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FREEMUSICEMPIRE MVP OF 2018 IS ROC MARCIANO

 

FREEMUSICEMPIRE MVP OF 2018 IS ROC MARCIANO

by Dan-O

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

  1. “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
  2. “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
  3. “My B__ like Tracy Ellis Ross, don’t ever sell yourself short.” —Dolph Lundgren
  4. “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
  5. “Why you sweatin’ me then and questionin’ who I’m in bed with? For the record, your breathe stink.”—-The Sauce
  6. “Might need a hot air balloon to get a real view of my hairdo.” —-Aunt Bonnie
  7. “Shit I ain’t playin’. I sit down and eat at P.F. Chang’s then leave without payin’.” —-Consigliere
  8. “Who else since Prince can fit my Trench?”—White Dirt
  9. “The Mercedes ain’t rented. B— I was saving up to get it.” —-CVS
  10. “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)
  11. “Watching Harlem Nights on Chartered flights.”—White Dirt
  12. “My shining bright might turn the night into day. I’m a Viking I might bite your face.”—Bohemian Grove
  13. “You n_’s just follow we changed the business model.”—-White Dirt
  14. “Fox fur on my evening coat. I gave these heathens hope.” —Respected
  15. “I prefer shrimp and lobster, my posture like Kevin Costner…”—Wormhole
  16. “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
  17. “My shine still flow from behind a blindfold.”—Shit I’m On
  18. “I was clean when Max B was singing off key.” —-The Sauce
  19. “Every half a bar is worth a Jaguar.” —Aunt Bonnie
  20. “I blast the chrome all you see is ass and elbows.” —Bohemian Grove
  21. “I leave ya pockets with Bugs Bunny ears.”—Happy Endings
  22. “I’m with that white girl I’m in that sunken place.” —Bohemian Grove
  23. “If I was you and mad at me I would be too. “—Sampson & Delilah
  24. “The Bentley mint green I need a pinky ring.” —Rolls Royce Rug
  25. “Life is a jungle not a jungle gym.”—Wild Oats
  26. “You was never sturdy a little birdy told me this. I said you can’t compare goldfish to Moby Dick.”—The Sauce
  27. “…speak for the voiceless. I spent last weekend eating with lawyers the cheese ain’t good enough reason to be exploited.” —-Sampson & Delilah
  28. “Always had a scheme to get by in the crème Fila.” —-Amethyst
  29. “My tall thing like Lena Horne in a leotard.” —Wild Oats
  30. “All my shit is tailored all your shit is whatever.” —Dolph Lundgren
  31. “Lookin’ self-absorbed in the Porsche, Fire lines they thought I wrote these lines with a welding torch.”—Wild Oats
  32. “They gentrified the game, that’s when the god came.” —Aunt Bonnie
  33. “You see my neck we could never be neck and neck.” —Wormhole
  34. “No matter the platform the ho’s gon’ clap for ’em.” —Rolls Royce Rugs
  35. “Listen Sugar Tits, just choose a pimp.”—Wormhole
  36. “…but still this shit is not by force it’s by choice.” —Rolls Royce Rugs
  37. “For what a Phantom costs I’ll blam at your thoughts.” —Shit I’m On
  38. “Prior to my first release they said the East was done.” —Kill You
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Mixtape Review-Surf by Donnie Trumpet and The Social Experiment

Mixtape Review-Surf by Donnie Trumpet and The Social Experiment

by Dan-O

As massive and overwhelming as Surf felt on the first listen, the more I come back the bigger it feels. I find myself listening to songs I’ve heard lots of times and grunting in awe at how sharply and warmly resonant each moment is.

The narrative you’ve heard is correct. Chance the Rapper is a top talent in hip hop and he allowed himself to be an element of the music on Surf. He pops in not to drop lazy bars but with lines that blow you back, things you wish you’d written and could take credit for(like everything Chance says on Warm Enough). Chance gives the best of his work to a project not primarily his and it makes you like him a lot more. It’s the top actor who takes a smaller part to be in the best movie. After it’s over you’re left thanking the actor in your head for having the foresight to not pull a Denzel (sorry Denzel but you ball in isolation on some bad movies). Surf is great for Chance’s brand.  I cannot picture Drake or Kanye just sitting to the side bobbing their heads and waiting patiently for their song. For Chance it’s about the music being good first.

The narrative you haven’t heard is Donnie Trumpet didn’t come out of nowhere. Him and the drummer on Surf (Greg “Stix” Lanfair) were from the Chicago hip hop band Kids These Days and Kids These Days were awesome! Trumpet dominates Surf and as chaotic as Kids These Days could be the sonic temperament of Surf is bound to the loving blasts of the trumpet. It’s everywhere from Nothing Came To Me to Windows and Something Came to Me. The musical experience is a hard shot of cheerfulness that can only be given by the trumpet and everyone wants in. Big Sean raps next to Kyle, B.O.B. raps next to Busta Rhymes, Erykah Badu comes out of nowhere and it ends up cohesive. Publications have written articles explaining all the guests and what order they come in. It’s dizzying, the amount of talent on display. Everyone’s voice, no matter who it is, comes out of that trumpet. Keep in mind that large portions of it are just local Chicago kids every bit as talented as the major players. If you didn’t know any of these dudes maybe you need to type “Traphouse Rock download” into your search engine and dig in.

From the outrageous party of Slip Slide to the your-grandmother-will-dance- to-this Sunday Candy the whole project feels like a generational flag planted in music. We are talking about J. Cole, Big Sean, Chance, B.O.B., Noname Gypsy, Janelle Monae, Raury all jumping on this project and giving their best to it. No generation of hip hop previous would have come together like this (sorry but Scott La Rock had to get killed for Self-Destruction to happen). It speaks well of rap music now that so many not only answered the call but were excited to be there, not picking away at other peoples time to get more or questioning who this Donnie Trumpet kid is…they all just created this massive work everyone fits into. I have no idea if Surf is the best thing to come out this year but it’s definitely the most important, the one we will be talking about years from now; the perfect summer music. The kind of mixtape you can press play on whenever you’re sad and end up with a smile.

Stream or download Surf below:

http://www.datpiff.com/Donnie-Trumpet-The-Social-Experiment-Surf-mixtape.712394.html