New York lyricist Rome Streetz is joined by Floridian producer Wavy da Ghawd for his 5th EP. Emerging in 2016 off his debut mixtape I Been Thru Mad Shit, this was followed up by a plethora of projects with the most notable being the Noise Kandy tetralogy & Headcrack. These past couple years however we’re probably his biggest ones 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. His debut with the Buffalo powerhouse Kiss the Ring came in at the #9 spot on my Best Albums of 2022 list & the Big Ghost Ltd.-produced Wasn’t Built in a Day ended up being a tad bit higher but coming off the 5th & final installment of the Noise Kandy series, Wavy is joining Rome for Buck 50.

The raw, 2-minute opener “Ball of Soft” boasts that he’s ballin’ like the league leader & that these rappers’ albums don’t amount to shit whereas “Runnin’ It Up” goes drumless talking about the fact that he’s been had the world in his fist. “Why is Water Wet?” goes for a smoother approach to the instrumental discussing a woman who says she never leaves him alone just before the dusty “Ya Understand” talks about no one being able to fuck with him. “‘92 Mike” is this luxurious boom bap cut going on a killin’ spree & the flute-infused “Saliva” ends the EP by doing what he had to do so cracks on the cash pursued.

The first 2 installments of the Noise Kandyseries were my favorite EPs in Rome Streetz’ catalog for the longest time, but I truly consider Buck 50 to be head & shoulders above those including Narco Lingo & The Residue. I think that Wavy da Ghawd’s production here is amongst the best of career being a bit more consistent than Noise Kandy 5’s was as much as I still enjoy that previous project & Rome’s style of lyricism fits Wavy’s whole sound generally.

Score: 9/10