Roc Marciano Reloaded

Roc MarcianoReloaded
NYC's Roc Marciano follows up his 2010 critically celebrated solo debut, Marcberg, with a sequel nonpareil in its originality and craftsmanship. Marciano produces nine out of the 15 tracks, weaving through a precise arrangement of piano, guitar and gangster samples. "Tek To A Mack" leads with crescendoing strings over subdued drums; Marciano begins each rhyme above the surface of the beat, only to submerge himself, muffling sound and dropping ironic jewels where the punch line should be. Skip a track and there's "Pistolier." The Alchemist runs Marciano through a lyrical VO2 max — you know, that line drill from high school? A sound that reminds casual listeners of a flat line and purists of the RZA's beat for Ghostface's "Child's Play" runs through the song, marking the spot where Marciano should drop each cadence; he sounds kind of like Lloyd Banks here. "Thug's Prayer Pt. 2" follows and attaches a powerful, organ-laden soundtrack to Marciano's (possibly) fictional rise from crime lord to rap star — after his partner dies. The song proves two things: Marciano is a master at fixing up words with emotions and wedding them through music, and that he tweets only truth. On November fifth, he advised, "write rhymes and watch The Godfather." Judging by his lyrical content, he's speaking from experience. "We III" and "Deeper" make up the bulk of the remainder of the album. The former is an instant classic — pounding piano matched with MP80 and wailing vocals — while the latter spreads out a beat by the Alchemist that's a masterpiece unto itself. After gradually building underground anticipation, yet steering clear of the Twitter-assisted hype machine of trend rap, Marciano delivers a humbling exhibit of spoken poetry knitted to orchestral magic, mixed and beautified by Q-Tip himself. (Decon)