His rap name is Rome Fortune, but you can call him Captain Eclectic, Pope Prolific. Rome Fortune is a rare artist able to release multiple projects each year with every project sounding different. His sound is constantly breaking out of the ever-declining hip hop confines and forming a new mould of what music can be.
In early August, Fortune released a track with Four Tet on a Sunday. The next day was a deep house feature alongside Lorenzo Asher. That same week, he dropped a cloud rap sorrow spree, with help from producer Suicideyear. Two of the three tracks were later featured on the ‘Small VVorld’ EP, which came out at the beginning of October, marking his third release of 2014.
Rhyming over different genres and blending his ear for production, all of the music remains contained within Rome Fortune’s melting pot. Just like his style, which is diverse and free, Fortune roams between his hometown of Atlanta and studios within the Big Apple. Like New York and ATL, Fortune is a mixture of hard-working professional, hip hop visionary and a syrup-inspired southern creative.
During our phone call, we discuss the possibility of a ‘Beautiful Pimp’ follow-up, his favourite songs at the moment, and his views on the age limits within hip hop. Asked how his 2014 has been, he responds, “Man, I’ve been lovin’ it. I’ve been workin’ on some new stuff. 2014 has been really good, it’s been really progressive. I’m in NYC for a couple more weeks, then I’m down to ATL to record, kick it with fam’.”
Throughout September he toured with psychedelic pop outfit Glass Animals, a four piece band hailing from Oxford. Traveling all over the United States, the two acts took on 22 shows in less than a month. Opening for Glass Animals is a prime example of Fortune’s depth, an artist willing to listen to bluegrass and opera, as long as it knocks him off his feet. Asked if his creative process is different between New York and Atlanta, he responds, “It’s the same. I pull inspiration from everywhere and I put it in my music. Different places gather different information, but it’s the same process.”
“What are you currently working on?” I ask. “The ‘Small VVorld’ album is finished. It’s forward thinking.” Asked if he works on music every day or if he takes breaks, Rome responds, “I’m always workin’ on music. I used to go over the top 24/7. But I learned to live a little bit and experience life in interesting ways. You can’t only be at the studio. Gotta be livin’ life and not be so overdramatic in the studio.”
We get onto the topic of collaborations and he reveals some artists he’d like to work with. “Partynextdoor, I really like what he’s doing. I always like smooth shit. I’m into a bunch of different stuff. If it’s good music, I’m meshing with it. Some people have good music but you can’t mesh. And, of course, there’s Elton John, who I’ve listened to since I was a kid. Me and him would sound next level.” While Elton John might be out of reach as a collaborator, we can’t deny the heat that the two would bring to the table. And if you examine the growth of Fortune in the last few years, you know that he is capable of anything. From his full-length with producer Childish Major, ‘VOYEUR’, to his collaborative project with Two-9 member Ceej, ‘LOLO’, Fortune started off with a bang.
This is an extract from the Autumn/Winter 14 Issue of Viper Magazine. Read more from the magazine here. Buy physical and digital copies here.
Words by Ben Niespodziany.
Photography by Jimmie Armentrout III.