No need for formality–The review of works to tell you great works are great or even worse–that you ought to pay up for what you asked for—incredible Hip Hop, the type that score the love,hell or right. But what type of vocalists are ruggedly pompous in the struggle through squalor? What type of tracks can bed rhythmic words that dangerously keep going together? Who makes music that strengthens the brothers in the matrix, whether square family providers or round the clock hustlers? With the Mic Tyson and Reloaded albums released, it’s still Sean Price and Roc Marciano.
There is something common in this Real, truly reels starring stylists that have reinvented themselves taking total freedom in the culture. The results are reasoned by integrity but the products are collected barrages of quotables that portrait the Soul of this street culture. Whether through P’s brutal stream of conscious comedy or the exalting ruthlessness of Roc’s imagery, Mic Tyson and Reloaded are peaks in the development of substance funneled completely through style.
Sean Price was never not a clever brother. Ruck was always lyrically violent, admonishing the weak, upholding them Hip Hop principles without anyone’s moral approval. But you couldn’t always hear him. Partly inspired by Ghostface’s Supreme Clientele, he reinvigorates the Boot Camp Click with 05’s Monkey Barzwith a stream of conscious flow that is based on the embrace of the illness of the word’s sound and its complete freedom to couple it with any idea desired. To dismiss the supremacy in mastering this technique as just great punchlines (“Obama turned the White House into White Castles”) misses the creative word choices and actual vocal dexterity to just say it all (“Nigga, I’m a ride on every niggas crossdressing/, the essence of Tyler Perry/fucking can-can dancing/blam blam and son/Shucking and jiving, man-tan advancing” – “BBQ Sauce”)
Still, P’s been known as a character, championing the rawest video comedy skits to bubble his name, and gets love for making this tough cipher we in funny and fun again. But when more laugh with P, the majority bitch-made, that often buy, laugh at him, expecting an MC to supposedly make a swing for pop stardom. It’d come out as an album full of goofball skits and gimmick vocals drowning the music as it drains the character for all its cream. But motherfucka, not P. The layout of Mic Tyson is the clue to pure Hip Hop. 15 (plus 3 bonus) tracks all timed at around quick 3’s with his beat selection loud, abrasively produced, sharp breaks, strong horns. Rapid blinking keys driven by stabbing bass drums on Alchemist’s “The Genesis of the Omega,” angry piano chords with the sharp chaffing snare on Amp’s “Pyrex,” or the drum roll breaks and stutters punched through by siren wailing on Beat Butcha’s “The Hardest Nigga Out.” These are the sounds we respect.
Mic Tyson is not an album of a particular theme; instead it’s a collection of a man’s character at a particular moment. A personal character expressing himself through MCing that almost no one on the planet can match. Sample portions and…Listen, “I’m actually one of them rappers that can really rap…Fake fuck/I will fuck up your face/fuck face/finger fuck/trigger nigga the ape…P!” (“Frankenberry”) or “All I do is rap and rhyme/I don’t know today’s math, don’t keep track of time/universal beatdown, beat down your universe/Sean P AKA you the worst/The best rapper, the worst rapper/The sket clapper, the purse snatcher, the neck snapper, the Earth slapper…” (“STFU Part 2”) or “I’ll fuck a nigga up, but if cash is given/I will split a nigga head, call it bad division…” (“Straight Music”). All throughout, there’s the techniques that include alliteration, word coupling and reversing, stuttered flows, inflections all on beat and off by choice and the greatest character signature punctuated effortlessly on wax— “P!” Mic Tyson is a rare record that has immediate appeal in P’s comedic character and all over sharp punchlines but also that long shelf life with exhibitions of skill that only the naturally talented can make again and again.
And these great stylists can construct their character in many manners that uphold the Art itself. Roc Marciano Reloaded I knowledge as more than mere revision. Roc Marciano was never not a wordsmith. His best lines were just not caught. The UN album of ’04 was filled with tough verses and high midtempo tracks where Roc delivered at his most breakneck speed. Yet implementing Rakim reformation, as with countless legends and greats, became the way. Slowing down the rhyme, then the tempos, letting the listener hear the crafted words (“Used to have to pitch/Now I print cash with the Bic/The pad is a blank check/Embrace death, taste flesh/While the rhyme on the page is still wet/Far from fictitious/The cars attract the bitches/I hear the whispers/My palms got the blisters… Spit the chorus/To stimulate the whore’s clitoris/It taste like porridge…”- “Flash Gordon”) revel in the punctuating ad-libs (“I’m a natural, You little rascal/Homo swag, I wouldn’t put it past you” [“MMMMMMM”] – “Tek to a Mack”) and exquisitely draw his scenery of lavishness built of horrific sins in our minds (“For talking, I put the Porsche in reverse/Flesh get tossed into the Earth/After I draw and squirt/I plant my feet upon foreign dirt/Roll up the purp, with a smart “fuck you” smirk/I lift the Rosé up til the muscles burn/Hustle and earn/The handle on the thirty two is pearl/ Do a set of concentration curls/High fashion, climaxing on satin/The outside of the tilapia was blackened…” – “Wee Ill”).
Roc at his most fulfilled right now is an MC who preludes every bar with such timed delivery he’s akin to a Soul singer prepping with speech before the smashing vocals. His voice is constantly punctuated, his use of inflections so well his adlibs become important and the extremities of his materialistic success blend so well with the violence of hustle, the contradictions of wrong for better and might for rights told through the dynamic status of the Hip Hop MC are vocals the urban Original man understand and are even inspired by positively.
With Reloaded, he reups Marcberg with perfect beat selections (i.e. Alchemist’s “Pistolier” & “Flash Gordon” Q-Tip’s “Thread Count,” Arch Druid’s “Emeralds” & Ray West’s “Nine Spray”) that merge with his own incredible tracks that don’t focus on the beautiful simplicity of the breakbeat as prior. Instead, Reloaded’s music is the cinema of diggin in the crates where the lo-fi bolero chants on “Death Parade,” the sax horns on “20 Guns” and the soft sirens cascading on “The Man” all let Roc’s perfected monotone become B-boy Superfly films. The features from Knowledge the Pirate intrigue for more of the brother while KA, off the Grief Pedigree classic, drops two verses with “Nine Spray” being one of the best of his career.
Ultimately, Mic Tyson and Reloaded are the albums to play when they say Hip Hop is not an Art. The stylist MCs that have substance in the craft and don’t make you yell out “Pause!” These are the works of artists that got even iller.