Fatboi Sharif Breaks Down His LP “Gandhi Loves Children” Track by Track, Shares an Early Stream of Its Deluxe Version
The expanded version of the rapper’s 2020 album with Roper Williams drops tomorrow via POW Recordings.
When Fatboi Sharif and Roper Williams originally unleashed their album Gandi Loves Children last October, the world wasn’t ready for it. It seemed to occupy the space the first Gnarls Barkley album fell into—one where two distinct (and very weird) minds cross their streams with apocalyptically paranormal results, only, somehow, St. Elsewhere’s grim tales of necromancy and suicidal ideation became a cultural touchstone rather than an underground curio.
With the reworked, expanded edition of the LP, Fatboi and Roper remind us that commercial success was never really an option for their often-chilling pairing of the types of dark beats billy woods and ELUCID frequently find themselves rapping over, and Fatboi’s demented take on Cee-Lo’s passively weird raps. The additional tracks range from the skin-crawl loops of “Prescription” to the minimal “Angels & Demons,” which in spite of its dark subject matter nearly gets a laugh from Fatboi’s lower-register take on his own low-register vocals punctuated by MIKE-like wandering freestyle utterances.
Ahead of its release tomorrow, you can hear the full project here—additionally, we had Fatboi walk us through each track on the extended version, which you can read below.
A summary of tragedies and tragic characters with situations that shook the world. It was one of the earlier songs we recorded for the project. The first time I heard the beat it reminded me of funeral music, so from that the words really wrote themselves. It’s funny because the first four bars were written, like, six months before the rest of it, and I really liked my direction from that so I just wanted to tell a story and create a full statement within that world.
2. “I’m Buggin”
With mental illness higher than it’s ever been, and all the madness that’s been in the news and on the forefront of just the year 2020 alone, this track was absolutely fitting and certainly brought the listener full-throttle into the vivid psychological audio experience, which is Gandhi Loves Children. We wanted to go gloves-off and hold back nothing. Honestly the thinking with this was literally that this project ain’t gonna be for the faint of heart, and if you could make it past this you’re exactly where you need to be.
It was the second song we recorded, so we knew from then on we were creating a world and a sound that you’ve never heard before, and it was kind of a benchmark we set for the remainder of the recording process. Much love to Roper on that, because the randomness and the wild energy of the beat I knew I had to take it somewhere I never did before. It’s funny how life works because that title and concept literally came from an inside job we would always have, and literally two years before I told everyone one day I’m going to turn this into a song, and the rest is history.
3. “Fly Pelican” feat. YL
This was the brainchild and genius of Roper Williams. They wanted kind of a breather in the album, but still ill and makes sense within the full story, so we decided on this one. He cooked up the beat in front of me and in the studio we built on the direction we should take it. I took it home, wrote to it, and this is what came out. I called it my version of Slick Rick.
We got my fam YL on it—we knew he’d be perfect, he smashed it, and when we heard it back we knew it was special. It’s a favorite, for sure, from the people. Lots of people tell me that’s their favorite. The music video was fun as hell to shoot. We hit Chinatown, Rucker Park, and the Apollo, champagne sipping on some fly shit and did it big. Only amazing experiences with that one.
“Another track that was recorded within the first three sessions we had for the album. This was another one we knew from the beginning that people would love and be a staple on the album for sure. Literally the energy was electric in the studio that day. The beat was made, I wrote to it, and recorded it right then and there and it gave us chills on the playback. Immediately after the first time I heard it I said, “This is going to be the first single,” and that was the best decision ever. I’ve always been good with choosing that.
The buzz around the track was insane before the video was even realized, or the single or album officially dropped. I was performing that, like, a year before it came out at shows and on radio, and people knew it word-for-word. Big shout out to Peter Rosenberg from Hot 97 who had put it in rotation on his Real Late show for two months before it was even out. I would say for sure that’s one of the greatest tracks we’ve ever done. We wanted to get that same energy through in the visual, also, so we kept it real cinematic with the music video on some ’80s horror flick shit.
We both always been a fan of classic albums with just random, dope-ass instrumentals on them, so we wanted to accomplish that with this one. I get so much hatred from people because I didn’t rhyme on that.
6. “The Cure For Amoxicillin” feat. L.I.F.E. Long
One of my personal favorites, for sure, and one I’d say is one of the most experimental sonically—but therein lies the beauty of it. When I heard Roper cook it up in the studio I went crazy and took it home and sat on it for, like, two months and thought long and hard on what to do on it to bring it to life, and I thought of legendary NYC emcee and my fam L.I.F.E. Long and he was feeling my vision automatically when I broke it down. I laid my verses first and sent them to him and was like, fire. He pulled up to the studio in Jersey City from Brooklyn on a Friday night and we locked in with some Jameson and got to business.
