Roc Marciano’s latest album, Marci Beaucoup, is a lush collection of self-produced, sample-driven instrumentals, with a splattering of verses from Roc himself, as well as a number of familiar guests, and hip-hop artisans in their own right: including Blu, Boldy James, Evidence, Action Bronson, Ka, Alchemist, Maffew Ragazino, Freeway, and many more. Marci Beaucoup comes fresh off the heels-only about a month, actually-of the Hempstead MC’s stellar mixtape, The Pimpire Strikes Back, a cohesive, narrative-driven score of a modern day pimp, laden over a selection of sensible, 70’s-sampling backdrops and thoughtful interludes that help round out the thematic greatness of the project.

While it was The Pimpire Strikes Back, that was released for free as a “mixtape,” it almost feels more appropriate to label Beaucoup of that title, at least in the linguistic sense. While Pimpire has all the makings of a memorable, full-scale, album-of-the-year-worthy project, Marciano’s latest project, by comparison, is a much looser collection of records, while all strong on their own right, they do far more to showcase the rapper’s strength’s as a producer than anything else. Speaking to that strength is the notion that every guest on this project delivers a memorable contribution. There’s no phoning in or e-mail exchanges on Marci Beaucoup, and it’s apparent that Marciano’s talents, both on the mic and as a producer, has garnered both the respect and best efforts from all those involved here.

Among the standouts is the aptly titled “Psych Ward,” featuring Alchemist and Oh No, a schizophrenic beauty of a record, sounding something like the hip-hop equivalent to a Tarantino scene, and impossible not to bring back for multiple listens. Then there’s “Didn’t Know,” guest-starring Freeway and Marciano’s frequent co-star Knowledge The Pirate, which builds over a sparkling set of wind-chimes, wax, and dusty drums, and somewhat reminiscent of the brilliance of “Snow,” from his Marcberg album a couple years back.

Of course, there’s also “456,” over a delicate and gut-wrenching soulful loop that was made for the tag-team efforts of Roc Marciano and Action Bronson. Picking up on some of the stone-cold pimp feel of his last project, “Trying to Come Up,” featuring the nonchalant brilliance of Boldy James, is another standout, if not just for the James verse in itself.

Like Pimpire, Marciano adroitly finesses Marci Beaucoup, with the sort of smug, witty, stream of conscious brilliance that is one of his more endearing attributes on the mic. Couple that with his own tremendous production, and the bevy of talented guest-spots on here, and Marci Beaucoup is the perfect gift for any hi-hop connoisseur. Or, if you don’t hang out with those types, a nice retort to anyone bored with the state of the genre, and complaining that hip-hop is still dead.

Taken together, Marci Beaucoup and The Pimpire Strikes Back are the perfect complements to one another, each showcasing the depth of Marciano’s skillsets as a producer and MC, and rounding out 2013 as two of the year’s smartest, more compelling releases.—David Inkeles