The 25 Best Lines On Roc Marciano’s Masterful New Album
It should be routine by now. A full decade ago, Roc Marciano, veteran Long Island rapper/producer and former Flipmode Squad member, hit upon a new formula on his album Marcberg. Marciano stripped the classic New York boom-bap back to a tingling suggestion, removing guttural intensity and neck-snap drums and leaving ghostly traces of atmosphere. Then he sketched out the fly life in elegantly worded shards of imagery. It was beautiful.
Since then, Roc Marciano has been working variations on that sound, and he’s not the only one. Marciano’s style has become an indie-rap lingua franca, a whole aesthetic approach. You can hear echoes of Marciano’s style in many of the best rap albums of 2020: Ka’s Descendants Of Cain, Freddie Gibbs and the Alchemist’s Alfredo, all the different Boldy James projects, everything that’s come out of the Griselda camp. You can definitely hear it in Reasonable Drought, the great recent album from the young Busta Rhymes protege Stove God Cooks, since Marciano produced that entire album. Still, nobody does this style the way Marciano himself does it.
Mt. Marci, Roc Marciano’s new album, is more of the same from Roc Marciano, and that is a great thing. Marciano’s sound has lost much of its radical otherness, but its potency remains. Marciano produced almost the entire album himself, and his tracks are haunted, evocative. He builds barely-there beats out of strings, organ sounds, flanged-out guitar, tingly flutes. And then he spins prismatic crime-fiction stories. (The album, released as a $40 download on Roc Marci’s website a few weeks ago, is now on streaming services.)
Roc Marci’s flexes are casually specific, carefully written, and funnier than they usually get credit for being. I have a serious writer’s envy when it comes to the shit Marciano says on every album. I think I’m pretty good at talking shit, but I’ll never be this good. Every time I write about one of Marciano’s records, I’m tempted to just quote a bunch of lines and have that be the whole review. This time, I thought: Fuck it. I’m doing it. Below, you will find my picks for the 25 best Roc Marciano lines on Mt. Marci.
25. “I’m sitting on a bunch of junk like Sanford And Son. I’m watching Tommy Bunz on a Samsung. Smoke from the handgun cause cancer on the lung.”
24. “I made all this cake. I’m scraping the bowl like a eight-year-old. Shake you out your J’s, make your ankle roll, do you dirty like Kobe did Jalen Rose”
23. “The roof on the condo got gargoyles. Enjoy the spoils.”
22. “Everyone on the ship died and got caught in the riptide. Your body drift down the riverside.”
21. “I make it a spectacle. I spend 10K on the spectacles. All I had to do step in the booth and execute. Sprayed up the red coupe and hit the exit route for extra loot.”
20. “Check the business model. The Ferragamos came with a biscuit like a chicken combo.”
19. “Fired the blicky. The op dropped a bottle of whisky. I was watching through binoculars, shot the pussy. I feel like James Bond in Octopussy.”
18. “I’ve been down this long road more than once. I had to lawnmower over the brush. It’s an ongoing fuss.”
17. “Shot up your rented Plymouth, hit your lieutenant. He bled out for ten minutes, then he was finished.”
16. “She thinking I’m Ryan Phillippe. For real, they even been feeling me in the Philippines. I’m feeling pleased”
15. “Picture me jealous, ho. LOL. LMAO. The all-white Alfa Romeo look like yayo.”
14. “I’m not tryna play the hero role cause the hero ain’t the shit but meat on a gyro roll.”
13. “Ma, I’m just a hooligan. I made this kind of rap cool again. She say I’m way cooler than Max Julian.”
12. “I strategize. Gеt my lady a Jag to drive. Imagine takin jabs onlinе.”
11. “The coat got flames on it like it came straight from Waco. The cream suede Kanyes is alfredo. Scott Baio.”
10. “So much snow I should’ve brought my 40 Belows. Make San Diego look like Buffalo. Still rock the Gucci bucket low. Stuff the duffel — it won’t close, spilling hundos.”
9. “Baby, I am the GOAT. I get paid to stand here and gloat.”
8. “I’m rocking lizard. The skin on the kicks is Hillary Clinton.”
7. “My diamond chain is a climate changer. I’m playing with wеather. I got the HAARP machine in my dresser. I made it winter.”
6. “Death comes in threes; we a trio. Rental full of kilos. Got a tracker like a Geo. I’m reverse aging; some people may think I’m drinking adrenochrome.”
5. “Breaking bricks, we made a karate movie. This is quality music; the economy needed boosting. Even my bitch got a body, and I ain’t talking about booty. I told her how to use the uzi and not be snooty.”
4. “Rock the white fur like I’m Iceberg. You see how I’m driving the Flying Spur like it’s a piece-of-shit Chrysler.”
3. “I’m aligning my Qi. You on the mic lying through oversized teeth.”
2. “My humble abode once belonged to Dutch Schultz. Coke up to my elbows. I still own the Elephant Man’s bones. Rare stones make my hands look like Thanos.”
1. “Bitch, I just bought a unicorn. Ho, that’s a horse with a horn.”
Please note: This is simply a ranking of Roc Marciano’s lines on Mt. Marci. It doesn’t include anything the guests say. It says nothing about Schoolboy Q’s barely contained fury on “Covid Cough.” It doesn’t address the way Kool Keith namechecks Tony Bennett and Dorothy Hamill before delivering the phrase “don’t miss the ballistics” like he’s Cobra Commander. It ignores Action Bronson saying, “For any man that wan’ test me, you lose a teste, and I wear it as a earring while I jetski.” It even misses Stove God Cooks coming out with this: “Bumped into the homie, said he think the feds onto me. Told him, ‘You should worry ‘bout some different shit, honestly, like why your Jesus piece look like Matthew McConaughey.'” Marciano’s writing is really only one aspect of what makes Mt. Marci one of 2020’s best rap albums, but I felt like I needed to document those lines anyway. The world needed to see.
1. Tobe Nwigwe – “Father Figure” (Feat. Black Thought & Royce Da 5’9″)
One of these days, I’m going to need to write a whole column about Tobe Nwigwe, the Houston rapper who’s become a viral presence by making immaculately art-directed videos with his family. Nwigwe usually makes music within a small circle, but “Father Figure” is proof that he can hang with some pure-rapping big dogs, and it’s an exciting thing to see.
2. Lil Yachty – “Flex Up” (Feat. Future & Playboi Carti)
If SoundCloud rap wasn’t already dead, then it died the instant that Donald Trump said the words “Little Pimp.” But I hope distorted, lo-fi bass noises remain with us forever.
3. Curren$y & Harry Fraud – “Riviera Beach (Extended Clip)” (feat. Conway The Machine & Boldy James)
Every time I sleep on a new Curren$y project, I end up feeling stupid for it. The man has really spoiled us with a decade-plus of supremely relaxed shit-talk. But when you throw Boldy James on one of those tracks, I stop sleeping.
4. Sada Baby, Skilla Baby, & Ashley Sorrell – “Kaint Knock The Hustle”
I would love to hear more breezy R&B hooks on Sada Baby tracks. It just works.
5. Vont Da Rasta & Mozzy – “Got The Juice”
This track would kick hard even without this particular word choice, but it does my heart good to hear someone use “mackadocious” in 2020.