Wednesday, May 21, 2014

"One Time For"- Rome Fortune (Prod. Four Tet)

Though it now lays claim to a Wikipedia entry, "cloud rap" is still a nebulous subgenre. "Dreamy" is a word that consistently comes up when describing the style, but it’s far from a concrete descriptor. My idea of dreamy is nodding off on a couch and floating around in the ether. Someone else may prefer to be swaddled in bed sheets and slip into a world where they're a superhero. Defining "dreamy" or "dreams" in general is somewhat of a fool's errand because they're involuntary and random; and quite often like snowflakes no two are the same. 

However if you were going to tackle the task of defining "cloud rap" in 2014, Rome Fortune's collaboration with electronic artist Four Tet would be a tremendous aid. The pairing of the upstart Atlanta rapper and the English producer reads as awkward, but a listen to Fortune's stellar Beautiful Pimp from 2013 says otherwise. That first installment of the now burgeoning series was rife with the same type of spacey, exploratory beats Four Tet's been doing for a decade-plus. The only real difference being that after 10-plus years in the game, Four Tet's exploration has an end goal in mind. And for the gorgeous "One Time For", he imparts the wisdom of his wandering intentionality on Fortune. The verses are chock-full of chaotic militaristic drum rolls and noodling synthesizer, but Fortune stays focused on his "heaven-sent grind." When Tet gently eases the dial down during the chorus, to the point where only muted beats remain, Fortune could easily put a hat over his face and doze off. He doesn't. Instead he pushes further and demands an answer to "that hatin why you do that?" For all of Four Tet's "dreamy" production, Fortune stays wide awake and creeps up on one of rap's best tracks in 2014.

(According to Fortune's Soundcloud page this is one of two tracks between Fortune and Four Tet, but an entire album of this music would be tremendous.)

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