There comes a time in every person’s life where they try, desperately, to like an album. You grit your teeth, you survive one track, you play the next, leave it and return to it. It’s been three days and you’ve made it through the first track. You scour Reddit, hoping to find reasons to like this project. But it isn’t happening.
Roc Marciano’s stock has been steadily trending up over the past few years, emerging as a dark horse for king of the underground title. The opening track of this album would suggest that the hip-hop elite of New York certainly respect him, at least. He has his fair share of co-signs, whether it be Busta Rhymes or Pete Rock. With releases like Marcberg and Reloaded, he’s also had a steadily growing fan base. Nonetheless, it’s hard to admit, but Rosebud’s Revenge 2 just doesn’t seem all that great.
You have to understand that Roc is not creating some high octane banger. He’s cold, he’s slow and calculating when it comes to his bars. His delivery is in a hush-whisper; he has that ‘I’m going to embarrass you in front of everyone and not lift a finger’ demeanour. He brings the rugged attitude of a New York rapper. On ‘Corniche’ he unabashedly stakes his claim for G.O.A.T status, saying, “I know some haters don’t promote/ But some say I’m the G.O.A.T.”
If you want to get the full Roc experience have your Ritalin ready because you will find it difficult to concentrate for the length of a whole track.
There are a few real gems: ‘Tent City’, ‘Bohemian Groove’ and ‘Corniche’ have excellent production. The album somewhat gives you the feeling of ‘Liquid Swords’ by GZA: a throwback, but not an obnoxious one. It is a testament to the charisma Roc can bring to the mic. Many artists try to be like their predecessors and thirst for approval – take J Cole with Nas. Not Roc. It’s well suited to the laidback nature he brings.
His menacing, slowed down bluesy sampling is the cornerstone to the New York style. Sometimes Roc changes it to something a little more minimal and skeletal, which arguably should suit his style. It falls flat, about as flat as his tone throughout the entire album. To a large extent it exposes the fact that Roc Marciano is a little one-dimensional.
The features are kept to a minimum too and it can make RR2 a struggle to listen to. With very little variety in the form of production style and technical versatility, you get the sense that you’ll fall asleep five tracks in.
Despite these setbacks, Roc has still put out one of the better rap albums this year. It’s got lots of character, despite being rather dull. It feels like the album could definitely be streamlined.
Some call it his masterpiece; for others, it’s going be a challenge finishing the project. RR2 really is a bitter dose.