At the beginning of this decade, the veteran Long Island rapper Roc Marciano helped establish a whole new underground-rap aesthetic when he released his self-produced album Marcberg. On that album, and on all the albums he’s released since, Marciano took classic New York boom-bap and turned it inward, reshaping it into something dank and flickering and atmospheric. In the process, he inspired hordes of fellow rap formalists to twist the form up in their own ways. And he’s still cranking out music, on his own terms, at an alarming rate.
Earlier this year, Marciano released his album RR2: The Bitter Dose. As with all his other recent albums, he started selling it directly for $30 on his website. (A few days later, he offered it up to the streaming services.) Today, he’s followed it up with a new LP called Behold A Dark Horse. It’s out today. And unlike his last few, this one includes some big-name collaborators.
Behold A Dark Horse features guest appearances from regular collaborator Knowledge The Pirate (who recently released his own Flintlock album) and from the Roots’ Black Thought. It features production from Marci himself, Q-Tip, the Alchemist, and Animoss, the last of whom recently teamed up with Marci’s friend Ka for the staggering new album Orpheus Vs. The Sirens. Most importantly, it features one song with Busta Rhymes. Long before he figured out his current aeshtetic, Marci broke into rap as a member of Busta’s Flipmode Squad, so it’s cool to see them on a song together once again.
Marci has shared the murky, low-budget video for his new single “The Horse’s Mouth,” and the string-soaked beat comes from another Ka collaborator — Preservation, who produced all of the 2015 album Days With Dr. Yen Lo. Check it out below.
Behold A Dark Horse is out now, and you can buy it from Roc Marciano’s website.