“I wish my brain was normal” New Jersey’s Fatboi Sharif and Roper Williams on Their Latest LP Gandhi Loves Children.

Fatboi Sharif  is already thinking about lunch when he arrives for our interview, though Roper Williams is still M.I.A. “Chinese food is the best food ever” Fatboi keeps saying, to the chagrin of Brendan and I who simply do not believe him. Despite the vast assortment of food to be found in Jersey from Feed Ya Soul in Avenel and Rice Shop in Hoboken, to Just Fish and Joe’s Rotisseria in Newark, Fatboi prefers to keep it simple. The Jersey MC, however, is anything but. Titling his latest full length project with Roper Gandhi Loves Children is characteristic of the chaotic energy that Fatboi brings to the Hip-Hop table. Here at Grandma Sophia’s Cookies, our love for New Jersey is well-documented. Editor-In-Chief and founder Brendan P. Higgins was born in Brooklyn but raised in New Jersey, and holds the Garden State near and dear to his heart. The GSC navigation menu even has a New Jersey category, a testament to how dedicated we’ve been to covering the diverse talent across the state. It made sense then that Brendan and I would travel to Jersey City to interview these young Jersey legends for their recently released project.

To say the day of this interview had been years in the making would be an understatement. Roper, a duo composed of childhood friends Xav and Mike Sanz, and I go way back. Sanz and I attended Fordham University together and he has been a sensational talent from the moment we met. A founding member of successful synthpop group Future Generations, Mike’s true talents lie in his production skills. Whether crafting soul sampling Hip-Hop beats or working tirelessly with physical tapes to create ambient soundscapes, his attention to detail and ear for the inventive cannot go unnoticed. Somewhere in his harddrives may be some very bad rap verses I recorded in his freshman dorm at Fordham, that hopefully never see the light of day. Sanz unfortunately could not make the interview, but his other half Xav, the man behind the Roper Williams social media account, was in the building. We’ve met a few times in passing, but have been sharing stories and chatting for years. In the digital age, the DMs foster the friendships that transcend space and time. Xav describes his partnership with Sanz as “competitive” explaining how “working with Sanz is like you’re working on that thing, he’s focused. If you’re not doing it well, he’ll do it for you. Just move over. You know, you have to be killing shit because otherwise you should just let him do it.” The Hoboken-based duo of Xav and Sanz as Roper Williams has been bubbling in the Hip-Hop scene for a while, with co-signs from rising DIY hype JWords, YL, AKAI SOLO, and more. 

A lyrical monster and cartoon-like character, Fatboi is one of the most spontaneous and strange individuals I have ever met. Based out of Rahway, New Jersey, he would call me randomly throughout quarantine during the spring and summer months to hype the album, give updates on the details, and check in to see how I was doing. A kindred spirit and super Black weirdo, when Fatboi was young he went to see Adam Sandler’s Oscar nominated film Click and The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift in theaters at least 10 times each. Back then and still now, he does whatever the fuck he wants when he wants. When we first met in May, he told me he had been traveling around the Mid-Atlantic region, taking advantage of the trains being empty due to COVID to “fuck some bitches.” I was shook then and I’m still shook now. This comes as no surprise considering his favorite rappers. Inspired by Earl, Armand Hammer, ANKHLEJOHN, Quelle Chris, and AKAI SOLO, Fatboi follows the tradition of MCs who craft dense lyrics and build a story, using their own inventive flows instead of those of their peers in the playing field. 

Rattling off a list of favorite horror movies including The Shining, Candyman, Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, Sleepwalkers, and Misery, Sharif’s music is steeped in his preference for dark and violent imagery without being overtly cringe or exactly horrorcore. His raps read more like daydream fantasies than anything Fatboi has any intention of doing. While torture porn and absurdity have been overused in recent years for the sake of being violent, Fatboi’s storytelling is always purposeful and an exerise in therapy. Inspired by Wes Craven and his ability to create worlds, Fatboi’s art similarly crafts visual landscapes for his listeners. The man has no fear and it all begins with his voice, booming from his rotund body comparable to Sir Charles Barkley. His powerful and loud voice works well in tandem with Xav’s incredibly deep one. When he tells me “You’re Beautiful” by James Blunt is his go to karaoke song, I can see why. As the duo break down their music, I began to imagine an animated series starring the two as voice actors. 

