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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