Another track that once it was recorded, we knew we had something amazing. I it picked for the second single—Peter Rosenberg also had that on rotation on Real Late on Hot 97. “Arsenic” and “Smithsonian” are some of my favorites to create because it’s just me showing skills and flexing my emcee chops in the illest way possible.
8. “Nasty Man”
Like “I’m Buggin’,” with this one we set out to turn as many heads as possible, but also give a look into a lot of activities and accusations that plagued many celebrities within the past few years that many try to sweep under the rug, or wasn’t being spotlighted at all. The lyrics to this constantly get brought up to me to discuss more than anything. But judging by the beginning a capella bars, that wasn’t surprising to me at all.
A cinematic electric ball of energy that makes you sweat in suspense of its next move, but pulls you back from the bridge right before you tip over. The GLC album trailer brought this to life perfectly.
10. “Murder Them”
One of my most powerful and gut-wrecking tracks. Looks at a problem too regularly seen, but never solved. The production when I first heard it gave me a heavy punk-rock vibe, so I sat on it for about two months and one day it hit me that I wanted to take it. To me the beat was brass, angry, and chaotic, just like the times we’re in now with the problem of police brutality in this country, and have been in for decades. The 2020 protest, as powerful as it was, showed a lot of people’s true colors. There were people acting like it was the first time this bullshit with these police was underway, and others who where like, “We used to this bullshit happening forever, and drastic measures need to happen.” With “Murder Them,” I wanted to be the voice of every person who has ever been harrased by the cops, every mother whose son has been brutally murdered for the world to televise and ignore, and a voice strong and fiery enough to burn down this whole bullshit system and start over.
11. “The Jackolantern Sculpture”
My personal favorite off the album and one of the greatest songs I’ve ever written. This beat from Roper amazed me when I first heard it and it literally put me in a trance of thought that once it was recorded, sound effects added, and on the playback I’ll say to this day that track is truly an experience on audio that you rarely ever get and won’t ever forget.
This was another beat I sat on for, like, a month before writing anything, and just wanted to focus on vibe and texture in bringing the beat to life. This is my favorite portion of the album, from “Galvy” on, because that was a strong factor while putting these together. I felt a strong religious vibe while listening to it over and over, but wanted to put a twist on it and also tell a story.
13. “White Noise” feat Pootie
Another strong favorite from the fans. This was the last track we recorded for the album, and it came together real organically. In the early mixing sessions we’re in there listening to everything and Roper randomly just makes this beat from scratch, and me and emcee Pootie are in there and started freestyling for literally an hour, non-stop. The energy was electric and we both loved it, so we both took the beat home and wrote to it, layed it, and the rest is history. Actually, Roper wanted to keep that for his album, but…no way.
14. “Nuclear Warfare”
I got this beat from Roper the same day I got the instrumentals for “Jackolantern” and “Stigmata,” and I was in a certain zone of poetic chaos while creating those from how they made me feel, and I think I got that across perfectly. And when you look at what’s been happening in the world now, I feel that track is ahead of its time and more relevant now than ever.
This was the second track we ever recorded together, and to this day one of our strongest. It started off as a track going to another project Roper was working on at the time, but never released, so for the deluxe version we dug into the vault. Sitting with it for some weeks it still was as powerful and as strong as it was when it was first recorded. This track is a landmark for our working relationship. When we create, this is one that we look at like, “Is what we doing now as ill as “Prescription?” If so, we know we on the right track. Tackling the dangers of prescription medication, I wanted to set it in an environment where lots of time you don’t hear about on the news or through the media.
16. “The First Man to Obtain Carbon”
One of my favorite Roper beats ever, and only something sonically they could create. This was fun for me to write, too, because the production made me use writing and rhyme flows I’ve never tried before that turned out super ill. For this, I wanted to put myself in the shoes of what goes into the mind of a spree killer. From the Dark Knight movie theater situation, to Sandy Hook, and as far back as Columbine, the reasons that this occurs and the mindset of those causing the horrific actions are always argued over and examined. I wanted to give an open-ended perspective that could be up for discussion among many.
17. “Angels & Demons”
I heard this beat in the studio one day and for some reason I slept on it, even though I thought it was dope, then randomly riding the train to Brooklyn it pops in my head and I’m humming the melody for, like, two hours on and off. I called Roper and asked if that beat was still available, and once I got the green light it was written and recorded within that same three days. That naturally just wrote itself, and the emotion flowed like water. The title that speaks for itself is me digging into many dreams and nightmares I’ve had from past loved ones, as well as just taking my mind on a journey through the unseen and things I just don’t understand in the physical form.