“People are saying it’s my best work,” Fortay say of the album, which dropped last month.
“It has been a mixed reaction but generally all good. The music I do you’re either going to understand it or you’re not. There are some topical issues in there that might rough some up the wrong way, but that’s what it’s supposed to do.
“With ‘West Sydney Story’, I’m giving more of my background from a child. I only touched on it a bit but there’s still a lot I could go into. There’s years of experience, so it’s hard to put it into a couple of songs, but I just touched on a bit of my background at least to give people an idea of where I’m from who might not have known it; I’ve gone deeper than I’ve ever gone.”
Raised rough in Western Sydney housing commissions, Fortay pulled himself from obscurity with his knack for spitting hard-edged rhymes that he put to work in the underground battle rap scene during the early 2000s. “I was doing open mics because no one would give me a chance to do shows, so any opportunity I could get, I’d do it and that was the lane available at the time. I started doing that but I left the battle scene before it started to blow up.”
As a self-made MC and fiercely independent artist, Fortay prides himself on being a boots-on-the-ground rapper, a trait he thinks is lacking among the current batch of up-and-comers. “No one is going to help you unless you help yourself,” he says.
“There’s good rappers out there sitting around at home and that’s all they are, is good rappers. There’s so much more to the music to get heard, to get out there and network with people and get shows; you’ve got to step outside the door of your house.
“These days people can now do it from their bedroom, get out there and build a fan base like that, so it is a lot different but I still feel you need to get out there and touch the people.”
Embracing a broader palette of sounds and styles, Fortay worked with a team of producers, including Defiant, So Flawless and Dizzie Dayze to create ‘West Sydney Story’, and he agrees with fans that it is some of his best work since releasing his debut album, ‘Fortified’, in 2010. “I think it is and I think the songs are more crafted,” he says.
“There’s more thought behind them and just the variety is what makes it my best work I think, because there’s songs on there that will make you cry, there’s songs on there that might make you want to do some bad shit and stuff to make you laugh; there’s something for everyone.”
Fortay heads out on tour for ‘West Sydney Story’ in January. “With my live shows you can expect comedy, you can expect aggressiveness and you can expect to be entertained. There’s no telling what could happen, it just depends on how many drinks I’ve had really.”
Fortay ShowsThu 19 Jan - Grumpy’s (Melbourne)
Fri 27 Jan - New Globe Theatre (Brisbane)
Sat 1 Apr - Fowlers Live (Adelaide)