Roc Marciano: Marciology Album Evaluation


On September 3, 2021, Montreal producer Nicholas Craven set a selected nook of Rap Twitter on fireplace. Drake had launched Licensed Lover Boy that day, a largely forgettable assortment save for its opener, “Champagne Poetry.” As a substitute of the tinny, trap-adjacent drums he usually favored, an unadorned, syncopated upright bass supplied the rhythmic spine of the monitor’s first half. It switched to a soul loop within the second, the low finish barely enhanced to maintain the heart beat intact. The lyrics had been typical Drake fare, however he was in his technician bag, flirting with complicated rhyme schemes. He’d carry them for a number of bars at a time, solely to drag them aside rigorously, as if curious how they match collectively within the first place. This all sounded very acquainted to a sure subsection of rap followers, together with Craven, who tweeted, “Roc Marciano is the direct cause ‘Champagne Poetry’ exists.”

In case you scan by Reddit threads, YouTube feedback, and tenth-anniversary retrospectives, you’ll discover unfastened consensus that Marcberg, Marci’s 2010 solo debut, laid the groundwork for a lot of right now’s rap underground. By the late aughts, focus had shifted away from the gritty Golden Period New York sound in favor of animated Atlanta lure and humid Texas funk. Opposite to the zeitgeist, Marcberg traded in frayed, ashen sonics, referencing and updating the grim winter menace of East Coast classics like Mobb Deep’s Hell on Earth and Huge L’s Lifestylez ov da Poor & Harmful.

The Lengthy Island rapper-producer’s dusty, claustrophobic sound owed lots to ’90s forebears just like the RZA and 4th Disciple, nevertheless it felt extra thoughtfully fashionable than hole throwback. Marci slowed tempos to a crawl and stripped his samples of something superfluous—typically forgoing drums altogether—and rapped in gravelly, menacing monotone. Arguably, teams like Griselda and the Umbrella Collective, or scenes just like the Lynn, Massachusetts universe surrounding Estee Nack and al.divino, wouldn’t exist with out the diligent examine of his catalog. To listen to Marci’s minimalism mimicked by the most important rapper on this planet, a person identified for echoing improvements by these ranges beneath, meant Marci had transcended. His newest album, Marciology, is probably the most overt recognition of his dwelling legend standing. The title casts it as a textual content to pour over: That is Roc Marciano the inimitable auteur, nonetheless discovering methods to tweak what he’s already perfected.

As a producer, Marci wields minor-key loops like a hypnotist’s pocket watch, intensifying the trancelike groove with every repetition. Marciology options a few of his outright trippiest work, sounding ripped from the soundtracks of obscure European heist movies. Marci’s clearly impressed by the opulent spaciousness The Alchemist equipped for his or her 2022 collaboration, The Elephant Man’s Bones, however intent on deepening the mushroomy experimentation of 2020’s Mt. Marci. He helms ten of the album’s 14 tracks, crafting an unsettling psychedelic ambiance; all the things feels as off-kilter as a salvia breakthrough, recognizably a part of Marci’s palette, however decisively weirder.


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