Knox Fortune makes a stellar solo debut on “Paradise”
Ryan Israel | Friday, September 29, 2017
Chances are you have heard Knox Fortune’s voice before. That’s because he has already won a Grammy. Knox Fortune (born Kevin Rhomberg) was featured on Chance The Rapper’s “All Night” from his Grammy Award Winning mixtape “Coloring Book.”
On the upbeat track, Fortune lends his airy and relaxing voice to the catchy chorus, repeating “All night, I been drinking all night / I been drinking all night / I been drinking ay ay.” The feature introduced the world to the Chicago native. Now, the young singer — seeking to blaze his own trail – has released an album of his own.
The up-and-comer’s debut album is titled “Paradise,” and despite coming on to the scene through his connections with rap artists like Chance the Rapper, Vic Mensa and Joey Purp, “Paradise” is far from a rap album. The solo album is made up of psychedelic synth-pop tracks dominated by creative self-produced beats and Fortune’s soft and wispy voice. The indie singer’s style can be described as something like a mix between that of The Byrds and Beck’s early work.
The first song from “Paradise” is named “No Dancing,” and it properly introduces the listener to Fortune and his style. Despite having lyrics about sleeping in and taking a day off, the track is upbeat and inspires the one thing that the title prohibits: dancing. The subsequent track, “Lil Thing,” tells the story of a summer fling over a relaxing beat, inspiring memories of hot July days.
The album’s best song is “Star,” which features Fortune singing an inspirational message with a spacey psychedelic beat that crescendos at the finish. The song drags the listener through an elaborate range of emotion as it moves from an upbeat vocal-heavy beginning to a darker, instrumental ending.
The Chicago artist brought on some of his close friends to add to the feel of “Paradise” — just as Chance the Rapper did with him. Nico Segal, the talented trumpeter from The Social Experiment, contributes to songs throughout the album. The Chicago-based rapper KAMI’s unique voice beautifully complements Fortune’s on the song “Strange Days,” which also features an amusing sample for the intro and outro. Joey Purp, who’s also a member of the flourishing Chicago rap scene, co-wrote the song “24 Hours.” Additionally, Purp appeared on “Stun,” a track which unsuccessfully attempts to blend Fortune’s soft chorus with Purp’s harsh and explicit verses.
The feelings inspired by “Paradise” remind the listener of exactly that — paradise. A number of the songs are energetic and happy, perfect for a day at the beach in the summertime. It’s unfortunate that the album’s release comes at the end of summer, just as chilly sweater weather is beginning to set in. A few songs, like “Stars” and “Spill,” are slower and calming, perfect for stargazing in any type of weather.
“Paradise” is a great start for Fortune. The debut album showcases the young star’s two strongest assets, his outstanding beat making and his mellow voice. Fortune’s bubbly and cheerful character shows at multiple points throughout his introductory album that’s full of splendid songs and captivating beats.
Artist: Knox Fortune
Favorite Track: “Stars,” “No Dancing”
If you like: Beach Boys, The Byrds, Beck
Shamrocks: 4 / 5