On Gandhi Loves Children, Roper perfectly executes a sonic bed frame fitting for any horror story or Mobb Deep album. On album opener “Tragic” Fatboi delves into dozens of tragic pop culture references including Paul Walker’s untimely death and Trump winning the election in 2016. The eerie loop laced by Roper is haunting and sets the tone for the project. Elsewhere Fatboi is discussing torture, sex slaves, and prom dates in the same verse. Fatboi’s dedication to the macabre is what keeps the album grounded in gloominess. The curated guest selection, however, allows for the vibe to switch up pleasantly. Stand out track “Pelican Fly” featuring Manhattan MC YL spitting over one of the most soulful beats of Roper’s career. Fatboi easily switches up his style and seamlessly fills the role of an NYC-sounding lyricist. Demanding repeated listens, “Pelican Fly” allows Fatboi to demonstrate his versatile nature on the microphone. 

Fatboi gives Roper plenty of space to flex and shine with the “Xavenstein” interlude which Fatboi thinks brings some “light to the album”. Recorded in high school almost a decade ago, the interlude speaks to the auteur mindset of Roper, using art pieces when the time is right to get the most out of a project. On the spooky beat of “Nasty Man” Fatboi continues his weirdo style mentioning bulimic women throwing up on him and eating baby food. The grotesque lyrics are sandwiched behind an incredibly catchy chorus, something Fatboi is prone to do. The young songwriter is clearly aiming for the most memorable and addictive melodies to cement the absurdity of his lyrical choices. 

Fatboi’s experimental vocal deliveries are a welcome sign for the prodigious lyrical talent. Capable of telling a fascinating and dark tale without breaking a sweat, his penchant for trying different vocal tones and inflections keep the listener intrigued over 14 tracks, and 28 minutes. On “Nastyman” his sing-songy hook is a laidback reprieve compared to the verses discussing the KKK and Buffalo Bill. Elsewhere on “Murder Them” he is screaming his vocals, diving deep into the hardcore and shock that one might find in early Linkin Park. In “Stigmata” he pitches his voice down in a way reminiscent of early A$AP Rocky. 

As the album progresses, Roper’s beats sound more and more like a doomsday warning. The chaos of Fatboi’s lyrical exercises creates a foreboding anxiety that becomes contagious to the listener. That’s where the fun of Gandhi Loves Children comes in. It’s a nightmare that the listener knows they will escape and in the meantime can revel in, like a bad dream you twistedly enjoy seeing play out. 

A week before the album release, after not seeing him since July due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Brendan and I met up to take the New Jersey Path Train to Roper’s studio, a place I had heard many tales of from different GSC affiliated artists. In typical Fatboi fashion, a last minute audible was called when it was realized that Roper is still living in 1999 and does not have WiFi at his studio. Thankfully, Jersey icon and ‘Do You Wanna Talk About It?’ DJ and producer Driveby graciously offered his home studio as a place to host our legendary 2 hour plus interview on the coziest of couches. 

Gandhi Loves Children album trailer

Joined by executive producer Boogie, an incredible DJ, charismatic wise guy, and future owner of an AMC movie theater, Brendan and I got the lowdown from Fatboi, Roper, and Boogie on the creation of Gandhi Loves Children, their favorite horror movies, best places to eat in New Jersey, favorite New Jersey musicians, and much, much more. 

Josh: Who are y’all and how do you identify?

Fatboi Sharif: Fatboi Sharif. Roper Williams. Jersey in the building. Here, Grandma’s Cookies. Thank y’all for having us. Much love.

Josh: How did you guys first link up?

Fatboi Sharif: Well, my man Lou Boogie in the corner, I used to do radio probably 6 or 7 years ago, Strangers with Hip-Hop in Union. He had this group at the time, he was like “Yo, I got a group. My man’s a producer, could they come through and jump in the cipher?” So they came through and I heard my man Roper’s beats and was like “Yo, this nigga got some real shit. Shit is fire.” From that point on we just stayed connected and worked little by little through the years. 

Brendan: So how did you two get connected and you two get connected?

