As promised, the very first WeAreDope feature with ATL's own, ForteBowie is here! After posting the intro to the series on Monday, I decided to get this first interview on and poppin'! So with no further delay, here is WeAreDope:ForteBowie!
There's something about this ForteBowie guy. He seems complex yet understandable. How can someone who sings, raps, and produces do them all and do them extremely well. He samples Friendly Fires and 2 Chainz in the same fucking song (Impala)! He completely changes the beat right in the middle of his track, Ratchet. He can make a song about fucking, sound like a lullaby. How does he do it? What inspires him to do it? ForteBowie was presented to me January 2011 by 1/2 of his management, Akeem. In my first post about him, I described him as, "Kid Cudi in his mixtape days mixed with the realness of Bun B in a tall glass of Southern homemade sweet tea." But who knew that over a year later, I would discover and he would evolve to be so much more than that. I'm blessed with the opportunity to work with him and to see his journey first hand, but even with the two of us being as close as fraternal twins, I still couldn't put my finger on what truly made this dude from the Southside of Atlanta so... epic.
So, I hit him up, gave him an offer he couldn't refuse (aka asked for an interview) and around 8:40pm, Monday night, I had a chat with the man they call ForteBowie.
Interview after the cut.
What is up ForteBowie?!!!
What's goin' on?
Nothing much! Ready for this amazing ass interview we're about to do?
Lol. I've been looking forward to this for a minute
Yes! Me too! And I would just like to thank you for being the first person to be featured in WeAreDope! You're fucking awesome!
Thank you so much. I try.
Ok, well enough of the sweet talk, let's get down to business! First question of this epic ass interview... How did you come up with the name, ForteBowie?
I was signing up for some website, I forgot what it was. I already came up with an alias for myself, Forte A. Negro, which means loud ass nigga. So I wanted to put Forte into my username but it was used by someone else. And the site suggested using a name of a celebrity and used David Bowie as an example. And I was like "I'm a fan of David Bowie. Why not?" So...yeah.
Ha! Now that is a story! Very dope!
Lol. It's the truth. I didn't really have an epiphany or anything. I thought it was funny. And it just stuck and people thought it was intriguing.
Yea, it definitely is! You’re from the (deep) Southside of Atlanta, so you’re ATL reppin’ and all. Do you think the rest of the Hip Hop world has the wrong impression of ATL Hip Hop nowadays or is it fairly accurate?
It's crazy. People literally think people in this city are dumb as fuck. A lot of people have completely given up on finding a true artist in Atlanta. To a lot of people Atlanta is producing a lot of mediocre music. I understand and see what they're saying. I listen to Future and Waka and Gucci. I understand it. I know what it's for. It's a time and place for it. Once you can [see] that, it's easier to accept it. But some people just can't believe this is the same city OutKast came from. And I understand that. I have no choice. I live in the heart of it. I used to be like "Fuck Gucci. That's not real music." But honestly I couldn't get away from it. And once you realize what it's for, you realize it's bigger than "real/fake hip-hop" That shit be ridin'. Period. I don't listen to these artists waiting for them to blow me away lyrically. It's about a feel and an energy.
Very true. So you think people just need to be more open minded towards music from the South and not look for the same ol shit?
Basically. All I say is, don't give up on us. Lol. I know a lot of artists who stay right around the corner that have great music. It's on them to push it on the listener to accept it with open ears and no preconceived judgement.
Word, son. Well anyone who listens to your music knows that you’re not just a rapper. You’re also a singer, song writer, and producer. What comes most naturally to you? Or is it just one big conglomerate of talent that kind of comes all at once?
It's everything at once honestly. I sang before everything. I would rap here and there when I was little but I took singing more serious. As I got older I realized I could do exactly what Jay-Z was doing. And I started taking rap serious around 8th grade. And producing came in the picture when I hit 10th grade. I've been doing everything together for so long that it's all very natural.
Including song writing and producing?
Yea. I wrote songs back when I was like 8. So I always wrote music. I always wanted my songwriting to be set apart from the typical "I love you" ABC song type shit. So in 9th grade I just decided to sing exactly how I talk. Cussin and all that. And when 11th grade came I stopped writing it down and depended on my head. And producing is great because I make what I want and what I hear. I can't imagine writing a song and then having to explain to someone how I want the beat to sound. I just can't do that. That shit would take forever and I don't take forever on music. When I'm done, I'm done. lol.
Yea, I think that artists who write their own songs and produce have a creative advantage over others who don't. But next question...Do you have any other talents that the people may not be aware of?
Ummm... I'm an okay cook. I'm getting better with each meal. And I don't know what else. Lol
HA! Ramen noodles Top Chef bitchesss!!! Lol
Lol. Hell yeah. I do my thing with that spaghetti though. Trying to get better with the chicken. Last time it came out a lil dry.
Damn. No country for dry ass chicken.
As a kid, what were you listening to?
Everything. Michael and Janet OF COURSE!!! Bell Biv DeVoe, all the New Edition stuff. My aunt use to listen to the soft rock station so I loved Phil Collins, The Eagles, The Police, Alanis Morisette, Celine Dion and I loved R. Kelly and Sade and Rod Stewart, Isley Brothers, All the one hit wonders from the 80s and 90s. I liked the whole pop thing that was happening in the late 90s, NSYNC and BSB I even listened to the Spice Girls. But I still listened to what everybody in the neighborhood listened to, 3 6 Mafia, UGK, OutKast, Baby D, Oomp Camp, Kilo Ali-Man I've heard damn near every song. LMAO!
