“This is my intuition, and it says: I shouldn’t be pigeonholed.” So declares Atlanta hip-hop artist Rome Fortune on “Blicka Blicka” from his new LP, “Jerome Raheem Fortune,” and few would defy him after listening. He’s not the first to try blending a broad range of styles on a single record, but he‘s got brilliant collaborators in producers Cubby and Kaytranada, whose gorgeously textured beats provide space for Rome’s voice to manuever in dynamic ways. On “Blicka” his melodic flow occasionally recedes into fuzzy synth chords; the rowdy grime of “Heavy as Feathers” finds Rome sounding amped up and slightly paranoid. When he gets personal on the sparse, slow “Alone Tonight” or reflective on the shimmering, guitar-laced “Paid Back Loans,” he finds less than obvious approaches; on the latter he equates ultimate success with being able to “pay back my loans, me and my kids in a safe place.” His auto-tuned-sung vocals on “Love” and “Dance” are less than inspiring, but there’s no trial without some error.
ESSENTIAL “Blicka Blicka“Martín Caballero can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @_el_caballero.