Boogie: Well me and Roper are both from the same city, so that’s how we met. I wasn’t living in the city but I would always go there and we had mutual friends, and me and him grew a relationship. And then me and Sharif, we wound up having the same job and that’s how we met. I was new there and people fucked with my personality, like “Bro you gotta meet Sharif, ya’ll gonna be crazy together. I’m telling ya, I’m telling ya.” I’m like “whatever” and then he came in one day, he bust through the door freestyling, “I’m like tah tah tah” this must be the guy everyone’s talking about. And then we formed a friendship and that’s how it happened.

Roper: He [Boogie] had went to school with the people I was going to school with, so that’s how we started hanging out. 

Boogie: My man was like the ringleader, he always had large groups of friends. One of my best people, and he still is one of my best people. So, you know. *laughs* We were wildin’ and stuff, it was a lot of personalities. Roper wound up being one of the people that I met through that.

Josh: So what’s your collaboration process [with Fatboi] looking like? Are you presenting him the full beats? Is he pulling up freestyling while you’re making the beats? How does it work?

Roper: It’s all over the place naturally. Sometimes I’ll make something and it’s like “This has to be for him. It has to be for him.” But a lot of times we’ll make something together just because of the energy bouncing back. It’s almost like something for him when you’re with him because he’s not even gonna allow certain sounds to exist. You know what I mean? 

Fatboi Sharif: Me personally, I feel like putting this project together was dope because like I said we’ve known each other for six or seven years and we tried to make this album two or three times. Shit like losing beats and approaching life and other projects kinda got in the way so probably two and half years ago when we finally locked in, like “Alright, we’re about to get this shit done.” It would be me coming out from Rahway, New Jersey. We’d link up, chill, go over the Irish record, get some records, go through ‘em, get some Chinese food, some LQ, and let the beats play and take in the vibes, feel me? 

Josh: How did the title Gandhi Loves Children come to you?

Fatboi Sharif: Well literally, to me, it’s the first song on the album. It’s called “Tragic”. It came from a bar, I said, “Cosby lusts women, and Gandhi loved children.” We was trying to go back and forth on titles for the album and he called me one day. We had another title, which I’m not gonna say because we’re still gonna use it, and he goes, “Yo, Gandhi loves children, that keeps clicking into my head.” and I’m like “that shit is dope.” It kind of symbolizes the album to me, like you get a figure that is celebrated but there were demons in him. I think that’s how the world is, especially in 2020. People wondering where their next meal is gonna come from, where they’re gonna work at. If you don’t have the newest phone and the newest car you feel less than this person. And suicide is at an all time high in certain communities. 

Brendan: A lot of the bars on your tape are reflective of that. I wanna say you have one where you’re pairing Jeffery Dahmer with Malcom X, taking a look at different people doing different shit. Where did that one come about?

Fatboi Sharif: Funny thing, it’s kind of literally an inside joke. Me and him at work, I would always say the craziest shit and be like “Oh, I’m bugging?” I told him, I’m gonna literally write a song one day saying the craziest shit ever and you can’t get mad because the title is what? “I’m Bugging.” So it fucking saves itself.

Boogie: Sharif told me three years ago, we’re just hanging out and he’s like “Watch, I’m gonna write a song like that.” And I told him, yeah just get the right beat. And this was like four or five years ago when they didn’t work that much together, and I told him “Watch, Roper gonna make you that beat.” and he was like “Yeah? Fuck it, if he got it.” And it wound up being on the album. 

Brendan: When you’re trying to come up with some eerie shit like that, do you have something in your head or just trying to find it right side up?

Roper: The way I pretty much make beats is I’ll have a folder with an Ableton session open and five albums, like full albums. Like one might be  a soul sample, one might by a jazz sample, all different types of stuff. Basically whatever mood I’m in I can make something like that. If a beat comes out I guess I was feeling like that. I could’ve made beats that are happy or I could’ve made something more dancy, but you know, I could’ve made beats for the club too or whatever but I wasn’t having a good day when I probably made any of the Gandhi beats. 

Josh: “Tragic” really sets the tone for the album, when did you record that.

Fatboi Sharif: Probably about 2 years ago exactly to tell you the truth. And that’s probably the third song because you were talking about “Fly Pelican” before, and at first we were going back and forth between that beat and the “Tragic” beat for sending to YL. 

Josh: He made the right choice.

Fatboi Sharif: Yeah, Roper was saying the “Tragic” beat, and I’m like “uhhh.” 

