Gilbere Forte first caught industry ears in 2010 with his debut project 87 Dreams. Now, alongside his go-to producer RAAK and a handful of prominent guest spots, the Philly by way of Michigan rapper is back with his latest free EP, Some Dreams Never Sleep.
A verse from Big K.R.I.T. builds the beat up on “Black Soul,” the opener. When the drums kick in, Gilbere bursts onto the Don Cannon produced track, pouring out his goals and aspirations for success. The candor and positivity of his lyrics are some of his strongest assets and he’s able to successfully ride the line between being a rapper with a message and still having mainstream appeal. This kind of openness shines through on “Feel Alive,” where the MC gets lost in thought over slowed down electric guitar instrumentation—perhaps the EP’s most honest moment.
One knock on the project is that it consists of several remixed tracks from Gilbere’s previous work. While new verses from Pusha T and Jim Jones on “Hot (In this Bitch)” and Asher Roth and Bun B on the remixed “Black Chukkas,” result in strong group efforts, they don’t do much in terms of showcasing Gilbere’s progression as a solo artist, and will sound too familiar to longtime fans.
But, Some Dreams Never Sleep comes to a close with “Hello,” a unique rap/rock collaboration with The Kickdrums. It’s not everyday that young rappers take these kinds of risks musically, and the result here is a sonic gem: Gilbere’s rhymes fuse seamlessly with The KickDrums’s production and their smooth Radiohead-esque vocals.
Despite being a little feature heavy at times, this offering makes another case for Gilbere Forte as one of the top up-and-comers to watch out for. This Flint native isn’t just building castles in the air; the dreams are becoming reality. —Neil Martinez-Belkin