Beautiful pimp: Rome Fortune’s mission to remake Atlanta rap

We sit down with boundary-pushing MC and Kaytranada collaborator Rome Fortune to talk acoustic rap, the future of Atlanta and how LA lowered his tolerance for bullshit.

12 months agoText by

Rome Fortune

Atlanta has always had flare. From the outrageous chain-buying habits of Gucci Mane to the alien-pimp stylings of mid-career Outkast, the ATL has always specialised in a particularly ostentatious brand of hip hop. It’s no different today, the likes of Young Thug and Lil Yachty have pushed the city’s styling experiments to new extremes. At the same time, Atlanta has evolved into hip hop’s new capital city, and its outlandish approach to rap has spread across America and the world. For all their willingness to experiment with production styles, unconventional flows and clothing, lyrically many Atlanta MCs are still stuck in the trap.

Enter Rome Fortune, the green-haired pioneer behind the acclaimed Beautiful Pimp mixtapes and debut album Jerome Raheem Fortune. Fortune specialises in a woker breed of Atlanta rap, one that steers closer to the work of Kid Cudi than Young Jeezy. For the last four years he’s been making a name for himself as one of the city’s most experimental rappers, finding friends among the likes of OG Maco and Kaytranada. Now based in LA, he’s working on two new projects, PIMPSPIRATION, an EP showcasing his brighter, ‘fun’ side and the third instalment in his Beautiful Pimp series, which is slated to be the ‘full Rome Fortune experience’. Never one to be boxed in by genre or convention, Fortune’s latest release ‘Kanye, Beyonce’ is an acoustic track that muses on the complexities of fame. We caught up with Rome to talk the upcoming acoustic rap revolution, the difference between LA and the ATL and why he’s not a ‘Soundcloud rapper.’

In the last five years or so a new wave of Atlanta artists and a new sound have emerged. Have you been back there? What’s the vibe like in the city at the moment? How does it compare to LA’s?
I was just in Atlanta for a few weeks spending time with family & decompressing before this busy fall season. The vibe is how it’s always been in my opinion. New faces but always innovative & fun. Colorful. The LA that presents itself to me has so many facets. I find myself gravitating toward the creative up & comers from out of town not allured by Hollywood lifestyle. That’s anywhere I go though. I love being around environments where people exist in their own lane. It’s inspiring.

You’re based in LA now, how has the city shaped your music or your approach to your music?
I was stationed in LA for a few months just to get a different scene & be in an environment where I know I had a lot of support artistically. I’ve always been nomadic though. I get bored quite easy with routine so that was a short lived residency but I’m currently back for about a month handling business. In terms of finding my voice & identity musically, it was a huge aid. You’re around so many judgmental habitats that you can either choose to blend in or really soul search to find out what it is you want to say when it’s all said and done. LA made my voice louder in a sense. My already low tolerance for bullshit dropped tremendously. It aided me to be more honest with myself.

Do you feel part of the whole ‘SoundCloud rap’ movement?
I’m able to build a continuously growing fanbase on the platform but ‘Soundcloud rap’ has certain sonic identity in my opinion. You can’t expect to know what a Rome Fortune song is going to sound like before you hit play. No matter how familiar you are with my catalog.

Rome Fortune wears all clothing Vintage

You’re related to Cannonball Adderley – were you ever tempted to pick up a saxophone instead of a mic? Was his legacy talked about in your family?
I play drums and a little bit of keys. I’m really digging into music theory at the moment as well. My grandfather Richard Adderley is one of the best vibraphonists in the world so I would always see his dedication to it, even at his current age. The few members of my family that I’m close to have a show and prove demeanor opposed to a verbal one.

You’ve spoken before about being tired of trap – what do you of think of the genre’s prominence right now?
I love certain trap artists. In general, the same flows are being recycled. The same beats. The same ideas & topics being covered in the same ways. 90% of the trap rappers have never trapped or lived that lifestyle. Leaps in evolution are made through innovation via honest exploring. There’s billions of people in the world. Prominence is all timing, audience & coverage.

Your latest single ‘Kanye, Beyonce’ has a very different vibe to your previous releases, how did that come about?
I have so many genres in my unreleased catalog. ‘Kanye,Beyonce’ was just an impulsive release. If you listen to my album Jerome Raheem Fortune, that show of flexibility & range musically is pretty evident.

Do you think we’re about to see an acoustic rap explosion?  
I’m not sure acoustic rap in particular but definitely the world of a more experimental rap than seen recently. Music consumers are becoming more vocal about being fed redundancy.

You mentioned you’ve just wrapped up a project. What have you been working on? When can we expect to hear Beautiful Pimp 3 and what should we expect?
I have an EP entitled PIMPSPIRATION coming ASAP. Then we’re releasing Beautiful Pimp 3 sometime after. PIMPSPIRATION is the fun & bright side of Rome. I’ve spent a good amount of time traveling the world & the thing that resonates with me the most is how people let themselves free when they dance. Its a worldwide dance vibe. No corny shit. BP3 is a full experience. Both projects something new & progressive per usual.

Featured image: Rome fortune wears Earring Blingistan, hat, shirt and sunglasses Vintage
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Photography Sella Asia Consonni
Styling Alanna Pearl
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