By Ben Niespodziany

Atlanta MC Rome Fortune is a passionate creative, both abstract and accessible. He has an ability to sound like anything and anyone he wants, a multifaceted talent who reflects the world that surrounds him, taking in everything he sees and trying his best to make a dollar and some art out of it. You’d be hard pressed to find anyone who has worked with a more varied selection of artists in 2014 than Rome Fortune, who has collaborated with Dun Deal, Childish Major, Four Tet, Sucideyear, PeeWee Longway, and Young Thug, not to mention that he’s about to go on tour with British indie band Glass Animals.

Fortune daydreams of a beach house and comfort for his children, and the constant slew of projects he has released over the years are the backdrop for his attainable dream. Currently at work on his next full-length, we spoke with him about his output this year, his hopes for the future, and the hotbed of creativity that is Atlanta.

Hey Rome, how has 2014 been treating you so far?
It’s been treating me well so far. Very progressive in so many ways. After releasing BPII and Drives, Thighs, and Lies, we’ve been getting attention from a lot of heavy names in the industry. So it’s been about building off that and learning from all of these esteemed artists but still bringing my A game to show that I’m a peer and pupil. I’ve been doing songwriting for film soundtracks and other artists lately so some unique opportunities have presented themselves to me as an artist.

You released Beautiful Pimp II and instantly went into EP mode with DunDeal. Are you always working on a new project?
Always. I have multiple finished projects—another with DunDeal in the vault, just for insurance—but currently we’re focusing on my first full-length album. We’re really concentrating on the integration of all aspects of my talent. Songwriting, singing, storytelling, emotion, all that. I feel as if I’ve been releasing just small tastes of what I can do to highlight my versatility. At this point, I’m building a soundscape based on what I want people to know, and that’s that I’m not to be fucked with!

Can you tell us a bit about the approach behind BPII and Drives, Thighs, and Lies?
BPII was more abstract and mood driven. I was going through some things and I didn’t want to make a sequel to Beautiful Pimp thats was a graduated replica. My headspace was in a different place and even though it wasn’t the feel of BPI, the inspiration came from the same places. Just different angles. Although it was received well, I know I went too experimental for a number of my fans: the fans who are fans of just that feel good trunk banging music I got known for.

That’s where I brought in Dun and we just made a nice sampler to show that I care about all of my listeners no matter what I’m on personally.

What has inspired you and what has allowed you to grow since you first began recording and releasing projects?
Honestly, it’s solely my two sons. That’s my drive. My goal is to have them with me all the time. On the road or at home, I want them to be around me. I travel so much that I don’t get to spend the time a father wants to spend to see them grow day to day. So I basically use every day to get better, learn something new, pick up something different, because my success literally translates to me having the means to have my boys with me. An offshore crib with a few bad females and my sons. What else should I be working for?

What else is planned for 2014?
We’re working on this full-length project. It’s almost finished. Got some music on there from people you wouldn’t believe. Blood Diamonds is executive producing it so you know it’s going to be nothing but forward thinking music with a touch of familiarity. Other than that, just doing shows. Talking to some interesting people about touring. Making sure people at least are familiar with the name.

An offshore crib with a few bad females and my sons. What else should I be working for?

Who would you love to collaborate with?
Elton John.

What have you been listening to recently?
Honestly, I’ve been really heavy on Soundcloud and all of its artists and producers. When I’m in the mode of making music for a project, I try to steer away from listening to other vocalists too much. You listen to an artist too much when you’re an artist too and subconsciously they pass their rhythms to you. I want people to hear me when they hear me. That being said, I’m obsessed with the Soulection camp, man. ESTA and Lakim are some homies of mine so I’m always paying attention to what those guys are doing.

Do you prefer working with the same producer for a full release?
It all depends on the story I’m trying to tell.

What are your views on the hip-hop scene in Atlanta?
There’s still some very cool shit going on back home. I normally keep my radar on for the people who you probably won’t hear about from until the following year. It’s a big but close knit community of people who really go hard for underground shit with mainstream potential so it’s cool watching that. Currently, I really like what Makonnen is doing. He’s got something special once it’s tuned up.

What are your views on hip-hop in America in general?
I think it’s becoming super interesting. The lines of what “hip hop” is, are slowly but surely being blurred. It’s interesting. Most of us new guys who have the chance to become part of what the new mainstream is, aren’t afraid to experiment. That’s the key. For example, you’ve got a dude from South Atlanta, Young Thug,  influencing so many peoples’ cadences and rhyme schemes. Yeah, his subject matter is common amongst most hip-hop, but his approach to songs is unconventional. It’s small, innovative shit like this from more and more new guys that will eventually remove all ceilings or limitations rappers put on themselves.

It’s small, innovative shit like this from more and more new guys that will eventually remove all ceilings or limitations rappers put on themselves.

What is the environment like when you’re in the studio?
When I’m recording, dark. A pretty female. My vices of choice. I normally engineer my own stuff for the initial mix so I don’t need much. The vibe has just gotta be right. When making beats with someone, anything goes. As long as me and whoever I’m working with feel comfortable.

Do you have any advice for struggling artists?
Don’t stay stagnant. Get a good catalog of music, save your money, and just hit the road to different cities. Physically connect with people. Make a real presence for yourself. That will set you apart from everyone. Online numbers don’t necessarily reflect who fucks with you and to what extent. Also, always be in student mode. Be ready and willing to learn from anything and anybody. This game will give you gems in the most strange of situations. Just open your eyes and ship out your ego.

Rome Fortune is heading out on tour in support of Glass Animals in September. See all the dates here.