Interview: Understanding the twisted, eerie and fascinating psyche of the tremendously talented Fatboi Sharif & Roper Williams

“Since a small kid I was always interested and attracted to what makes us scared in the human psyche and how it triggers others in different ways. It always influences my writing from the aspect of created the unknown”

Fatboi Sharif

One of the most eclectic, intricate and fascinating hip-hop albums has a new deluxe version out on P.O.W Recordings and I couldn’t be more excited to cover it yet again. Gandhi Loves Children Deluxe is the name of it, and is the brainchild of New Jersey artists Fatboi Sharif and Roper Williams. Together, they’ve been able to create an dark, haunting, yet animated body of work that perfectly embodies the eclecticism and wild energy of both artists at the top of their creative powers. I interviewed both artists on the creative process that made this album, their inspirations and how film helped shaped their vision. But first, a few words on the album as a whole.

Tragic” sets the tone perfectly with a dark and unsettling verse on some of the tragedies and tragic characters that have shaped history recently. It showcases Fatboi Sharif’s dark humour effortlessly, and his humourous yet revealing raps is what makes him such a fascinating emcee. The disorienting, minimalist beats on “I’m Buggin” and “The Cure for Amoxicillin” feel like they’re taken straight from a horror film, while there are pretty wild lines off this one that are both playful, yet direct and punchy. The latter track features L.I.F.E. Long who, along with Fatboi Sharif, share these vivid, nightmarish lyrics about drug use, vampires and demagogues. The lyrics make this entire project so engaging and fascinating to me. Fatboi Sharif’s flow is so unpredictable, and he brings this fascinating, quotable lines, while themes of depravity, corruption and a general dystopian outlook on life around him. The project reminds me of the William S. Burroughs novel Naked Lunch. It’s one of the most disorienting, eclectic books ever written about human experiments, heavy drug use, commenting on the depravity and depressive reality of human existence. There have been albums throughout history that have captured this kind of hellish soundscape, whether it’s the grit of an album such as Company Flow’s 1997 Funcrusher Plus or Danny Brown’s disorienting and eclectic 2016 masterpiece Atrocity Exhibition. Fatboi Sharif wears his influences on his sleeve, and I can tell just by following him on Twitter, how passionate he is about music. The deluxe tracks on this masterpiece are all incredible. The chimes on “Prescription” are absolutely crazy, while Fatboi Sharif starts his verse off sounding pissed the fuck off and I love it. The beat on “The First Man to Obtain Carbon” is crazy – the way Roper Williams was able to chop and screw that sample is crazy and is a testament to his talents as a producer. “Angels & Demons” is an oddly uplifting way to close the album out, at least in terms of the colourful vocal sample and light groove that closes this album out. Along with the singles “Fly Pelican” featuring YL and “Smithsonian” (both are terrific tracks!), the rest of the album is a stunning, immersive experience into the worlds of Fatboi Sharif and Roper Williams, who aren’t afraid to push the boundaries and be honest with their artistry in the most creative and inspirational way.

Martin Boev: Congrats on everything guys. Gandhi Loves Children Deluxe is a true masterpiece. Did you have a clear idea of the themes you wanted to explore on the album and the sound you wanted for it, or did that evolve with time and more conversations around it?

Fatboi Sharif: Going into the creation process of Gandhi Loves Children, we certainly told each other from the gate that we wanted to make something that, at the time and to this day, we weren’t hearing musically from anyone else, both lyrically and sonically, and we accomplished that. Going into it we didn’t necessarily have an exact direction on where we would take it, but as we dug into it more, and we had the first few recording sessions, as time went on we decided that we wanted to create a world that you, as the listener, would get lost in. We spotlighted this particular moment and time in history that will certainly be studied and documented before it’s all said and done. The past 4-5 years have certainly been some of the strangest and misunderstood time periods we’ve witnessed.

” ‘Smithsonian’ is always amazing to me because it’s one that always gets a crazy crowd response and on just some MC shit I love the energy and pulse pounding reaction.”

Fatboi Sharif,

MB: I found it fascinating to read that your writing process consists of going to sleep to the beats and dreaming about flows and ideas. Was there any beat in particular that stood out the most in your dreams, and if so, what was the process like writing to it?

FB: To tell you the truth about Gandhi Loves Children, all the beats stood out for different reasons and each one pushed me in all sorts of directions evolving certain energies. For example, 3 of my favorite beats to write to and 3 of my favorites from the album where “Murder Them“, “Stigmata” and “The Jackolantern Sculpture“. When Roper Williams first played them for me I was amazed and also beyond excited because I knew that sonically it would bring a whole ‘nother level and texture to the project that weren’t there before so it pushed me to say to myself, how could I bring these sonic worlds into reality. I need to find the perfect words to make this picture clear and vivid how I see it in my head. The writing session for those where intense. I remember it was a Friday night and I wrote all 3 of those tracks standing my kitchen wearing boxes and eating chinese food. Lol. Within two hours! Immediately after I crafted them completely I remember calling roper and just screaming on the phone like “Yoooooooooooo. WAIT UNTIL YOU HEAR THIS SHIT I’M RECORDING TOMORROW”. I knew we had something special with those for sure.

