Jerome Raheem Fortune (Feb. 2015)
Two years after his breakout mixtape, Rome Fortune is finally ready to release his debut album, the title of which is simply his full name: Jerome Raheem Fortune. The album isn't intended to be a celebration of himself -- or maybe it is, but only because it provides a full, oftentimes painful portrait of its subject, warts and all.
The lead single is the Kaytranada-produced "Dance," on which Rome, with some gentle auto-tune, sings, "I just wanna dance, so I don't have to think about, the things I think about." It's a light, house-y record that absolutely lives up to its title. The song immerses the listener in Rome's artistry, though it remains on the surface of his persona -- which has been the case for much of his previous material. Fans know he has a unique style and that he brings a wide range of emotions to his music. Now it's time for Rome to show them why -- to explore, sometimes against his own intuition, those things he thinks about.
Accordingly, Rome begins the soul-bearing process on "Love," the second single, produced by the New York-based, North Carolina-hailing artist known as Cubby, the executive producer of Jerome Raheem Fortune, whom Rome hopes to give significant exposure with his new album. "It's about my sons," Rome says of "Love." "It's like all the perceptions people think you are as a rapper."
Rome has never been shy about his imperfections, and nor is he here. Though, his shortcomings end up being eclipsed by the pure love he expresses to his sons, even if he's still not sure if he's deserving of the love that's reciprocated. That love, which he's still amazed by, is the reason he keeps going: "Because I wanna end it all sometimes / My career and even ending my life / I could never when I look in your eyes and see your..." Fans have long known the artist; they now, finally, get to meet the man.
The Jerome Raheem Fortune cover shows an eye-catching yellow portrait of Rome in the process of covering his face and upper-body with an emergency fire blanket. It's no accident he's draped in "reflective" material. On his debut album, Rome brings his whole being into the spotlight, and through his music, he's able to reflect that light back at many different angles -- detailed and painful, but, ultimately, bright and brilliant.
"Everybody is going to be so surprised in a pleasant way. I'm so happy for people to hear it man. I haven't been this confident in anything I've ever done."