From LA, via PHI
From LA, via PHI

The hip hop community is slated to hear some monstrous albums in the upcoming months. After a brief hiatus, the Lonely Stoner Kid CuDi returns with an April release of Indicud. Also in April we will hear Talib Kweli’s latest offering, Prisoner of Conscious. Over at Roc Nation, J. Cole is looking to surpass the success of his 2011 debut with Born Sinner later this year.

As the summer rolls on, rumors of albums by Kanye West and Jay-Z are sure to keep surfacing. Hip Hop DX reported that a possible title for Yeezy’s new album is I am God Seems legit.

Despite the packed schedule of veteran releases, the album I’m most excited to hear…

…is from the newest signing of LA Reid and Epic Records, Gilbere Forte. His debut body of work, PRAY is tentatively set for a May release.

gilbereforte-pray

I was introduced to Gilbere Forte almost three years ago by my friend Tyler. At first I was a bit hesitant to take Tyler’s recommendation. Tyler is a hip hop hipster. He only likes “underground” rappers. Discussing rap with him inevitably turns into a game of “who can name the most obscure rapper that hasn’t blown up yet.”  It’s a shitty game.

However, I kept seeing Gilbere’s name on blogs like Pigeons and Planes and The Smoking Section. So I finally gave his debut mixtape, 87 Dreams a listen. I was sold.

Following the release of the Don Cannon Produced Eyes of Veritas, Gilbere signed with Motown Records. However, shortly after the deal was completed, the team that signed him was let go. He now found himself in limbo, as Motown wasn’t going to make him a priority. It was almost like Motown was an NFL Team and they were just looking for Bere to fill a spot during training camp.

In late 2011, he eventually negotiated his release and spent several months in Paris, refreshing his sound and refocusing his hustle.

He returned to the States, splitting time between Philly and LA, where he began work on PRAY.

The unofficial single, also titled PRAY was released back in October.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3NPZ2vjApxY

Check it out, you too will love the hypnotic and hard hitting track. Major props for the Fiona Apple sample as well.

Gilbere then performed all new material at SXSW a few weeks ago. The best way to describe the sound is “epic”. I’d venture to say the project is being produced by Anigma’s very own Raak. It makes sense, seeing as Raak handled production on Bere’s previous mixtapes.

Raak’s tracks have these vast, lush arrangements that give Gilbere an expansive sound. It’s almost like they’re coming straight off of a Martin Scorsece or Francis Ford Coppola film. The tracks could have easily appeared on Gladiator. All this coupled with Bere’s abilities make the Anigma crew something reckon with.

A week ago or so ago, the signing to Epic Records was made official. What’s most exciting about the deal is that Gilbere is coming into the label as a priority. He isn’t going to be a project or a “let’s see what happens” type of artist. He is being given the resources and leeway to manifest the vision for the PRAY project. He is Epic Record’s #1 Draft Pick for 2013.

Real recognize real.
Real recognize real.

I liken his current set up with that of Kendrick Lamar’s. K. Dot had a huge label behind him yet the folks at Interscope gave him the freedom to create his debut. The result was the critically acclaimed Good Kid, M.A.A.D City

PRAY has the potential to be not only a successful project, but a memorable one as well. Years from now we could be talking about Gilbere’s first outing in the same vein as The College Dropout, Reasonable Doubt or the aforementioned Good Kid, M.A.A.D City

Now I can only pray that we DO get it in May.