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Baltimore Arts

Best Album

Rome Cee’s The Extra Mile

Maybe hip-hop needs more students. We’ve had plenty more teachers than just “the teacher” KRS-One, of course—MCs ready to tell you how to live in the world, how it is, what’s wrong with it, how to fix it. And we’ve had even more MCs that just don’t give much of a fuck, all swagger, all number one all the time and check out this Patron in my glass. Less so MCs that come at the world, and at lyricism, from the perspective of growth, change, and maturity. And humility. Rome Cee came up in much the same rap world as the dudes still stuck in street-corner rap battles, probably got into some of the same kinds of shit—but here we are a decade or so later, listening to the deftly delivered poetry of a man grown and humbled by the world. The record, released on Under Sound Music, isn’t very flashy, but it dishes a whole lot of guests and a different producer for nearly every track—and one J Dilla freestyle—filling in Rome Cee’s vision piece by discrete piece. It’s not backpack, it’s not “indie,” nor is it street rap or holier-than-though rap preaching. It’s something else entirely, and it’s vital.

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