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Rome Cee, Baltimore's most promising rapper, knows redemption first hand

August 02, 2011|By Wesley Case, b

UnderSound Music founder Ian Mattingly, aka E Major, says signing Rome was an easy decision because of his work ethic.

“For me, I didn’t want to work with anyone where we had to carry them 100 percent, so Rome and I linked up at a bar in Fells, had a beer and we sat there and talked for two hours,” Mattingly says. “At the end, I thought, ‘OK, this could work’ because I saw his drive and determination.”

UnderSound releases are complete packages — cool artwork, well-shot music videos, the whole nine. That glossy sheen, paired with Rome’s naturally gritty street rap, makes the Extra Mile one of the area’s most accomplished works in years.

When asked which rappers inspire him, one name keeps coming up — Curren$y, the New Orleans rapper who signed a deal with Warner Bros. after building a cult-following online. But it isn’t just Curren$y’s grassroots approach that Rome admires. It’s the fact that Curren$y found success without playing a tough-talking character, without regards for gangsta posturing and self-consciousness. For Rome, who grew up with a chip on his shoulder to dispel the notion he was “different,” it’s downright liberating.

“The game I’m in finally allows me to be who I am,” Rome says. “The skill has always been there. I’ve always been nice, all that type of stuff. Just the way I present myself has changed. The skill will never change.”

If you go: The Extra Mile Release Party, Talking Head Club, 407 E. Saratoga St. Saturday, 8 p.m. doors. $10, with E Major, 810 and the Black Sunn, J Berd and Children of the Stars. sonar.thundertix.com.

To stream and download Rome Cee's the Extra Mile, click here.


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