As we pointed out yesterday, Rob Forte released his first mixtape ‘S.O.U.L.’ this month and it’s been on rotation since. For the last couple of years he’s been dropping EP’s and working with the Miami hip hop collective The Academy and slowly building an audience in the south. He was kind enough to answer a few questions for Allunsigned.com, where he talks about narrowly avoiding life in prison and his experience trying to make it in the industry.
AU: ‘S.O.U.L.’ has been a long time in the making and your first full-length release, was the making of this mixtape a learning process or did it come natural after your two ‘Road To Greatness’ EPs?
Rob: To tell the truth, this was both a learning process as well as a natural. Everything that I’m doing now was planned from the first EP to now. The whole point was to show growth….pretty much giving the listeners an experience to grow along with me. I’ve been REALLY studying the game, paying attention to what the audience is attracted to, how to handle certain business inquiries and all that other stuff. Plus life goes on. So the things that have been happening in my personal life as well as my music life really had a huge influence in S.O.U.L. I explained all of this in the intro (Simply Outta Utter Love), which I said: “They won’t understand this came from 2 years of contemplation while facing 30 in prison but luckily on probation”. Straight facts.
AU: How have you evolved as an artist from when you first started to the making of ‘S.O.U.L.’, or have you always had the vision that led you here?
Rob: I always had the vision. It was just getting my foot through the door. But as far as growth, I just had to adjust and continue to push myself to get better and better. My flow got better, rhymes are better, everything is just….better.
AU: You’ve got a couple different producers on ‘S.O.U.L.’ but the production doesn’t diverge too much, how much of a hand did you have on the production side of the mixtape?
Rob: Everything on S.O.U.L. was pretty much all me. I had a vision, I knew the people who I wanted and I executed. I was pretty selfish on S.O.U.L., including just the people I have already worked with. Every collab on there is someone that is apart of my team The Academy. The only person that isn’t is my homegirl Tashel, who is on Nasty. I just love to build relationships.
AU: The Miami hip hop scene has been growing steadily, is there a sense of community?
Rob: Ehhh I wouldn’t say that there is a sense of community. Miami is sort of like New York in way: TONS of talent but no one really wants to bond like that. I don’t know what it is but it’s just like that. You have certain people that want unity and stuff but I’m not too sure if it’s going to happen any time soon. But I don’t really pay too much attention to it. I just keep grinding and try to find detours around that whole situation.
AU: Do you prefer collaborations or working on your own?
Rob: Honestly I prefer working on my own. Everything moves faster, I know what I want in the final version, and it’s just easier. But if I do work with anyone, 88% of the time it’s gonna be someone from The Academy. But if someone wants to collab, just send it to email@example.com and I’ll gladly put the murder game down haha.
AU: What track are you most proud of and why?
Rob: As far as S.O.U.L. is concerned, it would probably be between Simply Outta Utter Love and/or Turnt Up. The reason why I chose Simply Outta Utter Love is because it explains EVERYTHING. I can practically answer every question with a quote from Simply Outta Utter Love. That’s the fantastic thing about the song. It’s nothing but truth. From me catching a charge to my whole plan to release the project. Nothing…..but…..facts. Turnt Up is one of them simply because it’s the first song I have received radio play. I mean…..how can I not be proud of that? Haha. Shoutout to the homie Sway for that.
AU: Who is currently on your playlist?
Rob: Other than The Academy, I listen to a lot of Kevin Gates, Curren$y, Lil Herb, Cap 1, SZA, Isaiah Rashad, Erykah Badu, etc… They really inspire me as far as content and lyrics.
AU: Do you think the internet is a good or a bad thing for hip hop and the music industry as a whole?
Rob: I believe there’s pros and cons to it. Pros: 1) Faster worldwide exposure, 2) It’s inexpensive, and 3) It’s easy in general. Cons? It’s TOO easy. It makes artists lazy. If you don’t have the grind to get up and hit the streets with your product then I don’t think that there’s going to be much success with what you’re doing. At the end up the day, you are trying to appeal to the people. So if you decide to sit down in front of a screen all day thinking that this is the only way, then your chances are reduced by a long shot.
AU: Who is your biggest inspiration musically?
Rob: Common most definitely. He’s my favorite artist. Matter of fact, he’s actually the first artist that I LISTENED to. Like actually paid attention to his lyrics, understood them, and memorized. Ahhhh good times haha.
AU: Who is your biggest inspiration personally?
Rob: Personally? I would probably say my dad. A lot of the stuff I go through now, he’s been through the exact same stuff. And even now we go through the same stuff. Pretty weird but we get through it.
AU: What was one major obstacle you have faced and how did you overcome it?
Rob: Ha! Catching that charge(s). It was two felony charges so I was looking at some time. It was unfortunate but music helped me a lot and prayer. A couple of friends and family too. But mostly prayer.
AU: Do you have any advice for those trying to break into the hip hop scene?
Rob: Don’t let ANYONE tell you that you can’t do what you love. Create a blueprint, execute precisely and stick to it. Also, have A LOT of patience. Patience is a virtue for real.
AU: Anything else you’d like to mention?
Rob: Yeah. Make sure you download S.O.U.L. on AudioMack, BandCamp, AllUnsigned.com, and more. Download Bonz Rollie’s mixtape Numb The Pain on SoundCloud, DatPiff, and/or BandCamp; Download Joe Joe Black’s mixtape D-Terminal on DatPiff and/or SoundCloud, and Rod Markie’s mixtape Psalms of a Sinner is on the way as well as FloeticKeen’s mixtape Catharsis.