Rome Fortune lives and breathes authenticity, unapologetically embracing the phrase “what you see is you what you get”. The Philadelphia-born rapper, for whom Atlanta has become his home and creative hub, recently released Beautiful Pimp 3, the latest addition to a discography that swims in idiosyncrasy. Fortune has developed a reputation for alternating comfortably between bouncy and mellow bars on layered, largely abstract instrumentals. In the process, he has shone as a leading embodiment of the Atlanta hip-hop scene’s innovative spirit. Fortune recently sat down with GAFFER to discuss football, how Atlanta and his travels have inspired his music, and his social media presence.
Growing up what was your experiences/ thoughts / attitudes to Soccer?
Growing up, my attitude towards soccer was just very casual. It was fun. I would play it with friends but my coordination really wasn’t that nice. When I got older, my fascination with it was real westernized – I rocked with Freddy Adu and then, obviously, it’s real cliche, but I rocked with David [Beckham] because he’s fly. I think soccer players are real fly and kind of underrated in America [in that respect].
How has that altered today – what’s the view of soccer as a whole in the US?
I think the view on soccer as a whole in the U.S. is obviously, my point of view, it’s kind of a consumer type of thing. Americans like money. It’s a business thing. They see ‘damn, this is really the most popular shit in the world, so, you know, it’s really, really getting popular in the States. Atlanta has the crazy expensive Mercedes-Benz Stadium for soccer, so that’s crazy.
Our first print issue out in February is a focus on young rising talent – so who are the upcoming names from Atlanta that we should all be looking out for? Could be music, arts whatever…
Nobu is an implant from Texas but he’s a crazy producer and sound designer. Obviously, Freako Rico. He’s a crazy visual artist. There’s a bunch of things going on from Atlanta from every aspect.
It’s safe to say that you have different modes like rockstar status, the Dad mode across socials, you have studio mode dropping tracks and stylist mode with your wave. How do you catch those sides? That eclecticism is what sets you apart…
My lifestyle is not an entertainment thing. Everything I show is what I am. I don’t know how to play a different part for the internet or anything like that, so what you see is what is you get for real, for real.
But how would you describe your sound? What does music do for you? Is it an artistic or therapeutic release?
I think [music] is really a reflective thing. I feel it’s a process of my life. I need to live and then say things, and a lot of times when I’m in the studio making music I’m not writing but it’s not freestyling. I believe if you’re writing something down, the thoughts are already in there. I just let it out and I listen back, and I’m like ‘Damn, that’s how really how I was feeling.’ It’s a real subconscious thing.
How has the history and cultural powerhouse of Atlanta inspired you and your sound?
I feel as if Atlanta inspires my sound in ways of confidence, you know, with OutKast and stuff like that. But my sound is more influenced through my travels, honestly– when I come to London, when I’m going to Berlin, when I’m going to even China. Different places, everywhere I’m going, I’m seeing how they respond. Everybody has a different response to certain types of things, so I know how to speak that language and not make it forced.
Why do you think Atlanta has been such a breeding ground for the likes of ludacris, lil John, Outkast, 21 Savage, Migos etc.
I think Atlanta is a breeding ground because it’s a very communal city. A lot of other cities are more closed off. Everybody’s working with everybody, everybody’s in the vicinity of everybody, so a lot more gets done. A lot more people are more excited about everybody else’s stuff. There are different pockets where people are more segmented off and they wanna be private, but for the most part it’s because people are working together.
For those who haven’t been, what is Atlanta like as a city?
Atlanta as a city is mischievous, is hospitable, is sexual, is fun, is old school, is new school, is a lot. It’s like one of my favorite places. I haven’t really realized it was my favorite place until I really started traveling a lot.
With most artists on Social you see a lot of retweets and whatnot, but you really get into it with people. What is that like? Why do you operate on those levels?
I think it’s a balance of everything. Your people who follow you need to know certain things, but I don’t think your whole life needs to be on there. I don’t want people to know where they can hit me and it’ll hurt, so you gotta be blocked off. You see what I want you to see. It’s still real, but you see what I want you to see.
What’s the best lyric you’ve ever written?
Damn, that’s crazy… I think it was the whole song of “Benjiminz” with Toro [y Moi]. Like, the hook, “I gotta play the game so I can change the game”. That’s real. You can’t change shit if you ain’t playing in it.