Boogie: It wasn’t “Tragic” heat.

Roper: He didn’t have any bars on it yet, it was just a song. It wouldn’t have been “Tragic”, it would’ve been like “Fly pelican…” It would have been something else. But that’s why Boogie’s the executive producer, he’s like “Nah, you guys missed this.” and we trusted him and it worked out really good.

Fatboi Sharif: And even with that, like song ideas, with me it’ll start with like three or four bars, just regular shit. And then I’ll be like, I’m gonna craft something. So the first “My mind nested tragic, the shots…” I just said that on some regular shit one day, “I’m gonna do a whole song documenting a lot of tragedy, I just need the beat for it.” And the beat sounds like funeral music to me. The way the beat plays out. Everything came together perfectly with that shit.

Brendan: I did not see it as funeral music but now that you put it like that yeah I kind of see it.

Josh: You didn’t name any tragic things that happened to you in song. What is personally one of the most tragic things that has happened to you?

Fatboi Sharif: Hmm, let me think. 

Josh: That’s for both of you by the way.

Fatboi Sharif: I ain’t going to lie the most tragic thing that ever happened to me was my fucking brain. I have a brain where it’s geared to go through every emotion that you could have in a day. It’s like well shit I feel great this is amazing and I’m like damn I want to jump in front of a train. And I’ll text him sometimes at like two in the morning like “Brah, I’m fucking sick of this shit, fuck that I’m feeling terrible, I had a horrible week.” And he’ll just like “Yo just write it down.” I always joke with myself like, “damn I wish my brain was normal”. To me that wouldn’t make me overall so I just learned to deal with it through years of different situations and shit like that.

Roper: A gift and a curse. Mine is definitely my boy dying. My best friend died. That’s easy.

Josh: There’s a lot of dark themes on this album. A lot of taboos. Why is that something that interests you so much? What do you like about that aesthetic? 

Fatboi Sharif: Well like I was saying since I was a kid I was always geared towards the darker side of shit. And even just where I was raised and the family that I was around. I lived in cribs with foster kids who got beat up by their stepfathers. Fucking winos tryna sexually assault people I’m living with. Just certain energies that living in certain cities gives you for life. My brain was always connected by certain shit. We were talking last night, about cult leaders and shit, if you take the negative part out of it imagine how powerful it is to be Charles Manson. People were willing to die for you. In life most people will never influence people to stop eating certain shit. He literally started a whole world within his ranch. Shit like that where people look at the negative side but I look at it like imagine if that was something positive. Imma change this, imma change that and that’s definitely what I aim to do with my music. Spotlight a lot of shit that’s like you said taboo or that people are ignoring. I’m not ashamed to admit it. You seen the Gandhi Loves Children trailer. It’s the first thing you see. I just want people to hear and understand that they’re not alone in this. Even if you have feelings that are suppressed and shit we all go through it.

Josh: A lot of your videos have a lot of horror imagery, so are you a fan of horror movies and how do you draw the inspiration into your music? 

Fatboi Sharif: Absolutely. I always connect horror with just tapping into the darkest part of your psyche, but to the point where it kind of attracts others. So if you take something like Nightmare on Elm Street where it’s like a guy just running around but if you break down the layers of it how many people are scared to go to sleep at night because of reasons outside of a monster.  Like damn I take drugs, I drink. The monsters are just giving me a reason to want to stay up all night. But the monster’s really in you if we just go through some day to day shit that we don’t really talk about with other people,  shit like that. I always try to have my visuals speak to the song. And just some creative shit. Like I said we’re in the era of everyone just rapping in front of the camera. If I got to do that for a song I’d rather not write it. I think our brain is more powerful than that. Just sit with it like let’s try to think of some fire shit to bring the listener in closer, to make the music more connected to the song.

Roper: With the horror movie stuff, I love horror movies and karate movies for this reason, because a lot of times it will be similar story lines and concepts but what makes something dope is the choice of weapon, the style, and the setting. There’s just something so dope about when very simple things are the most important things. In No Country for Old Men look at the weapons he’s killing people with you know what I’m saying? Not only that hole puncher thing but the shotgun thing that he uses when he busts in the door. And the chainsaw, the chainsaw was crazy, or Bruce Lee using nunchucks. I love the weapon choices and I love the areas that horror movies are created in. 

