Words About Music
Rome Fortune “Small VVorld”
Just when hip-hop was centering back on California (Lil B, Black Hippy), Chicago (Kanye, Chance, Chief Keef), and New York (Joey Bada$$, Flatbush Zombies, Underachievers) again, Atlanta comes right back around and reminds you why it’s a vital hub of excellent hip-hop music. Young Thug is arguably to blame for this. He fuses the experimental tendencies of Chance the Rapper with the bangin’ beats of golden age Lil Wayne, and last year’s “1017 Thug” is an excellent result. Since then, we’ve also had other rappers and groups revitalizing the ATL, including Migos and ILOVEMAKONNEN, two very different but very awesome artists. Next in line is Rome Fortune, who uses plenty of different sounds and aesthetics in his music. “Small VVorld” (pronounced “small world,” obviously) is his third mixtape, and presents yet another argument for why Atlanta is taking over yet again.
Part of what I love about this mixtape is the variety of producers Rome works with. You’ve got Yung Lean collaborator SuicideYear (who produced the classing song “Hurt”), Blood Diamonds (who produced Grimes’ controversial new song “Go”), Four Tet, and Bassnectar, among others. While Rome as an MC doesn’t have as much vocal personality as I’d like (I don’t know if I could pick him from a lineup of other MCs) but his songs definitely present a lot of creative ambition. The song “Why,” for example, features a heavy metal guitar low in the mix of the beat. It’s tough to hear, but it’s definitely there. It almost feels like a Pantera or maybe a White Zombie sample. Rome is definitely versatile, even if his style isn’t quite discernible from the other guys. “Small VVorld” fuses cloud rap with trap-ish stylings in a way that’s akin to A$AP Rocky.
One of my favorite songs on here is “5 Second Rule,” a song that feels like Rome and SuicideYear’s version of a DJ Mustard track. With it’s meme-ish chorus (drop it to the floor like 5 second rule / still eat it) and minimalist beat, it’s ripe for club remixes. Another awesome track on this mixtape is “FriendsMaybe,” which features the aforementioned ILOVEMAKONNEN crooning away on the chorus. His voice isn’t for everyone (it took me a minute to really get into what he was doing) but it’s such a weird and memorable performance that it’s hard to fall for the lil’ goofball.
Again, my biggest complaint is that Rome Fortune doesn’t really have a ton of personality. If you can say anything about Atlantans like Waka Flocka Flame, 2 Chainz, and especially Young Thug, it’s that they all exude personality. I know when I’m listening to a Young Thug track vs. virtually any other MC. Rome Fortune, unfortunately, isn’t quite there yet. He’s not a very charismatic rapper, especially in comparison to some of the producers and guests on the mixtape. He does have a Kanye-ish ear for beats and music itself, though, so I’m not going to count him out entirely. “Small VVorld” is a great mixtape that features some of my absolute favorite hip-hop songs of the year. I just hope by the time he does a full-length album, he’s able to establish some sort of persona.
SCORE – 8.3
FAVORITE TRACKS – The Experiment, Why, 5 second RULE, Workin’ Gal, FriendsMaybe, No Evidence, Flash Back, One Time For