Roc Marciano – Reloaded Album Review
Monday November 12th 2012,
Filed under: Albums,Marcberg Season,Reviews
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Two years after Marcberg, and Roc Marciano has been commissioned for more guest spots than I can keep track of, remarkably without playing himself out. Reloaded offers everything that Roc’s debut brought to the table – stream-of-consciousness rhyme flow, an abundance of food references, minimal guests and a unique beat science – but with a crispy new sheen.

‘Tek To A Mek’ opens proceedings, and is easily one of his finest tracks to date. Non-chalant, Iceberg Slim delivery over a dusted symphony of noise (with only the slightest hint of percussion) ushers us into the next chapter of the Marcberg story. The three ALC contributions, slot-in with the sound of Roc’s own beats flawlessly, with the thumping ‘Pistolier’ providing the stand-out. ‘Thugs Prayer Pt. 2’ is a welcome return to one of Marcberg‘s highlights, while Q-Tip‘s ‘Thread Count’ is nothing short of under-stated class, and Ray West‘s ‘Nine Spray’ is pure Metal Clergy greatness as KA and Roc combine minds over an immaculate loop. The only musical misstep is found on ’20 Guns’ – the soft-porn saxaphone spoils an otherwise effective loop.

Where his debut was focused and subtle, the follow-up feels ambitious and expansive, as those goin’ back to Cali trips have clearly matured Roc’s musical palette beyond his Strong Island roots. As evidenced by the seemingly limitless leaks that weren’t included on this project, Marciano’s got a lot more murderous material to unleash speech over, so this platter should serve to whet the appetite for forthcoming Arch Druids and Metal Clergy projects. Reloaded showcases one of the best rapper’s in the game at the peak of his abilities. As Marc reminds us on ‘Nine Spray’: ‘You repair – I replace shit.’

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25 Comments so far
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Robbie, you are on it early today, for us over the water anyway. This album is bananas, soft drums and all. Can you chart who first came up with that technique? I know that Pete Rock was doing that on some joints a few years ago, now it’s all over the place. Only works if the loop is a compelling head-nodder.

Comment by Fosterakahunter 11.12.12 @

Evrything that I’ve heard that didn’t make the album will smash some of these dudes’ catalogs. Just heard a new joint on ego trip dude did with Just Blaze, “Stop Me”. Ill…

Comment by oskaamdison 11.12.12 @

dude is ill, very very ill, his wordplay and storytelling its just sick but i miss hard hitting drums :c

Comment by emilio buendia 11.12.12 @

It was madlib, albums like madvillian, rhinestone cowboy for eg, then dilla truncated his drums on donuts till they weren’t very present, but it’s noticeable on a few joints on the nas album too,I put it down to ppl getting older not necassarily wanting thumping drums all the time.

Also the drums weren’t very big on alot of marcberg either so it’s not like roc Marcy is jumping on a bandwagon.

What I don’t understand is how producers can be happy with just looping something when they have come from using more advanced techniques. Must be pretty boring and I’d be asking for a discount.

Comment by Gx 11.12.12 @

That spot in the pic does the madest roast beef!

Comment by Pete Pablo 11.12.12 @

Whats beef?

Comment by gx 11.12.12 @

I dont know Robbie..I caught snippets of the album and i must say i was very underwhelmed by it, esp. Roc Marci produced joints..i was expecting better i guess..the 3 joints i do like are Tek to Mak, Pistolier and Emeralds

Comment by lou 11.12.12 @

@lou: It needs to be listened to from start to finish to fully appreciate it. It makes a lot more sense as a whole package.

Comment by Robbie 11.12.12 @

I was underwhelmed by the production myself. Especially, since ALC & Q Tip were involved. I didn’t feel they added anything that Roc couldn’t do himself, and judging by his other self-produced material, could probably do better in the sense of finding samples that fit his style.

I was also underwhelmed by the often too boring sample choices, and the fact that most of it was just straight up loops with the odd wack synth flourish just to give a little extra texture.

I thought Marcberg was a much a better album. He also seemed hungrier as an MC on that album. On this he lost a bit of edge.

All in all this came off as a mixtape rather than an actual album to me.

After listening to this and to Ka’s albums, with all of just the straight looping going on, Im wondering if these albums are just below radar to worry about sample clearances and whatnot, or if they are paying an arm and a leg to get all that cleared.

Comment by TumbleWEED 11.12.12 @

The album was dope and raw as hell, I like it a lot. This notion that somehow there is an epidemic of drum-less beats permeating underground hip hop is over blown. Who else is doing this style of production besides Madlib, Alchemist and Roc Marciano? And by the way, Alchemist has these types of beats throughout his catalog, not just since Russian Roulette. You guys want drum? Plenty of albums and songs out there with them: anything produced by 9th Wonder, the Snowgoons, Apollo Brown, DJ Premier, Statik Selecta, Vanderslice, Stu Bangas, Khrysis, Marco Polo, etc. And honestly, I’m not really feeling anything the aforementioned producers make anymore or at all. But I’m always checking for anything produced by Madlib, the Alchemist and Roc Marciano, because I know I’m going to get that raw sound I like that they provide.

Comment by esto 11.13.12 @

The “soft drums” phenomenon that we hear now, if I’m not mistaken, can be traced back to Kanye’s 808’s And Heartbreak and popularized by Drake and 40’s work together. Although, I lean more towards hard drums, in the end it’s all about whether the song is dope or not. As far as looping goes, as someone who makes beats, I feel if you come across a sample that has all the elements that you need and has that feeling that you’re looking for as is, why bother doing any unnecessary chopping? Rock with it as is. Chopping is cool if it’s a familiar sample and you want to do something different or you can’t get a srtaight loop of a sample. Some producers get so caught up in tryin’ to show off their wizardry that they often lose the essence of the sample in the first place. The key is knowing when (and for who) to use either technique. As far as Marc goes, dude inspires cats like me, bars and beats. If Reloaded is anything near Marcberg, it’s a banger.

Comment by oskamadison 11.13.12 @

I’m in my bboystance; playing this jawn front/back trying to get off these black market paintings from Sth Africa; relaxin with exiled Victoria Secret models and the Austrailian ‘RUNAWAY’ tour ballerinas. And they all totin iron in their garters.

Comment by bboycult 11.13.12 @

Loving this album. Been on repeat since i got it. The difference between the aura of this album and “Marcberg” is like the difference between Bishop in “Juice” and Sonny in “A Bronx tale”. Different levels of gangster shit, but at the end of the day both cats would be down to body something.

The production is crazy. The loops match the vibe of the lyrics and Marciano also steps up his orchestration game with his beats. Stuff like “Thugs prayer part 2” was crazy cause the whole “Throw mad sequences in there till it pops” approach to the beat is the same exact thing i did on “Buggin out part 0” on the Plexiglass Fountain album ( plus big shout out to “Plantation Rhymes” by Bigg Juss for that beat technique too ) The whole soft drums thing is too old of a technique to really trip about. RZA BEEN doing that on tracks like “97 mentality” and “Hollow Bones” Although there was no track that had the thumping nature of “Pop” from “Marcberg” these loops were so spine tingling it didn’t really matter. ALC did the damn thing ( as usual ) but it felt great to hear a new banger from Q-tip.

Plus lyrically the album is crazy full of those crazy ill details in the picture. Feels like more of a movie than an album. CRAZY.

Comment by Tokyo Cigar 11.13.12 @

@tokyo cigar: thats his genius. dude, knows how to imbue his music with a vibe.

Comment by rich 11.14.12 @

i’m a fan and bought both albums but one thing that bothers me more than the lack of drums is the rhyme schemes on reloaded. its like hes just putting together words that rhyme instead of telling a story or making a point like for example.

I’m like Clooney, in ghetto jewelry
Hold a Uzi, the stone I threw you was a Ruby
I move smoothly
Roll a doobie in the jacuzzi, after the movie
She asked to do me, I replied absolutely

Comment by JP 11.14.12 @

Music to smash to. If you don’t think so you aint doin’ sumthin right.

Comment by A'Peks 11.14.12 @


Comment by A'Peks 11.14.12 @

@jp that’s how he raps and thier good lyrics.

Comment by Gx 11.14.12 @

@Rich Word up. The whole album is very hypnotic.

Comment by Tokyo Cigar 11.14.12 @

I gotta get this.. damn shame you can’t even buy rap cds in NYC anymore..

Comment by LEX 11.15.12 @

^^Try Rock n Soul up on 36th and 7th,they still carry cd’s and shit too

Comment by lou 11.15.12 @

Dope Album. Gives me the same feeling as his previous album. But I would like some more drums added as well as overall production. If this is where production is going than anyone can take some loops and call themselves a producer.

Comment by realbostonnative 11.16.12 @

Great mellow rap. Yes, the drums are low in the mix. Works for me. though. It’s cinematic.

Comment by Eric Nord 11.16.12 @

This is a masterpiece.

From start to finish, shit is like a hypnotic movie.

Can’t fault it.

Comment by AFFEX 11.17.12 @

Review is spot on, this shit is refined and well thought out. It works really well as an album from start to finish.
Deeper, Tek to a mak, Flash Gordon, Thread Count and the man are my personal favourites.

Comment by E9 11.20.12 @

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