HAVE you found forest?
Not being able to see the forest for the trees: A classic problem of priority and focus, and one which becomes increasingly easy to fall prey to in the ever-expanding space of hip-hop.
Enter FOREST, the 24 year old Compton, California native and hip-hop newcomer from the same hood as legends like Compton’s Most Wanted, N.W.A., and Kendrick Lamar. While it’s difficult to define the Compton sound, the name itself represents a badge of street credibility in the rap game. Forest’s story identifies with the neighborhood struggle and his work reflects a raw authenticity, but in his case it’s derived from emotional honesty rather than glorification of violence.
After a bullet to the leg brought his promising football career at a D-1 university to a premature end, Forest set his mind to channeling his gifts into the medium of music. Listen to Forest and one thing is clear, he sees his music as both an escape from and a rebuke of the street life. It is in his small, but impressive body of work that you’ll find an innate storytelling capacity, an ease and flexibility of delivery, an insightful sociopolitical consciousness, and infectious melodies alongside daring choices in production - in other words, the hallmarks of hip hop.
Look no further than his Youtube or Soundcloud page for evidence of his grind: In the last year he’s released a 12-track debut mixtape entitled UNDRWATER, a slew of well-polished music videos for its singles like “Top Down” and freestyles (Drake/Future’s “Jumpman,” a Mr Carmack's "Ain't Loyal," and Eprom’s “Beasts of Babylon”), and a string of soundcloud freestyles (“Vibe”, “20/20”, “4PM in Koreatown”).
Whether he’s cruising on a feel-good coastal joy ride (“Top Down”), spazzing on a chopped up “Crazy in Love” sample (“Vibe”), fueling the turn up with aggressive party anthems (“Movie”), or out-shining Drake on a pitched-down piano-lit 40 instrumental, Forest keeps his artistic priorities in focus with a message grounded in positivity, an attitude founded in love. In a world full of trees, don’t lose sight of the forest.