Haha. Rome Fortune‘s hair looks like Abel Tesfaye‘s on the cover of his new collaborative EP with OG Maco, Yep, released online January 5th. It’s a curious hairstyle, one I wasn’t familiar with five years ago, but it now seems to getting popular along with the musicians who’ve adopted it.
2015. Still feels weird to say it out loud, to type it in numerals, to consider this abstract notion of the Current Era. This year marks the 20th anniversaries of Liquid Swords, The Infamous, Me Against The World, Return of the 36 Chambers, Lifestylez ov da Poor and Dangerous, Mystic Stylez, Curb Servin’, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx and Soul Food. As happens every new year, our historical perspective shifts and the lens through which we view new art must consequently “change with the times.”
We don’t necessarily have to look back to 1995 to discuss Rome Fortune and OG Maco, though. Fortune is in his mid-twenties and Maco is even younger, having turned 22 last year. Many consider hip-hop to be a “young man’s game” (a notion heavily discussed when Pro Era and Odd Future began gaining momentum), and these young men enjoyed many successes coming into the new year. In 2014, Fortune released several mixtapes, including Beautiful Pimp II and Small VVorld. OG Maco, meanwhile, was getting signed to Migos’s Quality Control Label, on which he released his self-titled debut EP featuring a remix of his hit song “U Guessed It.”
The two of them making music together is fine by me. Was it really just a month ago that Royce da 5’9″ and DJ Premier’s PRhyme first hit my ears? Was it really just two months ago that Aesop Rock and Rob Sonic released their second album as Hail Mary Mallon, Bestiary? Are we really just a month away from the Ghostface Killah/BadBadNotGood full-length Sour Soul? Exciting hip-hop collaborations seem to be happening regularly these days (no, not you, Bad Meets Evil), and Yep excels at exciting.
The nine songs on this EP each feature production from a different person. Childish Major made the beat for “Pearls,” a laidback dub tune followed by the trappy title track (produced by TM88 of 808 Mafia). “Sex” strips down the beat to its underpinnings, a slick song for which Fortune’s wise voice and Maco’s modern dynamics are perfect. The SuicideYear produced “Suit Case” is good, but my favorite song on the release is “Riot.” Strings, pianos, horns, hi-hats and exemplary rhyming and vocal delivery sell me completely on this penultimate track.
It’s nice starting off 2015 with two of last year’s freshest artists. I’m utterly burned out on Young Thug, Big Sean, Rich Homie Quan and Usher; Rae Sremmurd has lost my attention, Dej Loaf is a nobody to me, Nicki Minaj and Iggy Azalea are increasingly irrelevant. My biggest wish for hip-hop in this new year is to see more exciting, fresh, young, and most importantly, personally endorsed (mine’s the only valid opinion) rappers making their way into the Top 10 and the hearts of listeners around the world. OG Maco’s getting there. Rome Fortune is on the way too.