Jay Worthy – “Nothing Bigger Than the Picture” review

Jay Worthy is a 37 year old MC from Vancouver, Canada who caught my attention in 2017 after The Alchemist produced his debut EP Fantasy Island from top to bottom. He would go onto drop 5 more EPs & just put out a fantastic collab album with Larry June over a year ago called 2 P’z in a Pod even though initial plans of putting it out through Griselda Records fell through for whatever reason. But Jay’s looking to come off his Harry Fraud-produced full-length debut You Take the Credit, We’ll Take the Check & the DJ Muggs-produced sophomore effort What They Hittin’ 4 by enlisting Long Island veteran Roc Marciano behind the boards throughout the duration of his 3rd album.

After the intro, the first song “Underground Legends” featuring Bun B kicks things off rightfully declaring themselves as such with a drumless loop accompanying them in the background whereas the title track with A$ton Matthews calling this the shit you see only in gangsta movies with a slicker instrumental. “The Field” featuring Jay 305 brings in the drums & a Middle Eastern sample as they both pray for those still in the trenches until “The Plug” featuring Ab-Soul jumps on top of some pianos & choir vocals talking about being resources for obtaining something valuable that would otherwise be difficult to obtain.

Marc joins Jay on the mic for “Wake Up” spitting that fly shit with a luxurious beat just before “My Own 2” featuring A$AP Ant & former 2x NBA All-Star Baron Davis has a soulful, jazzier flare to it as they bring to you a day in their lives. “How?” keeps the soul in tact addressing those who always want to know his background & how he reps the CPT even though he was born in Vancouver by telling them not to worry about it since it really doesn’t concern them whatsoever, but then “Players Only” has a triumphantly wavier feel to it talking about how life been different.

The song “Simple Man” featuring Kurupt make it clear to understand that they only want the money with a glossy, drumless instrumental backing them while the penultimate track “The Huddle” featuring Baron Davis brings back the horns & soul sample so all the real ones can click up declaring trouble for all the fakes out there. “Fur Coat Talk” featuring Da$h on the other hand sends off the album on a jazzier note as they discuss minks if you couldn’t already tell by the title of the closer.

I’ve been hearing some people online still calling Jay a boring MC oddly enough considering that he’s been at his best for the past year after putting out 2 P’z in a Pod with Larry alongside his previous couple solo albums & Nothing Bigger Than the Program continues that trajectory if you ask me. Sure one can complain about the amount of features & their performances kinda being 50/50, but the bars from Jay himself continue to elevate solidly over Marci’s signature production style.

Score: 3.5/5

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Roc Marciano – “The Elephant Man’s Bones” review

This is the 10th full-length album from Long Island emcee/producer Roc Marciano. Starting out in the very late 90’s as a member of the Flipmode Squad, he then went solo in 2008 to drop classic albums that would pave the way for those like Griselda such as Marcberg & Reloaded. However after focusing on producing projects for other artists like Flee Lord & Bronze Nazareth following Mt. Marci a couple years ago, Marci’s enlisting The Alchemist to produce The Elephant Man’s Bones.

“Rubber Band Grip” is a spaciously suspenseful opener talking about having the pump on him whereas the Action Bronson-assisted “Daddy Kane” works in synths to deliver bars like ”I been gettin’ off that soft white long before shorties was rockin’ Off-White. Water color ice, I call it Walter White” or “Know the in and outs, they want dinner? We get ’em In-N-Out”. The lead single “Deja Vu” takes a more drumless route with it’s bare piano instrumental confessing he had a breakthrough, but then “Quantum Leap” has some jazzy undertones to it talking about how your favorite rapper send him fan mail & your album ain’t worth 12 pennies to him.

Meanwhile on the title track, we have Marci brings back the luxurious keyboards providing food for the spirit just before “Bubble Bath” has a more glistening yet dusty quality to it talking about being rich for real. “Liquid Coke” shoots for a more symphonic aesthetic saying that’s exactly what he’ll leave when he slits ya throat leading into Boldy James tagging along for “Trillion Cut” getting in their hustle bag on top of a flute & some pianos. Stand-out bars being “Me & G on Stockwell, filthy as Rockwell. Turn an eye on high fresh out a dry spell” & ”My pops had tracks in his arms from heroin, this is rap meets Gil Scott-Heron”.

“The Horns of Abraxas” however has these chilling organ harmonies throughout talking about the road to success being Hell sandwiched in the middle of a great spoken word intro/outro from the O.G. himself Ice-T while “JJ Flash” returns to soulful territory spitting that kingpin shit. “Zig Zag Zig” is dramatic boom bap ballad about his life being a fantasy & you getting no pussy while “Stigmata” takes it back to the soul samples as Marci gives free game. Favorite bar is definitely “Like 2 teens playin’ Call of Duty, but all of these is real toolies”.

