Roc 'C' and IMAKEMADBEATS Are... The Transcontinental

When he was signed to Stones Throw, Roc 'C' stood out from his labelmates with his gruff bark and street-orientated rhymes. Divorced of that context, he's just another street rapper without a distinctive mic presence. Guest spots by the likes of Prince Po of Organized Konfusion, Rapper Big Pooh, Chino XL and the formerly-MIA Mic Geronimo only serve to highlight the lackluster quality of Roc's rhymes. Weak hooks don't help matters. Fortunately IMAKEMADBEATS' production is excellent. The Brooklyn-based producer supplies tough, sample-heavy thump with a surprising amount of sonic diversity. Compare the butter-smooth soul on "By Any Means" to the skulking bass line of "Whisper Music," or the thick drums and pounding pianos of "The Warriors." Despite the quality of BEATS' instrumentals, the songs on The Transcontinental suffer from a lack of musical chemistry crucial for a good emcee/producer team. (E1 Music)