Conformity is overrated. The desire to fit the mold is so 2006.
For video directors, the age of applying their vision with full creative control has already been upon us for several years, thanks to YouTube, Vimeo, and cheap but effective filming equipment.
In just a little over a year, the former Florida A&M Univeristy student Anton Forbes, known to many as FXRBE$, has become one of Raider Klan's go-to video director producing a reel that includes Denzel Curry's "Threatz."
Crossfade checked-in with FXRBE$ at Popeye's Chicken & Biscuits in Miami Gardens to talk about working with Unkle Luc, his aesthetic, and almost getting arrested for filming a rap video.
Crossfade: What's the deal with Popeye's?
FXRBES: I don't know. I fucks with Popeye's.
You come here a lot?
I come edit videos here and just chill and just look at people. I like doing that shit. I like looking at people.
How did the "X" and the "$" come about in your name?
I think it probably derived from Curren$y. That's one of my favorite rappers. And also, I'm in Raider Klan, so the X and things like that, so it's a play on both sides.
What got you into shooting videos?
It was actually my dad. I used to go around shooting little short films. I wouldn't say short films, but go around shooting me and my brothers acting and things like that. I used to take my dad's camera and just shoot anything that I felt like shooting.
I kind of put that passion to the side and thought I wanted to be a psychologist or whatever, but it wasn't for me, so I got back to shooting. It's been a year now.
You also work closely with Unkle Luc.
Alright, let me tell you a story about Luc. I used to go to FAMU. When I was up at FAMU, I was like, "Yo, I really want to do this directing shit," because that's when my passions started kicking back in. I went out and bought a camera, so one of the videos I bumped into was one of Luc's videos. I was like, "Yo, I really fuck with this nigga." I drop out of school, I come back down to Miami and one of the first people I meet is Luc. And so from then, we built our relationship. Kind of like a big brother, little brother thing. If you look at my videos, my style is sort of like his. Well, pretty much is. He taught me his cinematography style.
What sets your videos apart from his?
I think it's the aesthetics of mine. My videos are pretty much dark. Like very dark, dark videos. And the storylines are dark.
Why are they so dark?
I'm a fan of horror films and things like that. I'm a big fan of the Halloween series and It and things like that. And Freddy Kruger. Those are things I used to grow up watching. And used to watch it all day. Straight horror films.
Do you find a need to separate your work from his?
Definitely. It's kind of a Kenan and Kel thing. Kenan doesn't always want to be with Kel. So, even when me and Luc did "Threatz" together, I'm still trying to separate myself from "Threatz." That's why I wouldn't promote "Threatz." I mean, I promote "Threatz," but I still wouldn't put, "Look at 'Threatz' nigga." I'll put another video up, so we can separate ourselves from that and be our own individuals.
Do you watch your videos?
Oh, no. I hate my videos.
How would you know if you've never watched them?
Because I did. I mean, I've watched it, but after I upload them on YouTube, I don't watch it no more, because it's always, "I could've did this better. I couldn't did that better." You're always your worst critic. After I finish editing, I'm like, "Fuck!" So, I don't watch the video. I don't know. I'm weird.
What void does Twitter fill for people?
I think it's a lonely void. Whenever you feel lonely, you need to feel like you're not the only person. Fucking, a comedian said this about phones the other day. I forgot his name.
Louis C. K.?
Yeah, Louis C. K. He was basically saying that when people are lonely they go to their phones and try to find somebody to fill the void that's inside them. I was saying the same thing about Twitter. Sometimes, you may tweet because you feel alone and we want someone to agree with us on a certain topic. Because I'm not going to lie, that's one of the reasons I may tweet, because I don't' want to feel alone with the thoughts that I do have. Feel me? So, I may tweet some crazy-ass shit, and that shit may get like 100 retweets. Like, damn nigga. I'm not alone in this shit.
Are you lonely?
No, I'm not lonely. I got too much friends.
The reason I tweet the way I do is because I'm trying to find like-minded people, because it's a lot of esoteric and code things that I put into my videos. It's basically, it's like knowledge and art meeting each other and making it visual.
Would you consider yourself normal?
I'm far from normal.
Because I'm having an interview at Popeyes.
What is normal?
Basic! Like [Lil Champ] Fway be saying. Wake up. Basic!
OK, say it's like this: I think we're all like suns, right? Everyone has a sun inside of them. Now some of these suns are covered with dark clouds. You can let the sun shine bright. Or you can keep those dark clouds there. I feel like normal people conform with society or what they see as the norm. But I don't think anybody's normal. People just conforming, because they don't want to feel out of place. They don't want that void. They don't want to feel lonely, so they want to be like everybody else.
Tell me about the time you almost got arrested while shooting a video.
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I don't know how many people have seen the video but it's called Johnny Maze "Haters Die." And so, we were shooting by the field by my house, and basically, what we were doing was, we did a mock killing of somebody. We took them from out the trunk and tossed them into the woods. And one of my friends, well, one of the extras he had a gas tank. It was filled with water, but it was like he was pouring the gas on top of the body. And after that we were walking out and it's just fucking ten police officers with guns up and shit like, "Get down!" I'm like, "Bro, we just shooting a video." It got resolved after that. It was no big. They handcuffed some us and made some of us sit on our hands and shit, and they gave us a little talk like, "This is Miami Gardens. You can't be doing things like that. Try to get a permit shoot." Blah. Blah. Blah.
Follow Lee Castro on Twitter: @LeeMCastro