Josh: You once said “You got to see my music before you can hear it.” Can you expand on that?

Fatboi Sharif: I think it’s kind of both because, for example, I always say art is four to five layers so I’m the type of listener that I see it to see it. Like alright I’m actually seeing it with my eyes I’m enjoying it, I’m hearing it. I’m hearing it second level, like “Oh shit, that’s inside of that.” And then the third level, “Oh, shit this is accompanying what I’m seeing.” That’s why I sent you the album early. When people do album reviews I’m like please don’t just listen to it once, like sit with it. It’s like a good film like “oh that shit was dope” no don’t tell me my shit was dope you gotta have more to say than that. Even if you fucking hate it, say “I hate it because of x y and z.” 

Josh: “Pelican Fly”, is that a Scarface reference? 

Fatboi Sharif: Yeah actually. To me it was actually a Beatnuts reference because I love “Off The Books”. Shout out to YL that’s the homie. I met him five or six years ago in Roper room. Anybody listening if you haven’t been in Roper room that was the real Roper Studio, in his apartment. I won’t say the name of the apartment because I don’t want to make it hot but if you never been to that Roper studio apartment, that was when me and YL connected. And I didn’t even know they were connected. I just thought they were cool. Then they did their projects and that was cool. I went to their shit and listened.

The Beanuts – Off the Books

Josh: When did you link up with Pootie? 

Fatboi Sharif: I met Pootie through these gentlemen. Same with the radio station, Pootie came up. 

Boogie: Me and Pootie went to kindergarten together. We had the same class in kindergarten. 

Roper: Yeah me and Pootie went to high school together. I’ve known him since high school. 

Brendan: People seem to really enjoy recording in your studio. Like AKAI SOLO spoke about it in the interview he did with Josh. What goes into having a good recording environment like that?

Roper: I really don’t know really.

Josh: Why is there no WiFi?

Roper: We gotta get the router. We just haven’t got the router honestly, we’re lazy I don’t know. Like there’s certain things you get right away…I don’t know we got hot spots and stuff. But yeah I don’t know it’s obviously the people that are there like Driveby, fucking Pootie, Mason, Also, Jax. It’s just laid back and it’s not a lot of high-technology it’s just I don’t know. 

Fatboi Sharif: It’s the best place in the world.

Boogie: It’s exactly what’s in this room right now, but like with a microphone and a studio set up. 

Fatboi: The energy is so amazing. I’ve literally called him and been like I have nothing to record. I’m just going to sit there and write other people’s shit. It’s the whole vibe, real family oriented. Anybody that comes in we make you a part of the family, feel me? We drink, we smoke, but we create more than anything.

Roper: It’s also productive. I would say the first four or five sessions that me and AKAI had we would make at least four or five songs. So it’s like when you leave you’re like “Wow okay. That was productive.” That’s usually my goal. I’m not really happy if I leave and I’m like ”What did I get done?”

Josh: How do you take care of your mental health during this crazy pandemic? 

Fatboi: Really just writing and talking to certain family members about stuff. 

Josh: Favorite Jersey legends?

Roper: I don’t know that’s hard but probably Lauryn. I think Lauryn has the best verse of all time in rap history. “Mystery of Iniquity”, I think that’s the best. 

Fatboi: Kevin Smith. *laughs* 

Josh: Favorite Kevin Smith movie?

Fatboi: Hmm Dogma or Clerks. Clerks is just him sitting in a store chilling. I like those 90s comedies. Shits are fucking hilarious, it’s not even about anything it’s just hilarious. Shout out to Kevin Smith. Jersey we were always amazing with creatives. Everything from movies to comedy, there’s just a certain vibe that you get when you come into the state that’s unparalleled in a lot of other spots.

Brendan: But it’s weird because Jersey has this trash reputation. People think of it like Jersey Shore. But what do you think it is? Do you think it’s like proximity to New York like little brother syndrome? What’s the unique sauce in Jersey? 

Roper: I think the slander is propaganda-based first of all. It’s cheaper to live here. We’re hanging out with people from New York right now but our rent is cheaper. And I think that’s part of it. You can be so close to where a lot of stuff happens but it’s cheaper. And it’s just the environment and the types of people we grow up around. Just growing up where we grew up there’s not a type of person we would see and be surprised by. I think that’s a big part of it. 

