Rome Mallory’s newest album Protect Your Inner Peace is reflective, a lethal cocktail of emotional explosivity. ‘My Brother’s Keeper’ opens with a sample from The Godfather, setting an apt tone for a set of songs that toil over the concept of loyalty in a frightening world where everyone is against you. But this project is ultimately triumphant, and as the title suggests Mallory makes many steps here towards being at peace with the demons of his past.
‘Sapphire Knights’ is a ludicrously beautiful song, vocal samples forming a lush backdrop for the rapper’s hard-hitting lyrics. He sounds truly distraught on this song, his deep voice wavering as he recounts the evils of the western world in expectedly forward fashion. The sample-heavy beats are a huge part of why this project sounds so damn good, ‘Make the Darkness Bright’ in particular sounds as epic as any 2010’s J.U.S.T.I.C.E League joint. Mallory is as hungry as he’s always been, expressing a determination for his music to be heard even if he never reaches an apex of popularity.
There are some tonal breaks in Inner Peace, but they work wonderfully towards displaying the rapper’s versatility. ‘Black Mona Lisa’ and ‘1 Time 4 the East Side’ are more on the chill side, channelling a Pete Rock-esque smoothness. The album’s lushness doesn’t let up here though, with ‘Break the Cycle’ being perhaps the hardest, most perfectly crafted song in the tracklist. A nearly eight minute epic, this track absolutely floored me with its lyrical scope and ambition. Mallory is an amazing storyteller, so much so that the vividness of his lyrics astound me every single time I hear him rap.
‘Baby Keep Your Head Up’ offers another interesting track with a female perspective courtesy of Backwood Sweetie. She goes bar for bar with Mallory over yet more gorgeous production, resulting in one of the more memorable songs in the latter’s discography. By the time ‘Every Story Has An Ending’ rolls around, Mallory is dealing with heavier subjects such as the death of his mother but not allowing his grief to defeat him. In many senses, this song sounds like Mallory coming to terms with a painful event and in moving past it is succeeding in protecting his peace from the forces at work set out to shatter it. This project is an absolute triumph, and one that I would consider the rapper’s best by far.
Listen to the project below.
– Chris (@malenchanted)