Fonzworth Bentley-11 Fonzworth Bentley-11

A Short Convo with... Fonzworth Bentley

Fonzworth Bentley is better known as the guy who converted thugs to clean-cut chaps on MTV’s From G’s to Gents. Some also remember him as Diddy’s old umbrella-wielding personal assistant or maybe even for shaking a leg in Big Boi’s “The Way You Move” video years ago. But few recall that Kanye West signed the Morehouse alum to G.O.O.D. Music as a rapper in 2005. His debut album, Cool Outrageous Lovers of Uniquely Raw Style or C.O.L.O.U.R.S. was slated to drop in 2008, but was delayed after several issues.

But this year Bentley's hues will shine bright. Calling VIBE from his home in Atlanta, the E1 Music artist talks about what the holdup was, why people didn’t believe and hopefully hitting the studio with Kanye in Hawaii soon. If his schedule allows.

VIBE: People have seen a lot of you, but really don’t know you. Will you album help?
Fonzworth Bentley: I met a young lady at the Super Bowl and she said, “Every time I see you, I get a different impression of you. I’ve really enjoyed your journey. But a lot of people don’t know much about me. This is going to be an extremely transparent body of work. There have been some incredible mountains that I’ve had to climb. It’s a soundtrack to the movement. It’s eclectic.

You’re style really doesn’t blend well into what people know rappers to be, even as diverse as the game is becoming.
I believe that we’re all wonderfully and purposefully made. So often, there are many distractions and pressures that get us to go this way or that way, trying to fit in and be cool. But the reality is when you take the time and really understand who you are and whose you are, you gain a confidence in that uniqueness. One of the things that this game has always loved about me is that I’ve always been myself and never tried to be anything I’m not. It’s being celebrated. Yeah, I’m different. But we’re all different. The record will ultimately inspire folks to be confident in their own uniqueness. That’s what we need.

Back in 2008, you had a few singles, “Laid Back” and “Everybody” with Kanye West and Andre 3000. Why has it taken so long for the project to release?
A lot of artists support and love what I’m doing artistically. But the labels didn’t understand or believe. I went and played that record for, you name them, and I played it for them and pitched them my ideas. They looked at me like I was crazy and said it was impossible to get done. After Sony Urban dissolved, different folks did deals at different places. I had to give the game a phenomenal, historic moment. That was the first time Andre 3000 and Kanye had ever been on a record together. I had to let people know that I’m here, I’m working and this is going to happen. It was still G.O.O.D. music, but I had to put that out to secure distribution. Folks think that when you’re on TV, it should be easy. It’s not.

And I’m sure since you’re not the typical rapper, it was a bit tougher to find and open mind.
Another part that people need to understand is that I am a rebel. I have a rebellious point of view. But people don’t look at it like that, because the status quo is so potent. People think it’s rebellious to say, “I’m dropping out of school.” Or “I’m going to jail.” Or “I have baby mommas.” That’s not rebellious! That’s the status quo, brother. I’m sitting here writing the etiquette book. I’m telling kids to go to school. There are folks who don’t want to see this point of view come to light. How could you say “No” to something as exciting and as impactful as that “Everybody” video? I shot that with my own money, got a new director from USC film school named Dion Watkins who had never shot a video in his life.

So what can people expect from you this year?
I’m working on a mixtape. I didn’t want to. But I’m working on one so that I can get my art out there and give people something to ride to and understand what to expect from me. And I’ll be putting out a DVD and the record at the same time. They will get Cool Outrageous Lovers of Uniquely Raw Style this year.

Is Kanye still on your team?
Oh yeah. Without a doubt. He was trying to get me to come out the Hawaii last week. That’s where he’s recording. But my schedule wouldn’t permit. I’m going to try my best to get out there before February’s out.

So it’s going to be a Bentley summer?
Why not? [Laughs]. —Brad Wete

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Another week, another list of Friday music releases. The week's of 2018 are dwindling, but there is a little more time left for some last-minute music releases. From Gucci Mane, to XXXTentacion, and Ice Cube, here are the albums and singles that you need to hear.

Gucci Mane – Evil Genius

Gucci Mane's 13th studio album is here. The rapper dropped his new project, Evil Genius, featuring an all-star list of talent, including, Quavo, Kevin Gates, Lil Skies and 21 Savage. The LP also features production by Metro Boomin, Murda Beatz and Southside.

The latest music drop marks the perfect finish to an eventful year for Guwop. He previously dropped DropTopWop, Mr. Davis, and El Gato The Human Glacier this year. Even so, the rapper suggested that he wants to make a bang with Evil Genius.

