The cultural melting pot of Atlanta has long produced a wealth of hip-hop talent and, this year, amongst the ever eccentric fusions of Future and his A1/Freebandz affiliates like Young Scooter and Young Thug, Trinidad James' ongoing 'All Gold Everything'wave and the underground artists grouped under the #NewAtlanta banner like Grip Plyaz, is Rome Fortune's second full release Beautiful Pimp. The striking cover art features Rome cradling a baby in a strip club locker room and despite an appreciation of the voluptuous charms of the life (“there's poetry to strippers”, he muses on DanceDance) and a particularity about the way he likes his car door closed he is clear about its other consequences.
He doesn't have much time for fancy suits or big hooks and his flow is matter-of-fact: concise imagery, bald statements and self-motivational mantras drawled in a composed monotone. He told a similar story on the last year's LOLO - made with CEEJ of local group Retro Sushi - but the extra vibrant palette of Beautiful Pimp takes thing to another level with the slow, alien beats from producers like DunDeal, C4, Childish Major and DJ Spinz giving his tales of easily exchanged money, sex and respect an almost hallucinatory air.
The video to 'Get the Guap', a rare upbeat moment on the mixtape but also a good introduction to its overall outlook, is premiered here at Dazed, with a brief Q&A with Rome Fortune below.
Why did you choose to name your mixtape Beautiful Pimp?
'Beautiful Pimp' actually came from my experiences with women and life in general. A lot of the individual situations were actually rough but the lesson I learned from each one was beautiful. Very applicable shit.
The songs on the mixtape are realist and gritty. You're not about glorifying a lifestyle are you?
Most definitely not. I believe that I've given the most honest perspective I could have possibly given. I'm not riding in a Cadillac or talking about having a string of women on a corner. I've used for certain things and I've gotten used. That's life. As far as where I live and what I aspire to do, I live where this music takes me and I'm aspiring to be the most polished Rome I can be. I'm already the illest in my opinion so the competition from this point lies within me.
The Atlanta rap most people know is either Outkast and the Dungeon Family back in the day or T.I., Jeezy, Gucci and guys like Future even more recently. Where do you think you fit into those traditions?
I mean, I can definitely relate to those eras because I've been in Atlanta through each. I don't think I fit in any one though. All I do is talk to the youth. Like, not on some preacher shit but on some big brother shit because I'm 24 so I can empathize with both the adults and young'uns. My mixture and comfort on multiple platforms help me express that easier. So even though Future is the god, I'm Rome.
What kind of music do you listen to?
I listen to a lot of instrumentals. Blood Orange, The Drums, Future, and Tyler, the Creator's new stuff. Growing up it was a whole lot of Jay-Z & Roc-A-Fella. I normally don't listen to too many different artists at once, though. I don't want my shit influenced too heavily by too many different voices.
'Beautiful Pimp' has a very distinctive and cohesive sound, how did you link up with the producers your worked with on it?
Me, C4, & Childish Major are all pretty cool so the chemistry with them is easy. I knew that I wanted the base of the album's sound to be constructed off of their instrumentation. DJ Spinz, Dun Deal & Cito just kept it unpredictable and helped keep it exciting.
Why did you want to work with them particularly?
Childish and C4 are so versatile and efficient. I can tell them some off the wall shit and they'll know exactly what I mean then they produce it. Dun Deal too, he's just on another level man. It's really a lucky situation to be in. I can get the best production out there tailored to me; I have to go hard with it.
Are you already thinking of the future?
Well as of now we are exploring some options but we are just bringing tons of visuals. There's a pretty solid tour I might be opening up on so I'm gonna keep working and see where it takes me.
What was the basic idea behind the video for 'Get the Guap'?
I just wanted to have fun outside of Atlanta. Get some good weather in LA and have that be the starting point for the journey. We got to play with a lot of different locations that we normally wouldn't have been to at home.