Fonzworth Bentley Unites Fellow ‘Lovers of Uniquely Raw Style’
Fonzworth Bentley has come a long way from his days as Diddy’s assistant. Author of ‘How to Advance Your Swagger’ and host of the hit MTV series ‘From G’s to Gents,’ he’s following in his former boss’ footsteps in becoming a ubiquitous media presence.
But the biggest evidence of just how far Bentley has come is ‘Everybody,’ the first single from his debut album, ‘Cool Outrageous Lovers of Uniquely Raw Style.’ The song marks the first collaboration between hip-hop giants Kanye West and OutKast‘s Andre 3000. How did Bentley accomplish this coup?
“Kanye West and Andre 3000 are both very uninhibited artists; it was the first time they ever got an opportunity to work together, they’re friends of mine and supporters, so that’s why we were able to pull it off,” Bentley tells the Boombox.It took some patience on Bentley’s part to get them both. “For Andre I waited a good eight months before I actually got with him and played him any of the music and that was the first song I played him,” Bentley recalls. “At that time he hadn’t rapped since the ‘Love Below’ album and he’s like, ‘Let me get that ‘Everybody’ record.’ I was like, ‘You gonna sing on it?’ He’s like, ‘No, I’m gonna rap on it.’ He called me two months later and he’s like, “Yo, I’m like 75 percent done with it.” I let him have the space, he went in, I went in and picked up the post session right after and it’s a pretty exciting moment.”
Bentley is very proud of not just the song and video, but its style. “We basically tapped into that Temptations vibe when they really tried to woo the lady,” he says. “I think so many hip-hop videos, or videos in general, get misogynistic. And we’re talking to the ladies, but there’s a way to be creative and cool about it.”
Bentley talked to the Boombox at the BMI Awards Salute to the Jacksons, but the event on his mind was the Democratic National Convention, which he had just attended. “I almost wasn’t there and the co-chair to the DNC this year was Shirley Franklin, who’s the mayor of Atlanta,” Bentley says. “Her son called me the day before and said, ‘Derrick, where are you gonna say you were thirty years from now?’ And I just got my butt on a plane and got there.” It was definitely worth the trip. “Let me just tell you, man, it was an experience just to be in that place on that day.”