In the day and age of viral TikTok videos making mute songs popular and sampled music making an overwhelming comeback, here lies Roc Marciano, a New York native rapper who grew up around rap in its potentially most prolific era.
The ’90s was a solid decade for encouraging black rappers and rappers alike, certainly those from the state of New York to be commercially successful. A then freshly faced 18 year old Marciano, joined his compadre Busta Rhymes to be a part of Flipmode Squad, a hip hop collective founded by Rhymes in the mid-90s.
As someone who derived from a group that hosted six members, it’s no surprise that Marciano has a long history of collaborations throughout his career. After releasing his debut album in 2010, Roc released an EP entitled Greneberg in 2011 collaborating with Gangrene. Shortly thereafter, he released his sophomore album Reloaded, which was received extremely well by critics.
The Elephant Man’s Name is Roc Marciano’s tenth studio album and The Alchemist and Marciano have come together to create musical hip-hop magic. On their collaborative album, they pair together Roc’s eloquent and smooth rhythmic technique with The Alchemists unique and ear grabbing production.
The project welcomes you with a slow mumble and intermittent speech of Marciano, followed with a delicate instrument lingering on in the background. There is a visceral aura of being planted right in New York watching the strong culture before your eyes.
The New York native’s album is a thin line between the rust and grit of 90s New York and the mellifluous and effortless flow of the rapper. The Alchemist provides yet again with a silky smooth and refined rhythm that is a rapper’s playground.
Nostalgia could quite possibly be one of the strongest emotions you feel when diving into this album. Music is one of the closest things we have to a time machine and these tracks are a wonderful example of that.
Music releases like this will be incredibly pleasing to the millennials, Generation X-ers and really anyone else who’s appreciate of raw, hip hop music.
Marciano lends his collaboration experience to fellow New York rapper Action Bronson, Ice-T and Boldy James. They come into the songs offering a wonderful contrast of voices, opinions and debates displayed through some spoken word by Ice-T and a large injection of hype and personality from rapper Action Bronson.
The flow, ethereal tech sounds from The Alchemist, mixed with what seems like the producers just having a ball makes for an eclectic sounding project. Using audio pieces from experts discussing their expertise about life and it’s complexities, you feel as though you’re in for an experience. It’s almost as if we’ve been invited to open a book of rhymes, literally.
The contrast of slow yet intense is a common theme throughout the album. As far as the lyrics, he has no problem using the intonation of certain words to piece together words you didn’t even know could rhyme. That’s the testament of a true rapper.
Roc Marciano and The Alchemist’s sweet collaboration can most definitely be added to the group of artists who released magic in 2022.
Listen to Roc Marciano and The Alchemist’s The Elephant Man’s Bones album below, and purchase it here via digital download or exclusive vinyl.
Words by Shannon Lindo