Following that, the sinister” Zip Guns” with Knowledge the Pirate intimidatingly paints some vivid gangsta rap imagery while the song “Think Big” has a more summery vibe to it talking about taking destiny in his own hands. The penultimate track “Macaroni” returns to a synth-based sound encouraging his competition to hang up the mic & get a job with “Momma Love” sends it off with fireworks as Marci hops on top of a on operatic loop putting it all on Ma Dukes.

From the moment I first heard “Flash Gordon” alongside “Pistolier” & “Paradise Pimps” during my sophomore year of high school a decade ago, I’ve been screaming for Marci & Uncle Al to do an album together. Now that it’s here, it’s the masterpiece that I could’ve ever dreamed from them. There is not a single moment from the beginning of The Elephant Man’s Bones to the end that I genuinely dislike from the smooth & witty gangsta rap lyricism from the New York veteran to the perfectly crafted production pulling from drumless, boom bap & jazz rap.

Score: 5/5

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Flee Lord – “Delgado” review

Flee Lord is a 38 year old MC from Queensbridge, New York who came up in 2017 as protege of the late Prodigy. He has since become known for building up a massive discography for himself with projects like the Loyalty or Death: Lord Talk trilogy produced by GodBlessBeatz, the Loyalty & Trust duology produced by 38 Spesh, the DJ Shay-produced Lucky 13, the Buckwild-produced Hand Me My Flowers, the Pete Rock-produced The People’s Champ & the Havoc-produced In the Name of Prodigy. But after dropping the the DJ Muggs-produced RAMM£LLZ££ back in March, the Lord is now enlisting Roc Marciano to produce his 16th EP.

The titular intro is a sumptuous piano ballad to say he’s important to the slums whereas “Slow Down” aggressively compares his verses to the feds pulling up on the strip. “Shouts Out to the Mobb” goes into jazzier territory showing love to his protégés, but then “Medusa” brings in some guitars for him & Conway the Machine to spit that gun talk.

“This is What Ya Want?” has a bit of a more orchestral feel reminding everyone his raps are reality, but then switches up into a classy vocal sample to get on his luxurious trap shit. Ransom tags along for “Breath of Air” to give them that back against the wall music just before Stove God Cook$ comes in for the grungy “Trim the Fat” talking about money, power & respect.

Meanwhile with “Skipping Town”, we have Flee jumping on top of some lavish keyboard embellishments trying to start a hood war leading into him & Marci detailing going from walking to driving sports cars on the unsettling “Breeze in a Porsche”. The penultimate track “1st Kill” has a more sadder tone instrumentally spitting that pure dope & the titular closer reads off as a cool 1-minute freestyle with some piano melodies accompanying it.

I wouldn’t be mad if you preferred Delgado over RAMM£LLZ££ because it’s undeniable that Flee Lord has been putting out some of his best work in the last couple years. Lyrically, he’s one of the illest out of New York right now & Roc Marciano’s production I feel like doesn’t get appreciated as much as his lyricism does.

Score: 4.5/5

Roc Marciano – “Mt. Marci” review

Roc Marciano is a 42 year old MC/producer from Long Island, New York who started out in the very late 90’s as a member of the Flipmode Squad. He then went solo in 2008 & has dropped 8 albums since, with the latest being Marcielago last December. Almost a year later, Marci is following it up by dropping his 9th full-length album.

After the “Allegories” intro, the first song “Downtown 81” talks about breaking bread at the penthouse over a savory Jake One instrumental while the track “COVID Cough” with ScHoolboy Q sees the 2 getting murderous over a perilous beat. The song “Wheat 40s” talks about not playing the hero role over some strings while the track “Spirit Cookin’” with Action Bronson finds the 2 on their mobster shit over a piano & a woodwind.

The song “Pimps Don’t Wear Rabbits” talks about those hating need to quit over a grimy beat while the track “Butterfly Effect” talks about trusting the process over a jazzy instrumental. “The Eye of the Whorus” with Stove God Cook$ sees the 2 talking about being paid to gloat over a funky beat while the song “Steel Vagina” talks about this woman betraying him over a bare piano instrumental.

The track “Broadway Killa” with Kool Keith finds the 2 talking about being cold blooded over an instrumental with some frightening synths while the song “Baby Powder” is well played 2-parter as Marci talks about hustling drugs over an peaceful instrumental from Chuck Strangers, but then transitions into some triumphant horns. The track “Trench Coat Wars” talks about smoking weed in a g-wagon over an eerie instrumental while the song “Wicked Days” talks about how no angel can stop the bullets over a murky beat & the Trent Truce feature is wack as fuck.

