Review: Ransom & Rome Streetz, ‘Coup de Grace’

Two of hip-hop’s most vicious and hardworking emcees verify the resurgence of street rap in its most unfiltered form.

The year 2021 has been a fulfilling one for Jersey City legend, Ransom, and New York underdog, Rome Streetz. Whether it was working with the most important producers in the underground hip-hop scene or taking part in the genre’s most ambitious movements (Griselda, TCF), emcees Ransom & Rome Streetz have both remained consistent throughout the year. Though the two have their respective solo careers, the pair of spitters have steadily constructed a relationship over the past year, simultaneously appearing on each other’s projects as features.

From the lyrical exchanges to the overall structure, Coup de Grace marks all checkboxes for what makes a successful collaboration project.

Coup de Grace achieves a great balance of providing a fulfilling amount of content while not over-welcoming its stay. The project accommodates a 37-minute run time, giving the listeners the best versions of Ransom and Rome Streetz within 11 tracks. From front to back, the album holds a cohesively dangerous atmosphere, serving as the ideal template that perfectly suites the different styles of both rappers.

Not too many guest appearances made the cut except for four emcees that are featured throughout the album. In a surprising move, Ransom & Rome Streetz recruited Compton’s very own flag bearer, The Game, on the lead single, “Pray for the Weak”. For the other three contributors, the duo kept things in house and featured close collaborators to fill in the blanks. A major standout was TCF’s own, Che Noir, who assists in the eerie storytelling track, “Claudine”, detailing the tale of drug addict who went from “prom queen to dope queen”. Every feature delivered exceptional contributions, including the remaining two, Lou From Paradise and Tyrant, who amazingly anchored on the posse cut, “Bandoleros”.

Just as you would except from a Ransom & Rome Streetz collaboration, the lyricism on both ends is tight and menacing. The two have forged a great chemistry through previous joint tracks which flawlessly display how well the two work with one another, despite moving at different tempos. Ransom’s fast and menacing flow allows for tight and witty rhyme schemes, perfectly exhibited on the intro “No Remorse” where he spits: (“Eager to speak, but what you lack is force / You just flap your jaws / Would’ve shot you and left you back when I had remorse”).

While Ransom takes a swift approach to each track, Rome contrasts this energy with his paced and blunt manner. Though the New York emcee isn’t as rapid as his Jersey City collaborator, his steadily forceful style makes every line feel twice as stronger. Rome’s vigorous appeal is well versed, especially on the menacing cut, “Dark Love”, where he raps: (“Had to go through life and learn my lessons although shit was savage / Every skeleton in my closet, I got pics to match it”). The duo make an interesting pair as though they heavily differ in styles, yet perfectly match each other’s energy throughout the project.

The list of producers for this album is scattered, but each beat flows perfectly into the next which contributes to the cohesive structure of the project. An array of the underground’s most important producers all help build the gritty atmosphere of Coup de Grace. Tracks such as the lead single “Pray for the Weak” & the menacing “No Remorse” exhibit the diversity in production, jumping from triumphantly soulful beats to gloomy production. From V Don to Animoss to Nicholas Craven, the illustrious roster of beatsmiths – all of whom are pillars to the modern renaissance of underground hip-hop – assist in laying the soundtrack to the project.

Though the 2020s has seen a resurgence in street rap, the sub-genre has always remained in an obscure position since its prominence in the early 2000s. Often times, street rap is overlooked due to its unfiltered nature that distances it from the mainstream, and the straightforward punchlines that many underrate in comparison to the genre’s most complex lyricists. It’s just as Ransom stated in an interview earlier this year on the show, My Expert Opinion: “I have to be this good to do what I’m doing”, in regards to the gap between street rappers and compound wordsmiths.

What Ransom & Rome Streetz have done on Coup de Grace is bringing the sub-genre back to the forefront while pushing the boundaries of lyricism. This project contains many standout moments that exhibit how far the duo are raising the bar within street rap (and the underground in general). For example, the sinister storytelling track “Claudine” shows the two going back and forth with Che Noir while sticking to the narrative of the song, while the reflective cut “Rooftop Sermons” has the two detailing the repercussions that stem from the drug dealing lifestyle. Through these aspects we see that Coup de Grace is more than a reunion between two friends, but is a revival of street rap while expanding its horizons.

Ever since its announcement earlier this year, the collaborative project between rappers Ransom & Rome Streetz has become the most anticipated underground release of the year. Coup de Grace displays the two in their natural domain, slanging the dopest lyrics over menacing beats from the most elite producers in the game. This project is more than just any collaboration; it is the resurgence of street rap in its most unfiltered form, raising the bar for others trying to fit in the sub-genre.

8 / 10

Best tracks: “Claudine”, “Silent Murderers”, “Rooftop Sermons”, “Jet Fuel”, “Dark Love”