|Album Review: Rome Fortune - Beautiful Pimp 2|
Beautiful Pimp 2
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Atlanta. It's impossible not to see the "Capital of the South's" influence bleeding into almost every facet of society. The turn of the century, club and drug subcultures have shifted our lexicon and influenced the way we listen to music. Atlanta has taught us how to continue turning up, even against the toughest odds.
With the music from the nightclubs blaring so loud and the drinks being consumed at a dizzying pace, getting your voice heard from outside can be overwhelmingly difficult task. Turning down, when everyone else is turning up, requires one to confront the reality that his or her peers are actively avoiding, alone; oftentimes, the resulting music is characterized as depressing or self-centered. However, a thorough examination of the artist and their work can lead to an exciting, albeit painful, firsthand perspective of their continued growth and maturity.
Rome Fortune, an Atlanta based emcee, bares all of his insecurities, rough experiences, and aspirations for his listeners to connect to on his sophomore release, Beautiful Pimp 2. Taking a full one hundred and eighty degree turn from his previous mixtape, Fortune opts to forgo the typical braggadocio and hard hitting 808's to focus on the world he finds himself in now. Filled with lusty women, unbelievers, bad decisions, but most importantly his daughter, this project tackles more topics in its twenty nine minutes than the first entry of this series.
Beautiful Pimp 2 plays like an argument within himself; he is fighting to become a good man, but constantly finds himself losing the will to resist temptation. Right in the first track, "Money Memories," Fortune pleads to the listeners to believe that he is "really a changed man." Although two tracks later, on "Indifferent," he is entirely consumed with the pleasure from his infidelity with a sultry temptress, completely disregarding the inevitable painful repercussions. This battle between his mind and flesh makes for a dynamic, compelling character building; giving listeners an underdog to root for, even though he faces adversity around every corner and in every tight dress.
His unfaithful actions make him start questioning the motives of others; paranoid that he will be taken advantage of or used to gain fame. He ponders how genuine the woman under his sheets is, "do she love me or want to be famous ('Money Memories')." This isolated feeling definitely influenced the sound of the entire project.
CitoOnTheBeat is responsible for all of the production on the mixtape, weaving significant mellow electronic vibes into every square inch. There are few bombastic moments, which help each track smoothly transition into the next, like Fortunes introspective thoughts. However, there is a serious lull in the middle of the project, when songs begin to sound too indistinguishable and are devoid of any optimistic highlights.
Rappers have become "hater" obsessed, but these are typically painted as lame individuals, who are jealous of their success. Rome Fortune is no different, be he sees his detractors as more than haters; they are people who don't understand or see his vision yet, which is understandable. He hasn't actually made it yet, he still is on his way, "Giving it what I got/ going super hard/ I think I got a shot ('Secretly')." Humbly, he welcomes their skepticism, "One Day" and "So", recognizing that he has a long way to go. On the latter track, he explicitly vocalizes his theory on haters, advising listeners to ignore those who focus on the negatives, so they can keep their eyes on their goals. When you listen to "Secretly", you can tell he truly believes this is the trick to success; joyfully exclaiming, "Doing bigger better/ they hate you secretly," never worried about what goes on behind his back, relishing in his future prospects.
When your haters are other rappers, who may or may not feel envy, taking them down or ignoring them is normal. Things change when it's your girl or your family. "Patience" finds Fortune begging his girl to buy into his dream, and to stay around even though the times are rough. "Don't make sense, but baby you got to have some patience," are the first words uttered and sets the tone for the remaining two minutes. It is a standout track off the project, precisely because of his ambitious lyrics. "I'm so close to all my goals/Really got to concentrate/Turned up in the club, that ain't me." This song captures his assumed mindset, as he continues on his conquest towards fame.
"Patience" and the following song, "Tropical," are two of the best songs in his young discography. Citoonthebeat really displays his production talents on both, especially with his bass synthesizer manipulation on the former. The latter is one of the few upbeats tracks on the mixtape, which is a welcomed deviation from the rest of the album.
Rome took his first steps out of the club and stopped stunting to evaluate his life, finding a conflicted and bruised individual. While it was an intriguing journey, the cohesiveness of the entire project holds it back slightly. Never does it pick up long enough for there to be a real mood change, which becomes tiring. Furthermore, it was too short, only twenty nine minutes. Some of the best songs ended right when they were becoming truly enjoyable, while others meander too long without real substance, like "Sunset in Benzes". Having a weak three minute stretch, when the tape is so short, is significant and there were two such periods.
Fortune represents a different side and sound of Atlanta, one that should be further developed. His unique sound doesn't have to stand in opposition with the rest of his city, but it does help show a more complete picture of what life and stardom feel like. This was definitely a musical risk for him, but he showed true progress as an artist. Hopefully, he continues to patiently move forward.