The track “Garbage Pal Kids” talks about how this chick’s gonna run if he calls her over a guitar while the song “Crocket N Tubbs” talks about how real bad boys move in silence over an alluring beat. The album ends with the title track, where Marci spits about writing it in coke oil over some keys & a high-pitched vocal sample.

It’s no secret that Roc Marciano has paved the way for cats like Griselda throughout the previous decade & this is a great way for him to kick off his 2020s output. His gritty lyricism never fails to amuse me this deep into his career & the production is on point as always too.

Score: 4/5

Roc Marciano – “Marcielago” review


This is the surprise 8th full-length album from Long Island heavyweight Roc Marciano, who started out as a member of the Flipmode Squad from the late 90s & early 2000s. He then went solo in 2008 & has dropped 7 critically acclaimed albums since, with his last 3 all coming out just last year. But after laying low throughout a good bulk of 2019, he’s finishing off his prolific decade with Marcielago.

After the “Select Few” intro, the first song “Molly Ringwald” finds Marci gets flirtatious over a lush instrumental from Animoss. The track “Choosin’ Fees” spits that drug game over a soulful beat while the song “Richard Gear” gets reflective over a lavish instrumental. The track “Ephesians” sees Marci getting mafioso whereas Ka gets conscious over a nocturnal instrumental while the song “Tom Chambers” with Knowledge the Pirate sees the 2 tells their competition not to get into their way over a jazzy beat.

The track “I.G.W.T. (In God We Trust)” talks about only having one another over a piano & a soul sample while the song “Puff Daddy” with Cook$ gets bloodthirsty over sinister instrumental. The track “Boosie Fade” with Westside Gunn sees the 2 spitting battle bars over a suspenseful beat while the song “Bomb Shelter” with Willie the Kid sees the 2 flexing over a soothing jazz sample.

The track “Saw” gets back on the mafioso tip lyrically over a haunting instrumental from The Alchemist while the song “SAYLAVI” is a clever play on the French phrase “c’est la vie & I like how trippy the Animoss beat is. The track “God Loves You” gets on the more motivational side & the church-like instrumental suits it fantastically, but the hook is just alright. Then before the “Legacy” outro, the final song “Joe Jackson” finds Marci bragging over a blaxploitation-esque instrumental.

Roc truly has been a leading figure in hip hop’s East Coast renaissance throughout the 2010s & this was a fantastic way for him to finish it off. There are a few spotty moments on here, but it feels like the musical equivalent to a crime film from the production to Roc’s lyricism getting sharper & sharper over time. Can’t wait to see what he’ll do going into the new decade.

Score: 4/5

Roc Marciano – “Behold a Dark Horse” review


Roc Marciano is a legendary underground MC/producer from Long Island, New York who started out in the very late 90’s as a member of the Flipmode Squad. He then went solo in 2008 & has dropped 5 albums since, with his last one Rosebudd’s Revenge 2: The Bitter Dose being released in February of this year. However, he has decided to drop his 6th full-length album out of nowhere exclusively on his website.

Things start off with “The Horse’s Mouth”, where Roc brags about how dope he is over an eerie beat from Preservation. The next song “Congo” contains some gritty street bars over a Roc instrumental that contains some punchy drums & a guitar while the song “1,000 Deaths” gets confrontational over some strings. The song “Diamond Cutters” with Black Thought sees the 2 spitting battle bars over a middle eastern instrumental while the track “Amethyst” talks about being a threat in the streets over a somber instrumental from Animoss, but the hook halfway through was awkward. The song “Sampson & Delilah” gets back on the battle bar tip over a woodwind heavy instrumental from Doncee despite another wimpy hook while the track “No Love” with Knowledge the Pirate sees the 2 talking about trust over a beautiful soul sample from Roc himself.

The song “Trojan Horse” with Busta Rhymes sees the 2 getting mafioso over an instrumental that reminds of me “Wildflower” off of Ghostface Killah’s classic 1996 solo debut Ironman while the track “Fabio” goes at talentless rappers as well as bragging about himself over an instrumental from The Alchemist that starts off laidback, but then switches into something more eerie halfway through. The song “Secrets” gets romantic over a spacey beat from Roc himself while the penultimate track “Whoolers” returns to the braggadocious tip over a soulful horn-induced beat from Animoss. The album then ends with “Consigliere”, where Roc gets into the lavish life once again as well as challenging his competition over an orchestral instrumental from Q-Tip.

As I expected, Roc didn’t disappoint at all. I don’t care for the parts where he’s singing at all, but the beats & the lyrical content are just as gritty as they’ve always been. If you wanna hear a horribly underrated vet sound rawer than ever before, then give this a listen.

Score: 4/5