Roc Marciano may not strike you as a must-listen, but it’s hard to ignore that he comes with critical acclaim, especially in the New York area. From his days in the Flipmode Squad (alongside Busta Rhymes and company) to his current situation with Decon Records, he’s traveled a long road to even arrive to this point. With his latest album, Roc continues his street narrative and stream-of-conscious like delivery over smooth, laid back instrumentals with Reloaded, and although on paper it seems like a good thing, the execution at times becomes a little monotonous.
It has to be noted that Roc Marciano’s extremely talented, as he handles the bulk of the production here as well as, of course, the rapping. His production goes almost hand-in-and with the other production featured from Q-Tip, Alchemist, Ray West, and others, and that’s impressive in its own right; there’s a few people who can actually make that claim, especially within the flow of an album. With that being said, almost every beat here has the same vibe, and ultimately, that becomes the make-or-break point of the LP when coupled with Marciano’s rap style.
It isn’t too far-fetched to compare Roc’s flow to Curren$y; they both have that aforementioned stream-of-consciousness flow, and they both at times can slip into a monotone cadence that makes it hard to listen to them for extended periods. The difference is that although Curren$y has a serious ear for beats, Roc chooses to keep it NY through and through, relying on sample-heavy melodies to rhyme over that may or may not be constructed with the typical kicks and snares that most are used to. Whether or not that’s a flaw is completely in the ear of the beholder, but at times tracks did seem to blend together, and not exactly in the transitional way.
At the end of the day, it’s still a solid project from Roc Marciano, but the combination of his cadence and his beat selection may be what makes a few listeners choose to skip this one as opposed to playing it. For those that stay, they’ll be greeted with an album light on features, but heavy on clever lines and slick wordplay. For some, that’s all they’ll need to rock with Roc… no pun intended.