Rome Fortune
  • Courtesy of Life or Death PR
  • Rome Fortune

One of the biggest hip-hop stories of the summer centered on Atlanta’s Makonnen Sheran, who sings and raps as ILoveMakonnen. The 25-year-old spent the end of his teenage years on house arrest with nothing to do but surf MySpace and devour Bloc Party, Lil B, and Adele tracks, and he’s filtered his eclectic tastes into a mutated pop sound that’s equal parts rap and R&B. Sheran artfully teeters between rapping and singing. He’s not the most polished vocalist, but he makes up for it with unwavering earnestness, and he can sound like a guy who’s prone to belting out pop songs while showering (in the best way possible).

It struck a chord with Drake, who remixed Sheran’s “Club Goin’ Up on a Tuesday” early last month, adding his own irrepressible and heart-wrenching performance to the track. Leave it to Drake to make partying on a weekday sound ten times cooler than any Saturday-night extravaganza you’ve been to, all while imbuing his reverie with morose loneliness every time he mentions the fact that he’s too busy on weekends to go out. But the heart of the “Tuesday” remix remains Sheran, who had been gaining a following in the red-hot Atlanta scene before last month. Of course, Drake’s touch put Sheran’s ascent in overdrive, and just last week he signed to Drake’s OVO label.

Sheran’s found a nice place in the spotlight, and he can lend a little star power of his own to folks. He just appeared on a playful song called “FriendsMaybe” by Rome Fortune, a 25-year-old rapper who has found his own niche in the Atlanta scene since releasing his debut Beautiful Pimp mixtape early last year. Since then the green-bearded MC has also rapped on instrumentals made by celebrated avant-dance producer Four Tet and recently released an EP with everyone’s other favorite ATL rap oddball of the year, Young Thug.

Fortune’s become established in his own right beyond those collaborations, but those names have no doubt helped expose Fortune to folks who don’t comb through DatPiff looking for mixtapes by Atlanta artists. The timing of “FriendsMaybe” will no doubt help expand Fortune’s fanbase, as will his tour with UK pop-rock outfit Glass Animals (who have an affinity for hip-hop), which stops at Thalia Hall tonight.

Leor Galil writes about hip-hop every Wednesday.