MB: I’m fascinated to know about your love for film, in particular the horror genre, and how that has influenced you to approach your creative and writing process for this album.

Roper Williams: If you‘ve seen the movie The Wailing, there’s a feeling that’s like, I know things are happening but I’m not sure what form, or direction, or speed that thing is going to come in next. I think that feeling is something we both enjoy in music and movies.

FS: The horror film genre is extremely influential to me as a artist and will forever expire. Since a small kid I was always interested and attracted to what makes us scared in the human psyche and how it triggers others in different ways. It always influences my writing from the aspect of created the unknown. From Wes Craven, Alfred Hitchcock to Dario Argento, all have literally taken real life issues, placing them in horrific environments, and made us question what are we really scared of? With Gandhi Loves Children, I wanted to paint the picture with as many layers as possible, from terrifying to moments of lust and regret letting the audience answer the question for themselves on what’s happening and how they fit into it. 

” I remember it was a Friday night and I wrote all 3 of those tracks standing my kitchen wearing boxes and eating chinese food. Lol. Within two hours!”

Fatboi Sharif

MB: What was the most difficult track to make and why?

RW: If there were songs that felt like a struggle we kinda just let them fall to the side after a while. The successful songs are usually surgical when we’re making them.

FS: Yeah I agree with Roper 100%. I always say if it’s supposed to be written it will come naturally and always when that happens with us is we make magic. I never been a fan of trying to make something fit into an atmosphere musically. 

MB: Were there moments when making Gandhi Loves Children this body of work where you had writers block, or did you approach the process with complete clarity from start to finish?

FS: I’ve never had a writers block. The issue to tell you the truth, with making Gandhi Loves Children, was that the process was such a slow burn creatively on all levels and we wanted to fill in all the blanks, painting the perfect picture that nothing was rushed at all. We take a month break or so in between writing and recording sessions to just live, build with what’s going on within the world, have detailed convos on everything going on personally to professionally and so on. For example, I had the “Nasty Man” beat for like a month, recorded the first verse and then just set on it. Like maybe 3 months later there was a series events that took place, that I literally woke up one day and wrote the 2nd verse in 10 min. The rest is history. 

“The successful songs are usually surgical when we’re making them.”

Roper Williams

MB: What’s your favorite track to perform live and why?

FS: Me personally, I don’t have a particular favorite to perform, but I love performing different tracks for different reasons. For example, “Smithsonian” is always amazing to me because it’s one that always gets a crazy crowd response and on just some MC shit I love the energy and pulse pounding reaction. “Tragic” is another special one performance wise because of it’s calmness and eeriness that comes over the crowd and me in general whenever I do that one. That’s my unplugged joint. Lol. “Nasty Man” is always fun, mainly of the reaction and looks on faces of disgust and intrigues. Lol. And that’s only half way thru the first verse. I’m performing that at the Superbowl one year. Lol. I promise you.

MB: What’s next for you two, as a duo and separately as solo artists?

RW: I’m in LA right now working on different projects. Plus, I’m trying to get all the homies on my album. 

FS: We finishing up the next two Fatboi Sharif and Roper Williams projects as we speak, it’s a slow burn at the moment for us because we always wanna bring you the best product possibly and believe me it’s truly amazing stuff so stay tuned for that. I have a bunch of different projects cooking up at the moment that are huge and im real excited about and bunch of more surprises from the both of us just stay on the lookout for everything. Much love to everybody who been showing love and supported gandhi loves children and shout out to all the new supporters is been getting from the deluxe version released on POW recordings july 1st 2021. It feels brand new and still making waves and continues to amaze so where beyond blessed. 

Fatboi Sharif and Roper Williams’ new album Gandhi Loves Children (Deluxe) is out now on P.O.W. Recordings! Go check it out and support!

Hey everyone, thanks for stopping by. I run In Search Of Media with the aim of giving a platform to independent beatmakers, rappers and talented musicians. I also hope to make this a home for music discovery, interesting film analysis, exhibition reviews and other interesting content for all of you guys to dive in to. I hope to start a podcast and documentary-style project soon. If you're looking to be a part of this creative project, please go to the contact page and drop me an email, or connect via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. I also write for 'Music Is My Sanctuary.' Thanks 🙏

3 comments on “Interview: Understanding the twisted, eerie and fascinating psyche of the tremendously talented Fatboi Sharif & Roper Williams

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  2. Pingback: Fatboi Shaif & noface’s new album Preaching In Havana is hip-hop surrealism at its finest – In Search of Media

  3. Pingback: On Planet Unfaithful EP, Fatboi Sharif and Roper Williams prove yet again why they will both achieve legendary status within hip-hop – In Search of Media

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