"I think this time, this album was like the first time I kind of had more fun making the records," he said during an interview with Beats 1. "With the intentions of just going in the studio and just had fun and this is what came out. But before, I was kind of going and expressing myself, talking through the mic, like I had a lot of my chest. This album was like, let's find the best beat, make the best song and put it out."

XXXTentacion – Skins

In celebration of XXXTentacion's posthumous album, Skins, his estate and friends through a livestreamed event at 9p.m. EST, featuring Trippie Redd, PnB Rock, Ski Mask the Slump God, Matt Ox and more.

There has been quite a bit of buzz surrounding the late rapper's new release. It's his first since his death in June 2018. The album features only one guest appearance from Kanye West. On the track, which is entitled "On Minute," Ye reportedly addressed abuse allegations brought against X. In support of the album, Kanye also released a Yeezy capsule collection, commemorating their single.

Since X's death he has been regarded as a young legend, gone too soon. His sophomore album ?  peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart. Listen to Skins below.

Ice Cube – Everythang's Corrupt

Ice Cube is make with Everythang's Corrupt. The album's only feature is OG rapper Too $hort.

Cube already got fan excited after released the one of the LP's single "Arrest the President." The track takes aim at President Trump's corruption and racist policies. The album's cover art features Cube holding a 100-dollar bill in his bloodied hands.

Everythang's Corrupt is Cube's tenth studio album and his first in eight years. It's a follow-up to 2010's I Am the West.

Sneakk Ft. YG & Tyga – "Spray"

New artist Sneak has joind forces with YG and Tyga to bring their new banger "Spray." It's Sneakk's first track released through Def Jam. The single definitely sounds like the new stripper anthem or the perfect track to ride down the block to.

Ahead of the single's release, the rapper's shared a teaser on social media featuring a behind the scenes look at their music video.

Michelle Williams – "Fearless"

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The pop record is an inspirational anthem, encouraging fans to face their fears and chase their dreams. This is a huge moment for Williams, as it is her first single in nearly four years. It also follows an overwhelming year for the singer, who got engaged in Apr. 2018, as well as publicly revealed her battle with depression and mental illness.

Listen to the new track below.

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Premiere: Fuego And A. Chal Take Over The Strip Club In "Dancin" Music Video

Dominican trap artist Fuego has created an ode to the art of stripping with his new single “Dancin,” featuring producer and R&B extraordinaire A. Chal. The visuals for the track are laced with bright blue club lights and brief salacious interludes of voluptuous young ladies dancing provocatively.

The two are seemingly in a never-ending party in efforts to promote strip club etiquette through their tantalizing lyrics. There's no denying that Fuego's sound is reminiscent of today's prominent trap artists like Migos and Future, but he packs in a Latino flair, like his contemporaries Bad Bunny and El Alfa. The Washington D.C. native's sound is similar, but it's worth noting he's been on the scene for a while, steadily etching his mark as his musical prowess rises within hip-hop and Latin audiences.

“For some reason, I've always wanted to do a sound that American hip-hop has, and then break that my way,” he tells VIBE. “When it comes to putting stuff together and making fusions of music, I've done it all my life. When I first started out, I did reggae beats, but I was rapping over them. There’s a little more urban, hip-hop sound in the Latin community. Before, it was mad reggae. It either had to be a tropical type song or reggaeton song. I've always wanted to come out with hip-hop music."

Watch the video for "Dancin" below.

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Noname Tells A Tale Of Black Boy Plight In 'Blaxploitation' Visual

Noname's first music video is better than expected as the artist takes on the topics of dangerous implicit biases toward young men of color.

On Tuesday (Dec. 4), the Chicago rapper/poet released "Blaxploitation," a standout from her critically acclaimed album, Room 25. Directed by Alex Lill (Sampha, Joey Bada$$,  Lil Yachty) and written by Noname, the short film includes homages to Blaxploitation films of the 70s through its the style of multiple frames at once as a toddler wrecks havoc on a small-scale version of Chicago.

The music video gives the metaphorical message of how the black boy is criminalized from the beginning of his life. Even in the joy of imagination, his existence is subjected to a criminal or as the townspeople deem him: a monster baby.

The 27-year-old singer will continue riding high off the critically and streaming success of her debut album Room 25 as she will embark on a 37-city trek across the country and Canada.

The Room 25 tour kicks off in Detriot on Jan. 2nd. Dates can be found here.

READ MORE: Noname To Replace ‘Room 25’ Album Art After Designer Abuse Accusations

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