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30 November, 2012@1:38 pm

Roc Marciano has experienced somewhat of a second childhood in hip-hop, first debuting as member of Busta Rhymes’ fledgling Flipmode Squad, after the departure of Lord Have Mercy. He later teamed with Pete Rock on his Petestrumentals Beat Generation project, acting as one of the only voices on the largely instrumental LP. He finally released his debut album, Marcberg in 2010, to great critical acclaim. The plan for it’s follow-up was originally to be a remixed version of the debut, titled Marcberg Reloaded, but that idea was scrapped for a new LP, simply titled Reloaded.

First and foremost, Roc Marciano is an acquired taste. His unorthodox style finds him picking super-chilled out beats, while rhyming over them with a screwfaced, freestyle type of delivery. The tone on Reloaded is much like that of Marcberg; mellow production that invokes the freezing cold of the streets of New York, as Roc rhymes from the perspective of a 1970′s, Taxi Driver villain. Largely produced by Roc and Alchemist, the duo’s production compliments each other, sounding like the work of a lone producer. Even Q-Tip’s more jazzy “Thread Count” fits in perfectly with the rest of the LP.

Like Pete Rock or J. Dilla before him, Roc Marciano is quite a risk-taker in terms of production, transforming strange source material of “76″ and “Nine Spray” into brooding beats, or taking smoother soul samples and turning them into uncomfortably off-kilter selections (“Death Parade”, “Peru”). Al’s contributions (“Flash Gordon”, “Pistolier”, “Deeper”) are almost like an added bonus, as Roc’s self-production steals the show.

Reloaded is almost like the Donuts of grimy New York street LP’s, as Roc has built an experimental album, with a clear, definitive sound and vision. Unlike an entire generation of rappers, Roc forgoes a heavy guest list or team of “hot” producers; he simply makes the music exactly how he wants it to sound, and the end result is one of the most original LP’s of the year. Make no mistake, this is not for everyone. Roc’s music is a completely original take on the boom-bap formula, almost like as if Jeru took his music deeper underground (if you can imagine that). It’s brooding, downer music, unsuitable for Friday nights or even Wednesday rush hour. This is late night, smoke-filled basement rap, and for those that can feel it, it feels real good.

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7 Responses to "Roc Marciano – “Reloaded” – @@@@ (Review)"
  • The man the myth says:

    This a pretty spot on review. I would probably give this album a 8 out of 10. Roc is a dope mc and there is a lot to like about this album. The only drawback is that the production just lacks a certain punch(mainly lack of hitting drums) to it to take it to the next level. About half way through this album, it does tend get a little boring, but roc is an entertaining enough mc to keep it a solid solid effort. Some cats are calling this a classic. I can’t do that, but it is very good.

  • itlnstln says:

    Roc always sounded a little out of place on more traditional and upbeat instrumentals as part of Flipmode and the UN (Mic Raw and Laku held UNM down; Dino Brave just wasn’t doing it for me). I think this album really shows off his skills in the right light.

    I’ve been playing this album quite a bit. While I don’t think it’s quite “classic” material; the beats are dope, the rhymes are hard, and this a very solid album with Roc really hitting his stride.

  • Model Citizen says:

    I can’t stop bumping this shit, quite possibly the best record of the year. @the man the myth, for me the lack of hard hitting drum is what takes this record to the next level. It gives the record an eerie atmospheric vibe and as Pizzo accurately described, it’s a completely different take on boom bap hip hop. It took me a while to get into Marciano initially, I slept on “Marcberg” for a while but he was already winning over before this dropped. I’m pretty mesmerized by this record, “classic” doesn’t sound to far off.

  • Dayz says:

    Review is spot on. I have read all kinds of hate on this LP and on one hand I can understand to a degree cause this record is not for everyone, it is for a very niche market of Hip Hop. Yeah I wouldn’t bump this in the car or party atmosphere but it sounds so incredible in my basement office, the lights down and some smoke in the air and a drink in hand. This LP has that crazy visual effect and slow head nod with your eyes closed vibe much like Liquid Swords. If you dig that kind of music then you will love this LP but if you were looking for uppity hype bangers then you will be disappointed. Open your ears and give different a chance. Not all to sound the same. This LP works perfectly for what it is intended for.

  • Chad says:

    Pizzo is the only reviewer I’ve read on this site that seems to understand what he’s listening to.

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