Another major player in the growing Atlanta hip-hop renaissance, Rome Fortune (Jerome Fortune to the government) has ties to the famous Adderley jazz-family of musicians and has been building a substantial buzz for himself over the past five or so years with diverse, genre-blending mixtapes and EPs. His latest project is his debut studio album, and indie label Fool’s Gold Records had the privilege of releasing it on Friday, February 26. It’s called Jerome Raheem Fortune, Rome’s full name presumably, and with some calling it some of his most introspective, ambient work to date, Rome is winning even more fans to his music with it.
Rome is a little bit like 2 Chainz meets Meek Mill with a great sagely outlook on life that those two comparable others have yet to achieve in their music, and his auto-tuned crooning further sets him apart. In this somewhat personal album of his, Rome doesn’t do a lot of hyperactive rapping, instead reciting careful message-heavy wordplay at moderate speeds of tempo. Although there is plenty good to float the boat here, Rome’s unspecial timbre of voice and common values nudge him toward Plain Jane-ery in that J.R.F. is arguably not individually specific enough possessing some yet not a great deal of unique character, but again, in the modern rap landscape, the wisdom we do get here does go a pretty long way.
Jerome Raheem Fortune has no guests, just Jerome, with buzzy atmospheric cloud beats by producer Cubby making for a quietly reflective, isolated-feeling experience. Rome is mostly modest; the most braggadocious track is the creative chorus-catchword encapsulating “Blicka Blicka,” so he opts more for deeply slept on moral thoughts (thank you Rome Fortune) rather than trivial superficial matters. He begins by discussing his sad childhood and the similarly cyclical, history-repeating circumstances he’s now in – having to provide for his kids and having to be on the road away from them at the same time. These feelings of helplessness and conflict show up later in “What Can You Do” and “Past Future.” Still later on, he seems to accept this lack of control and even embraces his me-time so he can find himself and the truth.
Almost incessantly metaphorical, Mr. Fortune helps his style with his dual meanings in songs like “Dance” and the anti-cocaine clanker “Heavy As Feathers,” but not so much perhaps at other times. For example, in the smart scrupulous “Still I Fight On,” his slower metaphorical rhymes occasionally keep him from explicitly stating the problems he brings up there, sort of like beating around the bush, but such is the case sometimes in rap. His on-wax, on-record maturity is the most significant attribute, and that’s the most important thing to remember and take away from the song. Jerome Raheem Fortune is overall a solid piece. The aerial beats are consistent to a fault, i.e. the production never changes course, and although Rome Fortune may not be the next big thing vocally, lyrically, he is no doubt someone to watch out for.