Spotlight: How To Succeed Without XXL Freshmen Cover- The Gilbere Forte Way
There is a certain prestige and entitlement given to the lucky 10 up and coming rappers that are christened XXL’s “Freshmen Class,” but does gracing that infamous cover entitle these artists to success? I can see the rationale behind XXL’s 2011 class picks, however one artist that is working his way to the top and should have been recognized is Gilbere Forte. If you read any of the music blogs you would have heard the surprise of the bloggers to see Forte’s face not on that XXL cover, but he’s an artist that can show the business you don’t need to be in the “Freshmen Class” to be the breakout artist of the year. Last night at Crash Mansion in NYC, BET Music Matters showcased Forte’s musical talents and stage presence along with fellow aspiring stars Olamide, Kevin Cossom, and Mali Music.
Forte followed Kevin Cossom, and just blew me away. Personally, liking an artist is one thing and I really did like Forte’s music previous to last night, but when i’m at a show and see the passion and talent in front of me throughout an entire set it takes me to another level of respect and support. Gilbere brought out an entire live band to rock with on stage, and ended on a high note for the crowd going all out for his track “Black Chukkas” from his debut mixtape “87 Dreams.” Gilbere gave the audience his personality, his music, and his humility I can’t imagine anyone walking out not a Gilbere Forte fan.
“87 Dreams” solidified Gilbere as a force ready to break into the music industry, and now with the recent release of his Don Cannon-hosted mixtape “EYES of VERITAS” he’s raised the bar for the kids in that XXL Freshmen Class. I don’t know what’s more impressive on this mixtape the caliber of rapper guest appearances (Emilio Rojas, Murda Mook, Reek Da Villian, and Joell Ortiz) or the A-list hit making producers (B!nk, Boi-1da, and Lex Luger.) that lend a hand to showcase Gilbere’s songwriting, producing, and rapping talents. He proved his creative influences and music maturity to be so strong that The Smoking Section compared these attributes to Yezzy’s (if that’s not an honor I don’t know what is.)
I expect to hear a lot more from him in 2011and he’s got to keep these remixes coming, that one of Adele’s “Set Fire To The Rain,” was original and cohesively genius (we don’t see the mood and energy matched on a slower song by a rapper often.)
Check him out: