Roc Marciano Marcberg

Long Island, NY native Roc Marciano has been in the game for ages, dropping knowledge (on mostly other artists' work) with everyone from Pete Rock and Marco Polo to Busta Rhymes and the Flipmode Squad. To quote a bad analogy: "always the bridesmaid, never the bride." Well, after so many years of playing second fiddle to his partners in rhyme, Marciano steps up in a big way on his long-overdue debut album, Marcberg. Produced entirely by Marciano and featuring only one guest spot, the album is a cold, hard slab of minimalist, '90s era throwback rap. Roc spits vivid street reports over unique production, such as the eerie xylophone backdrop found on "Snow" and album opener "It's A Crime," which sounds like it could easily be an outtake from the Wu's 36 Chambers sessions. If you're looking to hear some gritty Golden era hip-hop that harkens back to the time when nothing but heat came out of NYC, then book your ticket to Marcberg right away. Just don't forget to pack your bulletproof vest. (Fat Beats)