FREEMUSICEMPIRE MVP OF 2018 IS ROC MARCIANO
I was sitting with a table of people I respect. All involved are my age within five years. We were talking about music this year and they launched into how great Eminem is and his beef with MGK. It was difficult to find the words to explain why Eminem is not, in fact, great anymore. Why someone less lyrical like Kodie Shane is a better emcee. He is technically great, no one knows more words and can blow out a show stopping 16 like Em but that’s not what makes a great rapper.
An artist is responsible for not just great brushstrokes but vision. The artist masterminds the color scheme the physical position of characters the looks on their faces. The artist is in charge of what all of that means and adds up to. So what is the sum total of those songs? What do any of his last few albums mean… in Shady’s case very little. Roc Marciano is a study in the opposite direction.
Our newly crowned FME MVP of 2018 released three albums this year. Each handled with a curators eye; three albums with a total of 36 songs which averages to 12 songs per album. Each one shading his story a different hue, taking a step further in creating a full landscape while maintaining a two fisted approach to punch lines that would have made prized pugilist Rocky Marciano proud. Once the landscape was built the album was over and the promise of another was only a few months away. The process is a much better one than the massive data dump of artists like Post Malone/Fetty Wop where the album never ends and doesn’t really feel like it began.
I am the first one to admit I don’t have an objective view of the scene Roc exists in. My favorite lyricist in the world of rap is Ka who is Roc’s right hand man. I still remember Roc’s voice escalating when Combat Jack (R.I.P. the podcast god) told him he didn’t really get Ka. He was passionate about how dope Ka is about as passionate as I am in selling Ka to those around me who have not heard him. I think of Ka as the only emcee Roc views as adequate competition and seeks to surpass. This year he did it.
His resume: blew Busta Rhymes off a track, did multiple songs with Black Thought and held his own, impressed Royce Da 5’9 so much with his feature that he drew very specific praise from him on social media. Royce talked about his ability to use space, letting the track breathe for a few beats only to swagger back in. In boxing terms Royce has incredible hand speed he never stops throwing meaningful shots. Roc is Sugar Ray Robinson with all-time powerful lines but he comes in close unloads in combinations and gets out; he has a rhythm that keeps you off your toes at all times. That isn’t just flow it’s release schedule pricing and merchandise. You never what is coming from Roc. In 2018 great artists wanted to be on songs to see how real this was in their presence.
Attached to this review will be my list of the 38 flyest things Roc said in 2018 (You will notice songs having multiple entries that is not me being weird Roc is a damn beast). The #1 entry is from the song Wild Oats (off of the collaboration album Kaos he did with the great DJ Muggs) and I think it explains in two sentences the central meaning of his year. “I used to think School was for chumps. Now I’m in Bermuda by the pool with the trunks, books by the bunch, just to think I was a crook once.” Roc Marciano’s process has been a long form explanation of the things he has gone through that lots of his peers didn’t of the bitter determination he uses to overcome adversity but also of the beaming gratitude underneath that bitterness. As the sun shines on his face and he runs his hand over the hardcover of a book he’s reading. It is the gratitude that makes him want to dig for the wildest turn of phrase to boast that growth in his next rhyme. This isn’t a chain or watch brag it’s the maturation of someone who could have been dead or unknown by now. 2018 was Roc Marciano’s best year and for his audience it was a gift. The secret of it all is that he sees it the same way.
38 Fly things Roc Marciano said in 2018
- “I used to think School was for chumps. Now I’m in Bermuda by the pool with the trunks, books by the bunch, just to think I was a crook once.”—Wild Oats
- “I’m like Huey Newton sitting in the king’s wicker chair with the pistol near. My face is chiseled into silverware with care.”—-Amethyst
- “My B__ like Tracy Ellis Ross, don’t ever sell yourself short.” —Dolph Lundgren
- “Don’t be a dick you know I’m sensitive. Don’t let me catch you talkin’ shit about my mamma biscuits bitch!” —-The Sauce
- “Why you sweatin’ me then and questionin’ who I’m in bed with? For the record, your breathe stink.”—-The Sauce
- “Might need a hot air balloon to get a real view of my hairdo.” —-Aunt Bonnie
- “Shit I ain’t playin’. I sit down and eat at P.F. Chang’s then leave without payin’.” —-Consigliere
- “Who else since Prince can fit my Trench?”—White Dirt
- “The Mercedes ain’t rented. B— I was saving up to get it.” —-CVS
- “I rap with my nose up with my tux and my glass of mimosa ‘oh you think you know so much’” —Kill You (laughs afterward)
- “Watching Harlem Nights on Chartered flights.”—White Dirt
- “My shining bright might turn the night into day. I’m a Viking I might bite your face.”—Bohemian Grove
- “You n_’s just follow we changed the business model.”—-White Dirt
- “Fox fur on my evening coat. I gave these heathens hope.” —Respected
- “I prefer shrimp and lobster, my posture like Kevin Costner…”—Wormhole
- “You came when the culture was dead. I shocked the game so it rose from the bed. Frankenstein with the bolts in his neck.” —CVS
- “My shine still flow from behind a blindfold.”—Shit I’m On
- “I was clean when Max B was singing off key.” —-The Sauce
- “Every half a bar is worth a Jaguar.” —Aunt Bonnie
- “I blast the chrome all you see is ass and elbows.” —Bohemian Grove
- “I leave ya pockets with Bugs Bunny ears.”—Happy Endings
- “I’m with that white girl I’m in that sunken place.” —Bohemian Grove
- “If I was you and mad at me I would be too. “—Sampson & Delilah
- “The Bentley mint green I need a pinky ring.” —Rolls Royce Rug
- “Life is a jungle not a jungle gym.”—Wild Oats
- “You was never sturdy a little birdy told me this. I said you can’t compare goldfish to Moby Dick.”—The Sauce
- “…speak for the voiceless. I spent last weekend eating with lawyers the cheese ain’t good enough reason to be exploited.” —-Sampson & Delilah
- “Always had a scheme to get by in the crème Fila.” —-Amethyst
- “My tall thing like Lena Horne in a leotard.” —Wild Oats
- “All my shit is tailored all your shit is whatever.” —Dolph Lundgren
- “Lookin’ self-absorbed in the Porsche, Fire lines they thought I wrote these lines with a welding torch.”—Wild Oats
- “They gentrified the game, that’s when the god came.” —Aunt Bonnie
- “You see my neck we could never be neck and neck.” —Wormhole
- “No matter the platform the ho’s gon’ clap for ’em.” —Rolls Royce Rugs
- “Listen Sugar Tits, just choose a pimp.”—Wormhole
- “…but still this shit is not by force it’s by choice.” —Rolls Royce Rugs
- “For what a Phantom costs I’ll blam at your thoughts.” —Shit I’m On
- “Prior to my first release they said the East was done.” —Kill You