By Alex P80 Parks
Rome Streetz has become one of the most consistent emcees on the independent scene. There’s always an edge to a Rome Streetz joint. Even in those ever-so-rare moments when he’s at his most vulnerable, he raps hard as fuck, always over beats that bang. His flexibility and range in the type of tracks, style of beats and ability to maintain a concept all speak to his immense talents as an elite emcee. On Head Crack, Rome unites with producer Futurewave. The Toronto-based beat mastermind has produced classic-sounding records, merging together highly distinctive samples and sounds to create amazing tracks. Future is able to construct beats that are both atmospheric and melodic, striking a balance apparent in all his work. Head Crack is a well-crafted project full of high-grade, head-nodding beats and supremely dope rhymes.
Deeply Rooted Hip Hop hit up both Rome Streetz and Futurewave to gain some insight on this project that showcases both of their strengths and talents.
DRHH: Since Streetz Keep Calling Me from a couple years ago, a lotta heads really took notice, and you’ve been on a tear ever since..
Rome: “Streetz Keep Calling Me was just me showcasing the fact I can rap over any type of beat. It wasn’t just one style. I wanted to cater to everyone on that joint. The projects after that I purposely aimed it at the target audience, the ones who strictly like that hardcore boom bap sound.”
DRHH: was the approach to Head Crack different from your previous collab project with Farma on Street Farmacy?
Rome: “Working with Futurewave was the same approach for me really as it was working with Farma, it’s just a different theme.. To me the difference is, with each project its more about taking risks to reach where u wanna get to..”
DRHH: How did the beat selection come about?
Rome: “Yea, Futurewave sent a bunch of beats and I just chose the joints that stood out. I know if I wanna rap on a beat from like the first 15 seconds or so. But also some of the songs I recorded he changed the beat after, so there are a few joints that have different versions. But really the aim with this project was just to make something that didn’t sound like the last tape.” ”
Futurewave: “When going into each project I try to bring a slightly different vibe to the table. I’ll send beats that I have in the stash and tailor-make a few to suit the artist’s vibe. Headcrack, Knee Deep and Acid Tab were all done with Rome in mind.”
Straight out the gate on, “Sniff it outta C-Note,” Futurewave brings the stretched out electric guitar riffs as Rome comes in, sharp as ever. On the title track “Head Crack,” Rome details his street moves and dominating the game. Futurewave brings in whiny echoing guitar notes that flex across several bars, adding some organ keys and punchy drums. With “Knee Deep,” Futurewave provides a minimal soundscape with an isolated jazz sax sample to give the track a vintage nighttime NY feel. Rome breaks down how far he is into this life of his.
One of the most mind-blowing tracks of this album and in recent memory is “NY Do or Die Slogan” The beat appeals like vintage gold with a perfect harmony of layered sounds. With joints like this, Futurewave really finds that delicate balance with the sample, drums, and well-placed effects.
“Rocking fly gear, Fendi eyewear
Fuckin black dimes wit blonde hair, I shine like Times Square
Get lined here for ya possessions, Possess long weapons
Smif N Wessun’s in a Bucktown session
Duck down like a black moon record, they shoot reckless
Catch 2 where ya neck is and get left nekkid
Slow neck from Alexis in a gold Lexus
Flow been dope, Cutty’s overdose off the breakfast tester
You’ll never measure, forever our style
My footwear is crocodile, You fuck n***as bacalao.”
“Fortune Favors The Bold ” features chopped vocal samples and a bouncing bass line. Halfway through the track the beat flips to a jazzy trumpet with tinny hi-hats creating a more bleak soundscape.
Rome: “Future wanted to have some skits on the album and he sent me a beat for a skit, and I was like this is way too dope for a skit. Then when I heard the beat flip in the middle, it was over, shit had to be another track on the album.”
Check the brand-new video here, shot by Mercenary Productions:
On “We Ain’t The Same” The Wav.god lays a unique dusty strings sample, compressed drums and hi-hats, resonating bass and some fuzzy futuristic effects for Rome to put down the many ways in which he shines different than the next man.
Rome on the hook:
“I shine different dog, we ain’t the same
You n***as lose change,
Full of envy and ya move strange
Felt the vibes, yea I been peeped it
They want every piece of food off ya plate,
Watch who you eat wit.”
On “Acid Tabs” feat Daniel Son, the beat is appropriately psychedelic and hazy. Both Rome and Daniel Son deliver strong verses over yet another insane beat from Futurewave.
Futurewave: “My ear gravitates to a darker tone, I love psychedelic vibes but it’s not something I purposely go for. I sample what I feel will bring my vibe to life. It can come from Rock, Jazz, soundtracks, anywhere really. It’s a vibe thing for me.”
With “Foul Lifestyle” Rome’s grim street depictions are a stark contrast to the elegant and light harps and strings. “She’s Like Keesha From Belly” over some rolling drums and booming bass, Rome details the prerequisites his down bitch needs. Futurewave lays down a gem here with a dope guitar sample, faint flute loop and a subtle vocal sample on this, yet another standout beat. Rome shows a veteran’s cadence, with great timing and delivery in his flow with lines like:
“Whether it’s Chinese chicken wings at Mr. Chow’s,
penny-pinchin or stackin benjamins in a pile,
and I fuck wit her,
cuz she a real nigga
started from the bottom and I built wit her.”
Rome: “Future’s post-production work amazes me too. What he did on some of these joints I had already recorded make em sound totally different than what I first heard. He really elevated the sound from what we started with.”
From an early listen of the project, the final product showed changes in sequencing, changes to the names of tracks, some variations to the beats of some tracks and even more polishing through impeccable mixing and mastering. Futurewave mixes his production so cleanly, yet still allows the raw purity of the samples to shine while finding a way to perfectly pair the drums to accompany each arrangement. Rome capitalizes on the quality of the beats to deliver another cohesive body of work that shows his mic mastery.
Head Crack is an exceptional project, pairing one of the best emcees with one of the best beatmakers in the game. Even if you don’t gamble, Head Crack is a sure thing bet, so put your money on Rome Streetz and Futurewave in 2019.
Cop Head Crack available March 1st here: