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 Tattoo Tales #9: Gilbere Forte – ‘Vulture Proof’

Show them how to move in a room full of vultures / The industry is shady, it needs to be taken over”. Jay-Z’s diagnosis of the backhanded characters that populate the music business is still one to take heed of twelve years later and probably will be for generations to come.


25-year-old MC/producer Gilbere Forte has been accustomed to keeping any vulnerability undisclosed to predators even before his entrance into he rap game. Rather than put his emotions on blast, the Philly by-way-of Michigan artist prefers to let his music express his reactions and interpretations to life’s ups and downs.

His new PRAY EP is the first project released by Forte since inking a deal with Epic Records in March of this year. The 10-track offering serves as his ambient narrative for all the obstacles he’s overcome to reach the high ground he’s just beginning to reach.

One tattoo in particular is a reminder of the rapper’s reserved day-to-day nature in the interest of self-preservation. Read this week’s tattoo tale to learn how Gilbere navigates in a room full of vultures with a coat of  drawn-on armor.



Nate Santos (@MidtownNate)


Gilbere Forte:

I got the tattoo three years ago. It took eight hours, one session. He (the tattoo artist) had a six needle. Some of the details kind of faded away so I’m going to have someone rework it and tighten up the nose and the jawline.


It was pretty painful for the most part because he freehanded most of it. I got it when I was out in L.A. from an artist named Tsang at OC Tattoos. Usually you got to make an appointment with him nine months in advance but he looked out and did it on the spot.


Most people would say “I never wear my heart on my sleeve because you show your weakness”. So, for me, putting a guardian angel on my arm is me showing my faith. I don’t wear my heart on my sleeve, I wear my faith on my arm.


My pop had passed in 2007. That was the biggest issue for me because I’m not one to express my emotions. I felt that to move forward in this world, I got to be all the man that I can be for my family and my future family. So, that impacted me in a way to say I can’t walk around with the feeling of not being able to think about what I could’ve said or could’ve done while he was still here. I can’t show that weakness knowing that I’m about to step into this crazy business. So, If I’m going to put myself out there, I’m going to show everybody that I’m shielded at the same time. 



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Check back in next week for more Tattoo Tales and let us know in the comments section below what you think of Gilbere Forte’s ink.

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