Mood Music – Soundtrack to a Good Commute

When it comes to hip-hop, I’m a simple man, really. I require little more than production that infests itself in my ears, incubates for weeks on end, and randomly plays throughout mundane daily routines.

That’s simple, right?

I’ll be sitting on the Jersey-to-Manhattan PATH train, eyeballs-deep into a good book (these days, it’s the short story collection Poe’s Children: The New Horror, edited by Peter Straub) and then, suddenly, the beat to a current favorite song will start playing. I’ll then put the book down on my lap and drift off; story ideas materialize, inspired by this particular bit of sonic goodness. Today, for example, I had the instrumental for Necro’s “Human Consumption” in brain’s-loop for some reason, and a rather demented piece of fiction came to mind. Tit for tonal tat.

Here, give it a listen…

While we’re on the subject, actually, let me go on record with something—Necro is one of rap’s most underrated producers, bar none. Sure, his flow and lyrics can be a bit rough, but the guy’s boardwork is singular and devastating. Like the bulk of Necro’s arsenal, this “Human Consumption” beat—a piercing, siren-like blend of rumbling bass, organ shrieks and faint lady screams—is tailor-made for my horror-ific sensibilities.

So it’s only right that it be the track to distract me from the production that’s otherwise been dominating my head all week, that of Roc Marciano’s self-produced and awesome new solo LP, Marcberg. If the Long Island native’s name sounds familiar but you just can’t place it, you most likely know him from his brief Busta Rhymes/Flipmode Squad affiliation; if you’re closer to my heart, though, you’re aware of his group, The U.N., and agree that their 2004 independent album U.N. or U Out is one of the last decade’s unsung gems. And, therefore, I fucks with you. You, my fellow U.N. head, must have been just as amped to hear Marcberg once word of its impending release hit a couple months back, though I’m skeptical that you presently adore the album as much as I am. It’s okay if you don’t; frankly, my inability to listen to anything else right now is a tad strange even to myself.

Marcberg isn’t monumental in any way, shape or form. The verses and concepts are commonplace, a string of boasts, street-life observations and wit. Marciano’s intentionally 1990s-in-NYC-sounding production steals the show, pushing his lyrics to the back, at least for me. His aggressive flow sounds just right atop these tracks, and that’s a huge plus; if it were someone with the chops of, say, Soulja Boy spitting on Marciano’s soundbeds, we’d have major problems. Lucky stars have been thanked, believe me. I’ll take Roc Marciano the MC over a good 70-percent of the game’s notable rappers any time, any day, any place.

This is a pure zone-about album. Makes me want to take a long drive late at night to no certain destinations. Sit in corner seats of a train car, hoodie pulled up over my skull, giving the other passengers the creeps, as my head nods and my eyes remain shut. Albums like Marcberg were the norm back when I was a newbie in high school, circa 1996-1997, and I purchased damn near every one of them. You know, inconspicuous disc s with titles like Ghetto Millionaire (Royal Flush) and The Awakening (Lord Finesse).

Nothing but hard beats, capable yet simple rhymes and genuine grit. The perfect soundtracks for me to enter the mental places necessary for yours truly to “get open.” I love listening to folks like The-Dream and Drake as much as the next guy (hell, I’m even bumping Ciara’s “Ride” with ease, though doing so with the video is much wiser), but dark mood music, as heard on Roc Marciano’s Marcberg, will always be my bread and butter.

The album doesn’t hit stores until May 18, on Fat Beats/Select-O—please believe I’ll be hitting the local Best Buy with cash in hand that afternoon. I’d be a mega-lame if I didn’t. I’m fortunate enough to have an early copy, though, so the least I can do is spread the advance word. I’ll leave you with a few Marcberg samples, cuts I’m especially fond of at the moment. —Matt Barone

“Ridin’ Around”

“Don Shit”



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  • ozmannn

    i could write for this website, with the amount of shit that is written.

  • Anonymous

    these beats go hard, got that nice 90′s feel to it

  • The1987Kid

    Man i just heard Roc Marciano songs from his upcoming album Marcberg & i must i am blowed at how dope he is as an mc but how great & cinamatic his production is I thought it was 1995 when i heard this album its like the 2nd coming of Only Built 4 Cuban Linx just the approch sounds like a mafioso rap from Kool G Rap, I hope people take notice of this raw talent cause hip-hop needs that right now, but all & all it was great article mood music is the best music…

  • Eric

    first off, that instrumental by Necro or whatever his name was, was trash.

    second, this guy is okay, but he’s pretty boring to listen to. he’s like a low budget Neef (from the Young Gunz), and that’s not saying much.

  • The_Truth

    **Im here in Louisville, KY and Im diggin this. ..REAL MUSIC HAS NO REGION.

  • $yk

    Good looking out Matt! I’ma blaze one later and get into them Roc Marcy tracks.

    I know y’all saw yesterday’s NY blog about how I’m anticipating ‘Marcberg’.

    People just heard Roc was coming out with a CD and it spread like wildfire, I’m actually surprised at the good response it’s getting on the INterNets (the finicky brethren over @ Nahright even gave Roc the thumbs up). If you’re ready to practice some dance steps or expect a Boi-1da/Swizz Beats type of sound for radio and mainstream, Roc Marciano’s ‘Marcberg’ ain’t that album.

    Roc makes nothing but head nodding, “What he said? Rewind that yo, son is ill…” type of music (self production). ‘Thug’s Prayer’ will make you think. ‘Marcberg (single)’ has a smooth melodic bassline and a slight percussion where Roc just flows with ease.

    I have a gut feeling that ‘Marcberg’ will be one of those albums similar to a ‘Madvillany’, which made 4 different publication listings as being one of the best albums of 2000-2010. Man will tell you to ‘kill yo’self’ if you don’t know about ‘Marcberg’.

    If you root for the Anti-Industry, self organized, doing it for the music artist, HERE HE GOES.

  • EmCDL

    Damn I’ma have to peep this, been waiting for this type of sound to fill my earlobes. Cats gonna be coming up to me like I’m crazy while I’m bobbing the hell outta my head to the tracks!


    I still listen to Royal Flush Ghetto Mllionare. One of the best Produced albums no one knows about. Beatminerz, Hi-Tek,Buckwild.

  • Thomas

    Might want to grab this online as this won’t see the light of day in a Best Buy.

  • fastflipper

    i got the lp…and yeah its pure NY rap….forget bout dances poppin bottles and topics like that…. its a nice album

    my fav track : shoutro

  • fastflipper

    and i forget…..u dont know hip hop if you think that necro non phixion (and each of the three when they solo) and others are not good

  • HERM

    “…if you’re closer to my heart, though, you’re aware of his group, The U.N., and agree that their 2004 independent album U.N. or U Out is one of the last decade’s unsung gems.”

    So true! I’ve been a fan of Roc Marcy ever since I first heard him on that album, definitely an underground classic. I didn’t even know he had an album coming out, but now I’m looking forward to it highly, that shit’s gonna be dope. Great blog.

    Oh, and Necro is great behind the boards. I love what he did for Rae on that Gihad track.