The Forth Five | Roman GianArthur
He’s a bit of an enigma. Roman GianArthur, the Black Burt Bacharach, is a producer who can
rap….er, sing and control the maestro. Cutting his teeth in the afro-futuristic space camp collective that is the Wondaland Arts Society (helmed by Rebelutionary soul singer superstar Janelle Monae), Roman has contributed to the musical soundscapes and arrangements of her two major label albums, The Archandroid and Electric Lady respectively.
I met Roman when he was still in high school. I was in my sophomore year at Morehouse College and his older brother, Nate “Rocket” Wonder (W.A.S producer & one-half of the afropunk outfit Deep Cotton), was my roommate. Nate asked me to spit a verse for his younger brother and mother while they were on a visit to campus. After I located a suitable 16 (it’s challenging to rap something that is both kid-tested and mother-approved), I got on with the business of emceeing. One of my most vivid recollections from that afternoon in our cramped dorm room was not my verse, but rather the expression on this high school adolescent’s face. Roman had a look then that he still possesses to this day, one of complete immersion into the art, albeit his own or someone else’s. He’s a student – always. Even at those times when he’s a teacher.
He’s grown to be one of the most talented men I’ve had the pleasure of knowing. Whether producing orchestral overtures for Janelle Monae or creating fully realized musical mashups of Radiohead and D’angelo, Roman is someone you’d want to lock into a studio for a week and wait for him to reemerge with our generation’s Songs in the Key of Life. He’s that skilled. He’s that gifted. And perhaps most importantly, he’s that free.
To be honest, I’m not sure if this year will be the breakout for Roman GianArthur. While I’ve personally heard at least 4 albums worth of stellar transformative material, I believe it’s likely that he won’t get cooking for most in the public eye until 2016 at the earliest. That said, his talent is such that time is of the essence for us to get familiar with him as soon as possible. With high profile appearance on labelmate Jidenna’s smash single “Classic Man” and music featured on the upcoming W.A.S. EP, The Eephus, get used to hearing the name Roman GianArthur. You’ll want to be an early adopter with this one; it’s only a matter of time before everyone sees the brilliance for what it is.
We’re big fans of his over here at Forth District and we believe you should be too.
Janelle Monae, Jidenna, Deep Cotton, St. Beauty, Of Montreal.
Atlanta, GA (By way of Winston-Salem, NC)
1. Janelle Monae – The Archandroid (2010)
2. Janelle Monae – Electric Lady (2013)
3. The Eephus (June 2015)