As soon as the alarm clock starts ringing, upcoming rapper Romeo Casanova’s The Wake Up! intrigues us into a new musical world from a promising new artist.
The self-titled track introduces us to Romeo Casanova and why we should listen up to his words. Passion, hunger, and the will to be great define the upcoming artist’s entire performance on the project.
Another strength of this record in its early moments is its sequencing. From the alarm clock skit to the voicemail at the beginning of “My City Girls,” the record runs like a day in Romeo Casanova’s life, which only allows us to understand him even more.
The dark and pulsing trap cut “SpeedRacer” is definitely a standout in the tracklist due to Romeo’s ghostly presence on the hard-toned instrumental. The way Romeo’s firm vocals glide over the beat lets his bars hit with the most power possible, and it gives you a moment that you will have in rotation for quite some time. While this song works well at being a catchy track, “iCKY Vicky” falls flat for me due to its awkward flows and unhinged sound, which is very poorly placed within the flow of the record. While the next song, “Trust Issues,” is a well-written song that explores an important part of Romeo’s psyche, this is another moment that could have been done better. The singing from Romeo, especially at the beginning of the song, feels too clunky, and even though it picks up by the second half of the track, this is too late to retain new listeners’ attention.
Moving into the album’s second half, “Minuto” is a strong but short moment that features some straight-to-the-punch rapping from Romeo Casanova. Between his soft but commanding delivery and the minimally present beat, this quick track is quite an effective one. “Winter Street Interlude” keeps this same energy up as we further see Romeo’s personality get fleshed out and explored, and this works as a perfect precursor to a definite standout, “Better Days.” From the hook to the verses, this is one of the more complete songs on the project, and Romeo gives us a truly powerful performance here with lyrics that show his personal conflicts and ever-fighting spirit.
While the hook comes off too whiney, “Melodies” is still a solid moment that is salvaged by Romeo’s verses and the memorizing guitar riff that loops throughout the entire cut. Romeo excels as an MC as his rhyme scheme gets more complex, and his intense energy only makes the stakes of this cut even higher. As we continue to see Romeo open up more and more on this project, “Speak My Mind” is another important moment in the tracklist as Romeo goes on a lyrical monologue where he analyzes his life and looks at how he’s grown through the conflicts he’s faced. Hearing Romeo depict his struggles in such a vulnerable way makes for a powerful moment, and this is the exact material I would love to hear more of from him going forward.
Serving as one of the best cuts to vibe to on the record, “Thing About Life” is a topically powerful but musically joyous anthem that embodies how to be an important thinking piece but also an enjoyable piece of music. Everything placed within this cut, from the hook, verses, to the skits, creates a beautiful storm of Romeo’s thoughts, making this song one of the best displays of his artistic strengths in all their glory. As this record gears up for a close, the hard “SpeedRacer, Pt. 2” serves as an unforgiving moment that shows the hard side of Romeo Casanova one more side alongside featured guests Tanaboy Rikko and Nathan Cash who both deliver solid feature performances. Tying everything together, “TheFlip” is an even more aggressive cut than the last, where we see Romeo Casanova, a hyper-intense cut filled with over-the-top energy and bravado. All in all, while I wish the sequencing of this record could have stayed as consistent as it was in the beginning, the artistic storm Romeo Casanova goes on throughout this project features a magnitude of strong musical moments.
Looking at The Wake Up! in its entirety, there are a lot of strong moments, but the project feels incomplete as a whole. Romeo Casanova’s performance on this project features a lot of promising moments, but between the loss of conceptual focus as the record continues and the stylistic experimentation, which has varied results, the record lacks the consistency it needs to take it to the next level. In the future, I hope Romeo Casanova can improve on these flaws as if he can, I think he will be able to do something extraordinary in the music world.