Mixtape Review-Beautiful Pimp 2 by Rome Fortune
Nothing that has come out in 2014 is as comprehensively arresting as Beautiful Pimp 2. It doesn’t exhibit any of the cool calculation of a pimp mixtape or any of the depth that an introspective one provides. On Money Memories his flow moves like a slinky, bunching up words for a quick bar only to follow it with a slow elongated thought. At one point he brags about how “these women won’t change me” then allows a quarter second of sorrowful silence following it with a mumbled curse and “I’m all on my own.” The emotional seesaw between confidence and raw emotion is perfectly matched by the production which is entirely handled by Citoonthebeat. It’s easy to make the generalization that mixtapes are better with one producer and one core artist but they have to have a special chemistry. Sometimes a whole project between an important artist and an important producer doesn’t fit (thinking Lex Luger x Wiz Khalifa on Cabin Fever). These two have that chemistry.
When I first heard Beautiful Pimp 2 I was sure that the production was brilliant; that all the sonic elements added up to the audio version a stone skipping across the water. Every song became a sight that I could attend over and over without getting tired of it; I wasn’t sure about Rome. Is the production masking a sloppy lyricist? Is the slinky flow used under a masters control or…I’m still not sure. That’s the thing about Beautiful Pimp 2 it’s jarring. Look at the cover image. This woman’s posterior is the first image that will catch your eye (if you are like me) but after that you notice a father who looks just as uninterested in taking this photo as the child on his lap and you can’t help but wonder why.
Within that core question the music creates a need for itself beyond the lush production. He sells a detachment on the song Indifferent that never feels believable; just another layer of defense. You won’t find this project filled with physical threats or bumper sticker catchy expressions about the pimp life. He continues the conversation from Indifferent about how much he doesn’t care but really enjoys sex with women on Bad for Me and even as he warns his women to keep things quiet it doesn’t seem to be an assertion of power instead hope for a silent meditative moment in a world jammed with crap.
OneDay is when the fear starts showing itself. The chorus is “Its me alone…standing there…unfulfilled…I don’t care….say what you will…you N’s gonna hate me I ain’t mad and I ain’t scared. My eyes are open, I’m prepared.” This fear of being alone mixes with a distrust for others and their intentions. Now add the relationship to fatherhood and needing to provide. It all becomes a rich emotional tapestry that’s complexity is beyond flow or rhyme structure.
Maybe I love Beautiful Pimp 2 so much because it exists so far outside of every trend. I would love for anyone to listen to the bubbling electronics and chimes on Secretly and place that anywhere in the trap v. ratchet debate. It’s nowhere and smugly satisfied with that. Its not all sadness and fear just pay attention to the opening verse of Sunset in Benzes (in fact just turn that up and hit repeat when its done). When he uses the song as an opportunity to state “I’m trying to win right now and look good doing it” it feels more blue collar than that declaration normally would. On the last track So I was struck when Rome said “When I’m asked by the magazines ‘how you doing Rome?’ I simply smile and tell my story showing nothings wrong.” In the end this project has too much pride to cry for your empathy but that doesn’t mean the conversations held within it, whatever topics they touch, can’t maintain a level of sensitivity. I could keep writing about it but I would never get to a real conclusion. I will likely stay lost in it and I love that.
Stream or Download Beautiful Pimp 2 below:
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