Roman XCV – Beyblade Flows E.P

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Growing up in the late early 2000’s the children’s TV market was being taken over by Japanese animation, with four of the biggest shows of the time coming from the Asian market. These four shows were Pokémon (the definite winner, a lot to do with the easy conversion into video games), Digimon, Yu-Gi-Oh and Beyblades. The latter was incredibly popular in Ireland largely due to the branded toys. The games simplicity and the fact that anyone who had a plastic arena was king of the playground was what made it such a popular game. It’s the nostalgia of easier times and the carefree attitude that is in direct contrast to the “Beyblade Flows E.P.” released by Cork rapper Roman XCV (also known as The Lonely Choir).

The E.P. starts with a dialogue between two characters,that seems sampled from a movie, before the instrumentation kicks in. The production is sparse, however, this adds depth to the flow of Roman XCV when he does begin to rap. He talks about the fear of getting distracted from developing his career, and the possibility that women and their lure may ultimately be his downfall. He brags about being on the top of his game, being the biggest act on the scene – both extravagant claims for a debutant.

Track two, “Still Spinning” sounds similar to the previous song, with the piano leading the way melodically, but the songs flow seamlessly from the last which should be appreciated. The topic of racism in Ireland and being black and feeling different is a common one, and the use of music as an escape is admirable but the song needed slightly more in it to grab the listeners attention.

The final track however, makes the E.P all worthwhile. With bass heavy production kickstarting the song, it’s the progression and the addition of the instrumental layers and complexity as the song develops that really stand out. The lyrics and rhymes are more impressive that previous tracks, discussing people not wanting to hear how you feel in your music but only wanting something to dance to. The repetition of the line “I’m lost in the world” and the final minute of repeating “I used to be okay” leads the listener to feel for the artist and provides clarity on everything Roman stands for.

As a whole the E.P. is lacking. With only three songs they should all sound and feel different but the second song feels like no development from the first. Lyrically, work can be done too but it’s the lack of experimentation that lets this project down. Had the songs all been as exciting and varied as track three was this would have been better but the lack of risk taking and the apparent need to stick to what they know is disappointing.