Fatboi: Now that you’ve had a chance to sit with the album, what are your favorite tracks on it? 

Josh: “Stigmata”, “Fly Pelican”.

Brendan: “Tragic”. I love that story behind “I’m Buggin” because it also just kind of makes sense. 

Josh: For “Stigmata” are you thinking of Jesus and shit? 

Fatboi: Literally I went to his crib and I was like let’s make some music. And he made that beat. At first I was going to call that song Ong-Bak because we were watching this Chinese movie. I started reading at the crib and it wasn’t fully structured. I was just thinking of the flow. And then I heard the beat and I was like this is like religious, it sounds like sermon music. So I was like I’m going to do some religious shit but I didn’t know exactly what I was going to take for the perspective yet. So I took the beat and I sat with it for a minute and I was like I’m going to talk from the perspective as if I was Jesus. I wrote that, “Murder Them”, and “The Jackolantern Sculpture” in the exact same night at the exact same time. Standing up in my kitchen at like 8 o’clock.

Josh: When was that?

Fatboi: Probably like a year-and-a-half ago. I remember it was cold when I did it. I can’t remember the exact time of year. But I remember it was 8 on a Friday night I was standing in my kitchen and I texted him “Yo I’m a goat.” 

Brendan: “Xavenstein” is the track you recorded furthest back, what’s the most recent track on this album? 

Fatboi: The last one we did was “White Noise.” That was the exact last song because he was trying to steal it for his album. 

Roper: Yeah I gave it to him. 

Boogie: Roper’s album about to be crazy. 

Josh: When is it coming? 

Roper: It’s definitely coming 2021. It’s not coming this year. 

Brendan: You’ve got a lot of really good producer albums as of late. Like Grimmdoza, and you had the one with A Lau and Tony Seltzer too. 

Roper: That happened because as a producer I never get to keep the good songs. If we make something dope someone’s like yeah this is the one. And I’m like well I guess it’s not the one for me. It wasn’t supposed to be my album but then everybody that was on the tape was there for a session. And then because everybody was on every song nobody really claimed any of them. If we have one more session it could just be an album of that. That’s really what that album is is just two sessions. Two sessions with everybody in the room. 

Boogie: How many hours?

Roper: The combined hours is probably 30 or something hours but it was just two sessions. 

Brendan: What was on the TV? 

Roper: I think the ‘89 Batman was playing. 

Josh: Are you guys hyped for the new Rob Pattinson? 

Roper: Not as hyped as you bro. But to me that’s the goat Batman though, ‘89. 

Brendan: There’s a lot of new music in Jersey too, are you guys tapped into any of that? It kind of seems like all the Jersey rappers and producers are kind of plugged into one another. Is that whole kind of Indie scene plugged in at all or? 

Roper: I think Jersey is one of the top places for music and just artistry overall. We have a lot of good actors and just every type of artistry we have a lot of crazy people. 

Josh: What’s your favorite song off the album?

Fatoi: I can’t lie, it varies. Right now in particular it’s “The Cure for Amoxicillin” featuring my man Life Long. That’s what I’m zoning with heavy. That and “White Noise”.

Roper: I think I love “Tragic” the most I feel like. That’s my favorite child on the album. That shit is crazy but I literally love every song. If I needed to describe Fatboi as an artist, “Tragic” is a good place to start. That’s why it’s the intro. 

Boogie: “Nasty Man” is my favorite on the album at the moment. That shit is insane. It starts off acapella and then the beat comes in and he’s saying raunchy, crazy things. You can’t predict what he’s about to say. It’s a thrill every time I bump it. 

Fatboi: See I like to give titles to let you know what you can expect. Like the song “I Ain’t Shit” the song is about me not being shit. “Nasty Man”, the song is me saying nasty shit for 2 minutes straight. You can’t get mad. That started as just a regular four bar shit that I texted my phone on the way to work. I texted him I’m going to make this whole song and he was like okay.

Roper: Yeah “Nasty Man” he wrote like a Paul Simon song. Took like a whole year. He took like a whole year in between verses and he texted me “Yo I just wrote the whole song.” 

Fatboi: That’s one thing when I work in general I never rush it. I never rush the process. I get a beat, I listen to it, I get brain cells growing everyday, we get new experiences every day. I might not even be in a place mentally at the moment to write what I want to write but I can get to it, see it down the line like next year this is going to be something beautiful. It’s all about just the creative process you know? 

