This is the official 7th full-length album New York emcee Rome Streetz. Breaking out in 2016 off his debut mixtape I Been Thru Mad Shit, was followed up by a plethora of project with the most notable being the Noise Kandy tetralogy & Headcrack. Last year however was probably his biggest one yet, as he dropped some of the best work of his career from the DJ Muggs-produced Death & the Magician or the Futurewave-produced Razor’s Edge to the Ransom-assisted collab effort Coup de Grâce & the Griselda Records deal that followed. But after Pyrex Pot Poetry dropped out of nowhere earlier this summer only for Rome to reveal it was released without his permission, the Buffalo label that has had the culture in a chokehold for the past 6-7 years is making it right with the fans by making ‘em Kiss the Ring.
“Big Steppa” is a piano/boom bap opener produced by Camoflauge Monk with Rome declaring himself as such whereas “Heart on Froze” works in a unhinged instrumental from Conductor Williams talking about belittling his competition. “In Too Deep” incorporates some vibraphones confessing that he was drowning before he was swimming, but then Conway the Machine tags along for the rugged “Soulja Boy” talking about their boys wyling like Big Draco himself.
Meanwhile on “Tyson Beckford”, we have Rome on top of some dusty drums & synths from Daringer advising that experience will really teach you about the game leading into the vibraphone/boom bap laced “Destiny Child” produced by Denny LaFlare wanting you to watch him cook since he got the recipe. Benny the Butcher & Stove God Cook$ both come into the picture for the flute-tinged “Blow 4 Blow” talking about coke just before “Ugly Balenciagas” blends a sax & vocal loop to call his competition trap.
“1000 Ecstasy” returns to the boom bap with some psychedelic chords declaring the world to be theirs while “Armed & Dangerous” with Armani Caesar finds the 2 over a crooning DJ Green Lantern beat asking what love is without trust. “Cry Champagne” returns to a more richer aesthetic with Rome confessing that shit’s gotta change while the Westside Gunn-assisted “Non Factor” goes into drumless turf talking about how we know what they need.
Continuing from there, The Alchemist hooks up a piano/boom bap instrumental on “Long Story Short” telling the story of someone who needs to change for his daughter while “Serving” with Boldy James returns to spit some gangsta bars on top of some chords firing off like machine guns. The track “Reversible” has a bit of an abstract groove to it calling out those who’re washed while the Sadhugold-produced penultimate song “Fashion Rebel” refers to himself as such on top of a vintage loop. The title track though ends the album on a jazzy note talking about prospering now.
As a Griselda mark since 2016 & someone who’s been following Rome since the pandemic, I’ve been waiting for this day to come for a nearly a year & it’s the the GxFR debut that I could’ve ever dreamed of. His intricate gangsta rap bars accompanied by the unique styles of basically most of the roster & the label’s signature sound really is a match made in Heaven.