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Poetry in the rap

Shayal Devi
Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The presence of rapper Fortafy had segments of our population abuzz last week. What made it even more worthwhile and an event to cherish is the fact the New Zealand-born rapper has links to Fiji.

Sam Ratumaitavuki goes by stage name Fortafy but it is not just his melodious voice or catchy lyrics that grab people's attention.

In his own right, the rapper has given back to the community and is also in a different league as compared to many of his counterparts who have wasted their time on unimportant things.

The rapper works with the charity group Pacific Smiles, which was founded by two of his friends, Ratu Josua and Sheree Rarasea. He was involved with handing out school supplies to the children who had been affected by Tropical Cyclone Evan.

Music artists are usually looked upon by the younger generation, but for Fortafy, there are certain qualities that role models need to possess.

"Role models need to have strong character in regards to achieving things. Pretty much a good mind-set and a good heart as well," he said.

To combat problems such as peer pressure, Fortafy thinks it is important for young people to be around good people.

"You are who you hang around with. If you hang around with negative people, you will do negative things.

"Have a strong mind-set and hang around with people who do good things," he said.

Through his music, Fortafy aims to motivate his listeners. The rap sensation said rapping was a form of poetry for him.

With his gentle charm and down to earth personality, the rapper has gained popularity among many young people.

As with many artists of his generation, there is a tendency to adopt a less-than-friendly demeanour upon gaining fame. Fortafy is the exact opposite. While conversing, one can see a kind and easygoing star generous with his time. Social networking is an integral part of Fortafy's success as he constantly connects with fans via e mail, Facebook and Twitter.

He says his music is free, for now, and for now can be downloaded from the website

"I look up to artists that I think are doing things correctly. Those artists that are achieving people's expectations of them," he said.

His biggest inspiration is learning from the struggles he has had to overcome.

"I don't want to sound like a cliché but learn from life itself. Learn from the challenges that come with life."

So multi-talented is the rapper he even works on his own music videos. He writes his own songs, produces them and manages most of the work to be done on the sets.

"I basically learn how to do all the stuff on my own. I heard about how much people charge for making video clips and I said to myself, 'I am not paying all that money so I just learnt to do most of the stuff myself'," he said.

Fortafy made his presence in Fiji felt, after he performed on February 22 at Ice Bar in Nadi, and at the Down Under club in Suva the next day. If all goes well, he could be making another appearance in Fiji, bringing with him more artists to give Fijians a real feel of his music.

"If the weekend goes good, then I would love to come back, probably with New Zealand artists like Scribe. Its really good when people see them in the flesh," Fortafy said with a laugh.

He is proof musicians need not be temperamental to achieve success. With the new range of music he's working on, it seems he is one to watch in the near future.

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