Wow, your iTunes must be like a month long right now... lmao!
Yeah. On my last laptop, I had 60 GB of just music.
Hot damn. What are some of your non-musical influences?
Movies. I watch a lot of movies and it really finds itself in my music. But I'm just influenced by greatness. Great TV Shows. People that strive to be great. Just greatness and epic things. Oh, and women.
I knew you would say that last one...
Yup. Women. Lol
What was it like opening up for Waka Flocka Flame and Machine Gun Kelly last year?
It was a real blessing. I just showed up and paid dues. I really didn't know how big that look really was until the video hit the net and people hit me like "You're blowing up!" And I'm like "Really?" Lol. But I really enjoyed the crowd. My boy, Fort Knox was on stage to introduce me and the 1990 family was on the 1s and 2s, DJ K Threat, so that kind of made me feel comfortable
Epic ass beginnings! Lol I know you are of Cameroonian descent; do your African roots play any part as inspiration in your music?
I believe so. All the songs my aunts and my mother would sing when I was younger were just really melodic and I think that developed by an ear for melodies. And just the energy Makossa has. That's the music my dad use to listen to all the fucking time. I use to get so annoyed in the car. I used to put my hands over my ears for the whole trip. But as I got older, I appreciated it and understood what it was.
It always seems like your parents (especially African parents) listen to the most annoying music when you're little! Lmao!
Yeah. I was like "put on some 2Pac please!!! Boyz II Men something." But my dad loves country. So I never complained when he played that.
Lmao! Omg my mom loves country too! Africans x country music man! Lol
I think it's because they say Blacks created Country/Western so it's just us relating to our own shit. Lol
Blacks created music period. Lol But anyway though...You recently released a whole remix EP project, When Forte Met Iggy, which consisted of remixes of Iggy Azalea tracks from her Ignorant Art EP. Are you that big of an Iggy Azalea fan? And are there any other femcees you fucks with?
I fuck with her. I think she hasn't even shown the world everything she has to offer. And as far as femcees go, I'm already hard to please musically, so you already know it's hard to impress me if you're a female rapper. Lol. But Rapsody is hard as fuck. And I like Honey Cocaine cuz she's cute. It's like "awww look at her." Lol. She has the potential to [do] exactly what Tyga did, build a fan base and go from there.
The name of your music group/label/company is 1990, besides being your birth year, what importance does the year 1990 or the 90s era have to you?
The 90s were the best years. PERIOD. I mean do I even have to go into detail? Really? TV, music, politics- it was a lot smoother and life just felt like LIFE. Lol. Maybe that's because I was young as hell and didn't know much, but it really felt like everything was alright. And that's what I want people to take from my music and my message.
Yea, the 90s were pretty fucking awesome. I miss them =,(. Who, What, And Where is the Juice Crew?
#JuiceCrew is the click. Basically dudes I went to school with and that stay around the Southside. You got me, DJ Omezy, Dj Playboi, Fressh, Smitty Ovechkin, Dj Southwest ATL, Mayberry and Jelks is our sister, the only female. Lol She don't rap but she hold it down. And we already know about the original Juice Crew in the 80s with Big Daddy Kane. So before people start saying "Dumbass Atlanta niggas don't know history." We know. Smitty is originally from NY and Fressh is from Oakland so we know about all kinds of hip-hop. But we're more so a family than a music group. We just make music when we're bored. And then you got honorable mention #JuiceCrew: DemBoyzRockGang, Mykko Montana, Castor Creed. That's the team.
So songs yall do, such as Bop It, were just done for fun and for the love music, right?
Yea. We really might push that one though. That's a hit, hands down. One night we were in our little hangout spot, The Pawn Shop and [there] was an old Bop It toy and Fressh said, "We gotta make a Bop It song." He was just playin', but I don't play with that shit. Lol. Made the beat and came back with it the next day.
Well talk about non musical influences! Lmao! This is somewhat random but, what is one of the best beats or produced songs of all time to you?
Man. That's hard. That's really hard.
Okay, favorite producers?
Producers? Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Teddy Riley, The Neptunes, Kanye, Timbaland, Andre 3000, Quincy Jones, Polow Da Don, Flying Lotus, 9th Wonder and J Dilla.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years, not only as an artist but as a person?
I see myself doing whatever it takes to make this world better. Through music and philanthropy. Probably married with kids. Directing as well.
Sounds like a solid plan! Well, it’s 2012, so what’s next from ForteBowie?
I'm dropping Passion & Confusion in April, so expect a lot of videos before then. I'm dropping a little side project with some homies in the ATL Indie scene. And I'll drop a covers 'tape later. And a lot of shows and traveling. Bringing ForteBowie to the world.
Yessss!!! So exciting! Well, this is the end of our epic ass interview! Is there anything else you would like to tell the people?
Yes! Continue to support me and what I do. I appreciate all the fans, all around the world. #BowieNation is out here!!! Oh and it's ForteBowie not Forte Bowie. Lol. Yay! And.......bitches ain't shit.
LMAO!!! Word, B! Well thank you for wasting time with me (lol) and I wish you much success and dopeness!
Thank you. Same to you. Let's go and get money!
For more of ForteBowie, be sure to check out:
Interview done by: Es Famojure
Edited by: Es Famojure
Original photos by: Shot By Shante Photography & Ramiah Branch Photography
Photos re-edited by: Es Famojure