Roc Marciano is a 42-year-old rapper from New York. After bouncing around various groups in the 90s and 2000s, he would find his footing in the 2010s with the successes of cult classic projects like Marcberg and The Pimpire Strikes Back. This November, he released his eighth studio album, Mt. Marci. With features from ScHoolboy Q, Kool Keith, and Action Bronson, will Roc Marciano’s newest LP become his best?
While thematically, the records not much different than its predecessor, Marcielago, the aura around the LP is certainly more elegant than the veteran MC’s usual standards. Whether he’s flexing his riches on “Downtown ’81” or reminiscing of his crime-ridden days on “Garbage Pal Kids”, each word spewed out of Marci’s mouth is polished and refined. While his silky smooth delivery and raspy voice help sell this, what truly sets him apart is Roc’s one of a kind rapping style. When it comes to the average MC in his weight class, they tend to structure conventional 16 to 20 bar verses that build on each other and cover a continual story or idea. For Roc Marci, he cuts his lines into detailed fragments, spicing them up with a slew of clever one-liners and quotables. This is highlighted on the moments “Butterfly Effect”, “Steel Vagina”, and “Pimps Don’t Wear Rabbits”, which stories all focus on the finer side of life. Stealing the show, “Wheat 40’s” is the pinnacle of the gangsta rap titan’s flagship style as the vivid poem he’s reciting carefully adds layers to the story of his cultural impact. Throwing in some additional flare to this body of work, TDE’s ScHoolboy Q and long time collaborator Stove God Cook$ bring the best out of Marci in their respective lyrical duels, “Covid Cough” and “The Eye of Whorus”. Still, these songs are just icing on the cake to the colossal “Spirit Cookin”, which features a standout verse from Action Bronson. Shifting the album, we see a lot more creative liberties taken once Roc links up with one of hip hop’s ultimate visionaries, Kool Keith, for “Broadway Billy”. While its following tracks, “Baby Powder”, “Trenchcoat Wars,” and “Crockett n Tubbs” are not mind-blowing by any standard, the slight change in tone in the former Flipmode Squad member’s charisma is interesting to unfold. Also birthing from this section is the extremely eerie “Wicked Days”, which is a true gem as Roc’s faster paced flow and spiteful songwriting makes for one of his most ambitious tracks in years. With another intuitive performance under his belt, Roc Marciano only further solidifies his place in the hip hop hall of fame.
Behind the boards, a well put together soundtrack gives the perfect backdrop to the visions Roc Marciano has put together. Like the tone and ambiance set up by its vocal counterpart, most of the instrumentals feel very expensive and fine-tuned. Whether it’s the orchestral opening on “Intro Allegories” or guitar riff on “Pimps Don’t Wear Rabbits”, there’s so many touches that make the record feel like his finest sounding in nearly half a decade. Relying on minimalism, most of the beats only utilize on a few looped sounds, but this formula’s remained successful for Marci, and here it’s certainly no different. From the vibrancy of “Butterfly Effect” to the translucence of “Broadway Billy”, these simply drawn up soundscapes remain highly effective for the most part. While the previously stated qualities undoubtedly get the job done, the most intriguing production component comes from the projects minor detailing. The knife cutting in the background of “Spirit Cookin”, the lightsaber like sounds deep in the darkness of Wicked Days” and the full-fledged piano solo on “Steel Vagina”, top the short but notable list of the tone changing factors within each track. As its only real gripes come from its lack of diversity, Mt. Marci’s self-arranged sonic side further glorifies Roc Marciano’s artistic capabilities.
In conclusion, Mt. Marci is indeed an above-average hip-hop record that adds another strong piece in the ever-growing catalog of Roc Marciano. Roc’s performance is one of the more technically fond showings all year, and with the score derived out of his own mind, the underground moguls able to ensure his visions proper care. Even though it’s lyrically and sonically proficient, the project is still held back from true remarkableness due to its lack of creativity. At this point in Roc Marciano’s career, he’s still more than capable as a creator, but if he ever wants to reach the level of greatness he was at in the early 2010s, he will need to once again think out of the box.
- Technical proficiency is top tier
- Roc Marciano’s delivery and charisma is fantastic
- Great features
- Solid production
- Lacks creativity
- Feels similar to previous records in his discography
Written by: Marc Dator
Scored and edited by: Marc Dator founder and owner of Fantastic Hip Hop