He Is Not The Shame

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F. Virtue is a Canadian born, NYC based artist from the Fameless Fam collective, an internet-based record label that believes in keeping the music in the hands of the people.  He’s been rapping since his teen years, but has recently garnered attention for his brash, honest lyrical content and his tremendous new album, We Are Not The Shame.  F. Virtue is an openly gay MC in an alpha-male dominated genre; a beautiful juxtaposition in an ever-changing world.  What drew me to his music is the fearlessness by which he creates and delivers his message.  He graciously took some time to chat with Shiny Glass Houses about his journey thus far.

Shiny Glass Houses: Music is often born from a hunger to create, what experiences inspire you to rap? 

F. Virtue: These damn feelings. Suffocation, stress, anxiety, nostalgia, happiness, love, heartbreak, cities, lights, and oceans make me make music. 

SGH: I can remember thumbing through my parents records as a kid, and landing on Some Girls by the Rolling Stones.  It was unlike anything I’d ever heard.  It wasn’t just the sounds, it was the entire package that shook me.  What records from your past changed the way you saw things?

FV: Late ’90’s underground rap. The content of the songs. The concepts of the records. The labels and crews. The anticipation for records to drop (leaked downloads weren’t a thing). Waiting for tours to come through my city. The mystery, and lack of photographs. Scribble Jam. Overcast. The whole eruption of Anticon, Def Jux, Rhymesayers, and Living Legends… I was so young that the albums shaped my way of viewing the world and developed my thoughtfulness. I’m thankful for that.  

SGH: Hip-hop culture has been at the forefront of style and creativity for two decades.  Do you think style has replaced substance today?

FV: Yes, but it doesn’t bother me. A lot of these “cool” “fashion” kids care about the hit factor, making hyper-sexual hot songs, writing cute brags, and strange, dark, yet vapid stuff. But I like it. Everything has it’s place. I need it to dance and drink to. But I also need my serious MC delivering some deep shit, just at different times. Yes, there are less wordy rappers in the public eye than in the late 90’s, but again, I don’t care. It all comes in waves, it all serves a purposes. I dig it all.

SGH: There’s a cold sense of homophobia within the culture, although it’s started to lighten up of late.  Is your lifestyle something you feel you need to defend in your bars?

FV: It’s important for me to share my lifestyle and experiences in my music because there are kids out there who need to hear these things. For example, when I was in high school I wasn’t out and I dated girls to feel “normal.” I was always depressed after house parties because my friends would have all these epic hook-ups and life changing experiences while I would spend my night avoiding intimacy, drinking, smoking, and wishing I could go through the same things. I was always on edge. If I put that story in a song, I could help kids in the position I was in feel more confident knowing they aren’t alone, and that it gets better. I never thought I would ever be this comfortable or public about it, but I am. And it feels great. And everyone deserves this kind of happiness. 

SGH: If you could do drunken karaoke with any celeb/artist/historical figure, dead or alive, who would you choose?

FV: I don’t do karaoke.

SGH: Last but not least, and quite customary around these parts…what’s your drink of choice?

FV: Gin.  Gin all day.

Be sure to check out the Fameless Fam movement at http://www.famelessfam.com/. Follow F.Virtue on Twitter @famelessvirtue, and grab the fantastic We Are Not The Shame record here… http://www.famelessfam.com/?p=37794.

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