Another college rap act? That’s what it may seem on the surface but Reef and Hobson of Fortune Family justify their individuality and talent with relaxed yet witty rhymes accompanied by original and diverse beats. With over one million hits on their last single “Take Me Away,” and opening for some of the biggest artists in the game, these young Philly natives are really making a name for themselves, and they’ve only just started to take the music scene seriously. I had the opportunity to talk with Reef and learn about the making of FF, past influences, and future collaborations.
TNP: In a quick summary how did Fortune Family come together?
Reef: Are you from the Philly area?
TNP: Yeah right over the bridge in Jersey, but I’m going to school in West Chester right now.
Reef: You should have came to our-
TNP: I know you guys were just at The Note! Sorry I missed it.
Reef: It’s no problem. So basically, Hobson and I are from the same high school. I put out the biggest joke of a song with one of our friends and it turned out half decent. Word got back to Owen (Hobson) about it and he invited me over to his basement studio. I was so nervous, all his friends were hanging out there, and he was like “Reef spit a free style.” I guess I wowed him and he was down to make music. Ever since then we’ve been FF.
TNP: So is that when you first starting getting into music?
Reef: Yeah, Yeah. We didn’t really start taking things seriously until we released “Take Me Away”, which was our first single for our last mixed tape. It still blows my mind knowing we’ve hit over 1 million views on it.
TNP: Nice, nice. So who would you say are some of your major influences, who did you listen to growing up and who do you listen to now?
Reef: Okay well, I mean, it can sound pretty cliché, but we draw from a variety of influences. And I think it’s pretty noticeable. We sample artists from across the board – Sleigh Bells, Kings of Convenience, Annie Little to name a few.
As far as influences, I grew up listening to Nas, Jay-Z, Kanye, Tribe etc but also I was very into The Beatles and a bunch of other random stuff. Right now Drizzy is one of my biggest influences as corny as that may seem. He’s so relatable.
TNP: Very diverse background you have there. So you guys just released the new track “Spring”, how do you think your style how grown since your release of Paradox, your last EP?
Reef: Wow, um, that’s an interesting question. So Hobson and I, we’re both very slow at releasing music. We have both taken a lot of time doing separate solo projects just to explore our own unique set of musical interests. I went the more indie/hip-pop route, I guess you could call it that. Hobson has taken a more electro/deeper darker type of route but when it comes together as Fortune Family, we moderate, making sure we complement each other.
TNP: Yeah I was about to say Hobson just released a mixed tape Coffee and Blunts which has a lot dub and electro style. Do you ever see yourself going in that direction?
Reef: Oh man (laughs), I feel like it may be inevitable just because you see the kids going crazy over the whole EDM scene. It’s pretty funny though – my ritual before shows last summer was listening to Avicii’s Fade into Darkness. I thought I liked house because I just got back from Europe. Hobson was like what is this crap? Three months later he gets to college and falls in love with EDM. Not my style though. Sticking to my roots.
TNP: Word, good to stay true to what you’re doing. So you guys toured with Mac Miller, Hoodie and other big names. Do you think you learned anything from them?
Reef: looking back, our first show with Wale, it went well, but we were definitely a little bit uncomfortable on stage. Ever since then, we’ve just been able to figure out how to have that chemistry on stage. Going on tour with Hoodie, we learned a bunch about how to put on a great show, but equally as important, how to interact with fans off the stage before and after. Make them feel as part of the family.
Last week at our West Chester show, some cord got pulled out the laptop and the music just shut off during Dreams. If that happened a year ago I probably would have just stood there frozen up. All about feeling comfortable. Turned it into an acapella freestyle and the fans loved it. That show was seriously nuts.
TNP: Who do you wish to collaborate with in the future? Or, who do you see yourself collaborating with?
Reef: We’ve been able to collaborate with, in my opinion, some of the most talented names in the up and coming genre. We collaborated with Hoodie, who’s not up and coming any more, but also Dylan Owen, Oncue and Upper West. Who would we like to work with? I would say G-Easy or Skizzy Mars actually. Those are two artists who are really taking a unique path with the whole new school hip hop and they’re doing it really well. We could definitely make some fire on the track.
TNP: Right on. So were do you see Fortune Family 5 years from now?
Reef: Oh man (Laughs). That’s kind of like when you’re in an interview for a job and they ask you the same thing and you’re like oh man that’s a deep question.
TNP: So true, honestly, who really thinks that far ahead, but where do you wish to see yourself?
Reef: I mean I just take it day by day. Hobson and I, we don’t really have any crazy expectations. We do this because we love it. And we’re going to keep making music as long as we can. Doing shows and putting out music are some of the best feelings you can get. We’re going to try to keep that as long as we can, developing our sound, making sure we keep on creating our own path. I think we have a lot of potential ahead of us. Hobson, even though he looks older than me he’s only a freshman in college. I think we have a lot of time to shine.