug 2013 11:20:45
"I watched a lot of films when I was young," exclaims Gilbere Forté with a smile. "I was never the Disney kid. I was the New Line Cinema Rated-R dude."
That makes perfect sense when you listen to his new epic, Pray. It's a beautiful, ballsy, and brilliant amalgam of space hip hop bliss and some of the most cinematic storytelling in the genre. It's also the perfect introduction to rap's most enigmatic and engaging young voice.
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Gilbere Forté opens up about Pray, movies, and so much more.
What do you feel like ties Pray together as a whole?
Sonically, I wanted to make sure this project covered every bit of emotion I had experienced over the past two years. I've always been a big fan of how films are put together and scenes are sequenced. I wanted to visualize this project as an audio movie in a sense. As I'm creating songs, I'm like, "Alright, I'm getting a specific emotion. What visually can fit on top of this instrumental?" These are the stories I'm painting and telling over these instrumentals. It was a clever way to see if I could sequence this project the way some of the greatest films would be received. That was my push for it. I really have a tie-in to how films are put together.
What's the story behind "Down for the Ride"?
There will be people who say, "I'm riding with you. I'm your boy. You're my road dog". It's females and guys. Then, you're like, "Dude, you're not really what you say you are when it comes down to it." It's a celebratory track though. I'm taking the opportunity to celebrate having true friends who are actually like that moving forward in life. Getting further in the music industry, this is a business at the end of the day. Who I am as a person will always be important. The friends I have around me will help keep me in line and maintain my sanity. I wanted this record to relate to the female and guy crowd. Everybody is hoping they've got someone down for the ride who will be with them no matter what. There was a shitty period of my life where I didn't have anything going on. I had some close friends who kept me on the right track.
What about "Double Cupped"?
That was an interesting record. Creatively, I wanted to touch on where I come from geographically. Being born in Flint, Michigan, it's a very small city. Everyone thinks Detroit is the worst fucking part of Michigan. The crime and poverty rates in Flint are ridiculous, but nobody thinks of Flint. Growing up there, we used to a lot of Do or Die and 8Ball & MJG. We were so accustomed to listening to music from the south and west coast. We were more prone to listening to that than anything from the East Coast. I'm paying homage to the likes of 8ball & MJG with "Double Cupped". The story is an interesting tale of a female trying to figure herself out and going through the motions of everyday life trying to be out here, so to speak.
Where did "ANIGMA" come from?
I have a company called ANIGMA that I'm a part of. I've never had an opportunity to celebrate my own brand. I wanted to do that. As it's part of the audio movie, it's the moment I'm saying, "I'm going to knock this fucking wall down and be confident again". I can be boastful and rap about these things that may seem outlandish to others, but this is how I feel. Nothing is going to stop me. I'm lyrically breaking down the state I'm in. I'm ready to tear the roof off this shit.
Did you know for "Fall For Nothing" would end Pray?
Some of the greatest movies have an ending you don't expect. Why show the ending of the movie at the beginning? I wanted to make it feel like the beginning was at the end. In the act of prayer, one falls to his or her knees to pray. To write a record where I'm touching on this space I'm in physically and mentally, I'm asking, "Am I falling to my knees to pray for something or am I falling to my knees to pray for nothing?" Is it really worth it. After every story you've heard leading to this, I have to be true to myself as a human. Am I falling to my knees for something right? Or am I falling for nothing? It's up to you to figure out what works for you.
If Pray were a movie, what would it be?
It would be like Inception meets Vanilla Sky meets Basic Instinct. For the imaginative and dreamy aspect of how Inception makes you feel. I wanted to craft ambient underlines in the music to give you that emotion. Some of what we used is similar to the Inception score. As far as Vanilla Sky goes it was important for me to touch on the act of a lucid dream. For a period in my life, that's played a factor in what's kept me sane as a person. For this project, I was Tom Cruise's character in a sense. As far as Basic Instinct goes, the records that seem romantic have a very dark twist to them. I'm playing on that as well.
What are you listening to now?
I'm listening to James Blake, The Chromatics, and a range of things.
Have you heard Gilbere Forté?
Snag the 'Pray' Mixtape from Gilbere's website!