Words by Tim Hakki @TimHakki
A.Forte’s new four-track EP Blue Stream is chock full of attitude and vitality. Whether it’s in the soulful, brutal beats of opener ‘The Sun$hine’, or the sun-bleached Chance-y style of bookend ‘Summer Jazz’ Blue Stream announces itself as the humble brag of an amateur artist who feels he’s fully deserving of patronage, confident that when you hear it you’ll feel it too. In the centre of the record is ‘B.I.C. (Black is Cool) which takes a leaf out of DJ Dahi’s book and samples an indie deep cut (in this case Future Islands’ ‘Doves’), warps it, and transforms it into a banger. With a great instrumental in the bag, Forte’s vocal is solid - it aims high and resolutely does not miss. The rhymes are effortless, the flow is steady and considered - reminiscent of Kanye’s flow when he’s having a good time - and the lyrical content has so many graceful historical and pop-cultural references, (King Kong, Malcolm X, MJ, Fresh Prince), that it feels a little like K.Dot could be in the writers’ room somewhere. Thematically it’s surprising. There are countless rap songs about being black in a majority white system, there are rap songs about growing up in hard times, but the emergence of ‘B.I.C.’ makes you wonder why there’s relatively few songs about growing up black which don’t riff on social negativity and systemic cynicism. Forte is visionary in his everydayness and wears his influences on his sleeve, but in his easygoing and fun nature he offers a thought-provoking new perspective to the rap game.
Blue Stream is out on SoundCloud here