Armand Hammer, ROME

Andre G

New York MCs billy woods and ELUCID collaborate as Armand Hammer on the ROME album, an unflinching project that showcases the two lyricists at their sharpest over torrential experimental production. From the outset the tone of the 14-track album is clear, with lines like woods’ hilarious “skimmed through your music, found no reason not to approve it/it was all relatively toothless, you’re just a guy” on the August Fanon-produced “Tread Lightly.”

That title must have been meant for other artists or the listeners, because the two went in full tilt over the adventurous soundscape, taking turns unleashing potent bars over dusty drums that harken to hip-hop’s so-called golden era. That said, the two aren’t fixated on their lyrical supremacy or threatening anything but the status quo, with labyrinthic, stream-of-consciousness rhymes that lead to stinging realizations like ELUCID’s stinging indictment that “it’s 2017 and Flint still ain’t got clean water” on “It Was Written.”

ROME is as much as a fiery whirlwind as the project’s artwork, a near-apocalyptic work full of eccentric, cerebral reflection on why the world is seemingly nearing that demise.

You can stream ROME below.

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