The “Urban Renegade” EP is a project to drown in. It is an invaluable work to those who are meticulous and methodical, and those in need of some kind of inner healing. With deep sonic versatility and thematic range, the EP acts viscerally on the listener and invites a visceral exploration as a return of investment. Few tongues twist with as much tang as Big Rome’s, his flow and intricate wordplay ensures he stands out as one of underground’s hip-hop’s most genuinely extraordinary talents. With this recording, he’s in spellbinding form, raging against society’s shortcomings and hip-hop’s countless ills in matchless fashion. To achieve this level of verbal expression one needs to reach a particular level of achievement.
Something which Big Rome can claim, being a member of the Famous Poets Society where he won their annual poetry contest with his writing skills. He has also won the song of the year trophy at the prestigious International Music and Entertainment Association.
But aside from his award-winning legacy, Big Rome can flaunt his life experiences as a foundation for his creativity. A simple wrong turn in life landed W.K.Jerome Higgs aka Big Rome, in the Department Of Correction for three years. A time for introspection and redemption that in its disgrace served the Southern Missouri native well.
Forging Big Rome into a rapper’s rapper. A rapper who puts as much thought into his words, as he does his delivery, and always delivers verses that are intelligent, unpredictable, and fully engaging.
Big Rome makes it clear through his rapping that he’ll risk making listeners uncomfortable if it means spitting dope-ass rhymes. It’s just that he is in a very different sphere of influence from that of his rap brethren, and is able to make the most common rap hip-hop cliché seem fresh.
He is a fierce lyrical machine who never falls short of topics to rap about. His rhymes don’t dabble in obscure frames of reference or conform to an overly cryptic lexicon. Sometimes he administers a spoken word theme which impacts the listener more profoundly.
Which is exactly what he does on the “Intro” of “Urban Renegade”, before launching himself headlong into the intense, “I Got Issues”. From here, Big Rome’s tirades get bigger and bolder. He takes fire at whatever piques his interest, which happens to be everything from the abuse of power, to society’s collective dumbing down.
There’s an air of cynicism in some quarters of the EP, but the narrator never comes across as too smug or preachy. The piano driven soundscape of “Now or Never” becomes hypnotically captivating with each passing bar, as Big Rome engulfs the track with his steady baritone.
Both forceful and straightforward, “Urban Renegade” is one of those rare recordings that has immaculate production values yet retains the rawness of a basement freestyle session. None more so than the wake-up call on “Sick and Tired”. Maneuvering seamlessly between each commentary, Big Rome lets us know that, whatever the subject, give him a beat and he’ll knock it out of the park, as he does on “Stone Love”.
He is a socially conscious enigma, destined to give the hip-hop scene the perpetual rope-a-dope with an astounding display of the written rhyme word and breadth of his range when it comes to the ideas and subjects he has the ability to explore and educate his audience on.