R.O.M.E - Cryin
Where some emcees use their struggle-filled upbringings as fodder for self-mythology, telling sweeping tales of their legendary hustle, R.O.M.E. keeps his feet firmly planted on the streets, using the subtler details of inner-city poverty as his lyrical palette. This uncompromising take on hip-hop storytelling isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, as evidenced by the mixed reviews the rapper received for Star Children, but mixtape single Cryin’ may just have what it takes to convince the doubters. Like R.O.M.E.‘s Booth debut, this record features heartfelt lyrics centered on the day-to-day struggles that filled his formative years, a Chipmunk-soul hook (from the Temptations’ I Wish It Would Rain), and a melancholy, piano-driven beat—the main difference lies in the presentation; The Bizness’ punchier percussion rhythm and buzzing synth-bassline invest R.O.M.E.‘s impassioned vocals with more emotional heft, and the record as a whole with more momentum. Personally, I think these minor tweaks make a big difference, and one that will likely be reflected in Booth regulars’ ratings. For more of this up-and-comer’s vivid tales of inner-city survival, check out his My Demo mixtape, set to drop on the 15th.