Boogie: That’s like the track “Nuclear Warfare”, the outro. That song is insane and I was there when he wrote it. 

Josh: How did you end up executive producer of this project?

Boogie: I mean I connected them together so it kind of just organically happened. I don’t want to be cliche and use that word but that’s kind of what it was. I be DJing, I be picking beats, I always just try to make things happen with people. I feel like I have a good skill of that. 

Roper: I feel like Boogie has a superpower of that. I really don’t know anybody that hates him. I feel like he has a good understanding of people, he has a super skill of that. When he says some shit we always listen because we are fucking insane people. If the tracklist would have just been him making it, it would have been a different album. If the tracklist would have just been me making it, it would have been a different album. But Boogie helps with the balance of everything. And he’s at most of the sessions building with us, even if he’s just sleeping on the sofa or some shit. We got a lot of great sessions with Fatboi’s screaming vocals and Boogie just asleep on the couch. 

Josh: This is the third iteration of the album you said? What were the first two like? 

Fatboi: The first one was probably about four or five years ago. I remember the concept and everything too. I went to his crib and I was like I want to make a concept album but I want to make a world where everybody in it starts at a certain age and as they get younger they get more nervous. I wanted to go off of the concept that as you get older people panic more, but no one ever thinks about someone being 80 years old and having all the wisdom they have and them being scared about getting younger because they’re going to know less shit. That was one of the stories and another was this town where there was no sun so everything was always black. It was some super sci-fi movie shit. And I was like I need beats to go with that. I think we got maybe three beats and then his shit crashed and we lost them. I got like three other beats from him, I still have those beats but we never got a chance to record. The first official joint we did was Egyptian Mermaid Lust off Ape Twin. From that point on we were good but there’s probably a million songs where we were like yeah we’re gonna do something with this and then that shit just didn’t work. Shit happens when it’s supposed to happen. The next two projects we’re working on are serious too. 

Fatboi Sharif – Egyptian Mermaid Lust

Brendan: Do you have a timeline or just when it feels right? 

Fatboi: Yeah that’s how we did this because like I said we were working on it for two plus years, and then probably the past six months we were like okay we’re going to do this this and this. And we’ve been sticking to it and getting the results we’ve been wanting. 

Roper: We had the songs done for a minute, but obviously shit happened. We weren’t even going to put it out. It wasn’t the right time to drop it even if it was done so we just kept pushing it back. We just kept working on random stuff. Like we have a lot of videos that we’ve been working on. 

Brendan: Yeah you have two or three at least that haven’t come out yet right? 

Boogie: Yeah like in 2019 we recorded us going out so we have that that we’re going to put out soon. Just for people to watch us going out and enjoy that. We’re going to continue doing content until we can’t no more. 

Fatboi: And we got Fatboi Sharif keychains coming out soon. Much love to T because she hooked that up. 

Brendan: A whole brand, I love it. And it makes sense. It’s what people are looking for. I’m sure the Only Fans is like a joke in some way but I’m sure if you did it people would get on it.

Fatboi: All older women over 60, if you wanna lick stuff off me and do something sexual, what’s up? I’m not playing, we need this bread. And the crazy thing is I’m just excited for the new music we got. Fucking spectacular. 

Boogie: We don’t make music that’s seasonal. We’re like how a director gets a lot of movies shot and done but then you got to wait for the release. That’s how we are with projects and different things that we’re going to do. 

Brendan: So you said you have the whole “Fly Pelican” video filmed?

Fatboi: Shoutout to the homie Derek

Brendan: Is that like a whole story like the other ones too?

Fatboi: You gotta wait and see. It’s going to be some ill shit though for sure. I like that we captured New York City and our two important hip hop influences, that’s all say. Speaking of that, there’s a motherfucking Chinese spot in Chinatown that is the best Chinese food you’ll ever have. Shout out to them. 

Josh: You worked with AKAI, what was it like?

Fatboi: It was great. I was telling him, when I can see someone in the studio and I’m intrigued by the way they’re doing shit that’s dope to me. Actually seeing the process is dope.

Brendan: He seems like a really thoughtful dude.

Fatboi: Even the way he records is dope as hell. 

