I’ve been listening to a lot of hip-hop lately, without actually meaning to, so the next few posts are about some of my favourites. They’re devoted to Luke, the ghost of hip-hop past, and Dan, the ghost of hip-hop present. Without them I’d still be listening to Jay-Z and wondering where it all went wrong.
Atlanta seems to be a sensible place to start. It’s heritage speaks for itself: Arrested Development, Goodie Mob and Outkast (also Usher, but nowhere is perfect).
Rome Fortune attracted my attention by working with the brilliant Four Tet. While Kieran Hebden’s tunes may be a bit too eclectic to be described as pure electronica he hasn’t exactly provided a lot of hip-hops beats so I was a tad tentative as I clicked play. The result, though is sensational. A perfect balance of swagger and play:
There’s a sharpness to his lyrics -a harshness for the mainstream that’s not unusual in alternate hip-hop – but more than that it’s a call to arms, a reminder to be your own man:
Scars ain’t scars on a star
Tomorrow ain’t today if you change who you are
Don’t imitate a lame cause he gotta lotta followers
Whores or the car you want, bargain for none
Dollars burn, dreams don’t
Fortune has also worked with Toro Y Moi, another chameleonic electronic type who defies traditional genre boundaries. The subject matter this time seems to be more personal, a broken relationship perhaps. A sinking sense of regret at sins that though they can be forgiven forever change your relationship with someone:
True fools do learn
But this time I skip my turn
Treat heartbreak like heartburn
So I die just to keep me focused
More later, I promise..