Chicago-based singer/songwriter Kevin Rhomberg, a.k.a Knox Fortune sounds like a girl.
Well maybe not, but that might’ve been what you thought when you heard him sing the hook for Chance the Rapper’s “All Night”. The high-pitched joyous refrain he laid down for the Coloring Book dance cut was Fortune’s biggest break in the music scene. However, like any hard working musician, it was far from his first involvement on the scene.
Prior to the Chance the Rapper feature, Fortune had produced songs for other SAVEMONEY rappers Vic Mensa and Joey Purp (who appears on Chance’s album). Although he rose to prominence through hip-hop production, his 2017 debut Paradise draws much more from indie rock conventions, with playful tinges of pop in between.
The 11 track selection of songs doesn’t overstay its welcome and offers some genuine songs revolving around being in love, presumably the “paradise” the album draws inspiration from. Almost every song references the little moments you share with someone you can’t get your mind off. Whether it be the “Lil Thing” they do when they dance or the way they dance in your dreams like on “Stun”.
“Stun” is one of the two tracks with a feature, with Fortune employing a prior client in Joey Purp. The downtempo, reverb soaked track is definitely meant for chilling with friends, or maybe that special someone. Overall, that’s the capacity in which the album is best served. The songs don’t take themselves too seriously and the album is bouncy enough to throw a few songs on a party playlist.
The only shortcomings are Fortune’s vocals on very few tracks. You can hear his tone waver pretty heavily on penultimate track “Keep You Close”. This could have been an intentional choice, but it just comes across as someone trying to find the note instead of experimenting.
The highlights far outweigh any complaints, and Fortune’s hip-hop background brings an interesting twist to indie rock concepts he plays with. Contributors like jack-of-all-trades producer Cam’obi, SZA contributor Carter Lang, and Social Experiment trumpeter Nico Segal help the project shine with a variety of unusual rhythmic and harmonic choices.
If Knox Fortune’s hip-hop past didn’t set him apart from the indie rock crowd, his solid debut definitely has.
Favorites: “Lil Thing”, “Stun”, “24 Hours”, “Spill”
Subpar: “Strange Days”, “Keep You Close”
by Jordan Levy
The opinions expressed above are solely those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect those of WRSU-FM, its staff, management, or Rutgers University.