Roper: I like AKAI because a lot of times he has so much ammunition. He’s like me, unless he’s writing it on the spot, he’s got so many bars. The songs will be six minutes and he’ll have six of them. He’s over prepared a lot of times which I like. And he’s down to try stuff. We have all types of songs together, not just AKAI SOLO type beats.

Brendan: And who are your favorite modern rappers?

Roper: That’s hard. I feel like I work with too many rappers, it’s like the sixth one will hate me. Like producers that I just strictly learn from, this year alone I just had a session with Zumo, he’s crazy. Iblis, he’s crazy. Whenever I work with these dudes I’m learning stuff. Beji, Socrates. Driveby, well we work everyday but that’s like my daily competitor. We’re like playing one on one basketball everyday beat wise. Saint James is crazy. I can list producers all day. There’s so many producers I love. I wanna shout them all out. Ali, Navy Blue. Last Name David. Last Name David is insane, that’s one of the best producers. I like JWords too, and that’s a Jersey person. Her new project with messai is fire. 

Fatboi: Shout out to the whole East Coast just putting on right now, doing some incredible music. And shout out to outlets like y’all who spotlight it. Grandma’s Cookies to the grave!

Brendan: We appreciate the support and it’s like you’re talking about. I don’t know if JWords got interviewed before Josh did it. And everything she puts out is fucking fire. 

Josh: How long have you been rapping?

Fatboi: I’ve been rapping since the fourth grade. But started out with poetry. I remember the first poem I’ve ever wrote was about the Holocaust and I won a poetry prize. I can’t remember anything from it except I ended it with “Adolph Hitler was a mean fellow, now I know the meaning of the word ghetto.” That’s all I remember in the poem. How long have you been making beats Roper?

Roper: Mad long I don’t even know. Eighth grade my boy Eric West gave us the crack to Fruity Loops. RIP to Eric West, but he gave us the crack. And that’s when me and Sanz started. Like the end of eighth grade, could’ve even been seventh grade. Beats were trash. I remember early on we used to hang out with this dude named Alex. And he was like “We need reggaeton beats.” I was like “alright cool” and we went half on that equipment. That was my first setup. Shoutout to Alex. It was one of those Slumdog Millionaire things how I came up on the equipment. And I started sampling off a CD turntable, that was crazy.

Josh: How do you want your album to be interpreted by people? What do you want people to take away?

Fatboi: I just want people to go into it with a certain level of open mindedness and intelligence and awareness. And from that you can make your own decision about how you feel about it. We just dropped a video and like four different people were like “Whoa, you crazy bro. I got this from that.” and I didn’t mean any of that but respect. I just want everybody to go into and really sit with it. Think of it as a novel and not an album. It’s really chapters and not songs. It’s fourteen different chapters with fourteen different emotions that are connected into one universal story.

Roper: GLC is a weird one with that. I want people to walk away from GLC learning something. I think it’s very educational. It was recorded before this year went down and everything that’s in the album happened. And within the next few years more of the stuff that’s in the album will happen. It’s something you should listen to and when you hear certain things, google them and find out stuff. It’s an album you can learn a lot from.

Fatboi: There’s a lot of dark undertones in the album that some people might come into and not really know how to take it but like I always tell him there’s a lot of shit that goes down. Kids sell their kids for drugs. Fathers have sex with everyone in their house. I literally can’t be saying nothing more crazy or nothing that should be making you feel more disheartened than what’s happening in the day to day in front of you. Within TV, within the media, your next door neighbors.

After getting some Chinese food, fried chicken, rice balls, and an assortment of treats, we played Roper’s unreleased album featuring four vocalists we won’t reveal quite yet. Driveby queued up his latest project, including the now released “I Am Who”. As Pootie came through and blessed with more goodies, the Chinese food Fatboi convinced Brendan to eat started to burn a hole straight through his stomach. Brendan had to dip out in an Uber before his stomach betrayed him as I took my time on the NJ Path just enjoying being outside the house again. As GLC soundtracked my trip back, the October season and horror show of 2020 began to envelope me, reminding me there is always some catharsis in darkness.

Follow Fatboi on Twitter and IG, follow Roper Williams on Twitter and IG, and go buy Gandhi Loves Children on Bandcamp. 

Fatboi Sharif & Roper Williams – Smithsonian (Official Video)