Roc Marciano’s 10 Best Songs of 2013 (So Far)

Words by Daniel Isenberg (@StanIpcus)

While you patiently wait for Roc Marciano’s next album Marci Beaucoup to drop, there are a few things you can do. For starters, you can argue with fellow fans about which of his previous LPs is better, Marcberg or Reloaded. That should kill a good amount of time. Once you come to the conclusion that they’re both dope as fuck and it’s not worth debating which is better, you can read or re-read our In The Lab interview with Roc, which is a behind the scenes look at the creation of Marci Beaucoup.

As for right now, well, you can check out our list of Roc Marciano’s 10 Best Songs of 2013 (So Far)! Roc hasn’t put out anything from his next classic just yet, but he’s stayed busy this year, letting loosies go via his Soundcloud page, and hopping on tracks with the industry’s illest underground rappers and producers. Check out our short list below. This should hold you over until the first leak from Marci Beaucoup pops up, which hopefully will be sometime soon.

*Bonus* DJ Muggs ft. Roc Marciano “Absolem”

Roc Marciano showed off his versatility this past February, hopping on a electro/dubstep beat for the DJ Muggs-produced compilation album Bass for Your Face. But don’t get it fucked up. The sounds may be EDM, but this ain’t no dance record. In its essence, “Absolem” is hardcore hip-hop. As Muggs told Complex earlier this year about collaborating with Roc for this project, “I think I did a good job of bringing the energy he has in his records with this sound. He’s the shit. I was lucky to be able to work with him.” True indeed.

10. DJ Skizz ft. Roc Marciano, A.G., O.C., and Godfather Pt. 3 “Light Years”

DJ Skizz of WNYU’s famed underground hip-hop radio program The Halftime Show gathered up a gully group of veteran Big Apple MCs for a hard body posse cut featured on his album B.Q.E. (Brooklyn-Queens Experience). Skizz provides the potent production, and everyone in the lineup does what they does best. Roc shines especially, setting it off like, “Stab the track, rap abstract/Black mac, Cadillac tats, Applejack hat/Play my hand like 21 blackjack, get over like a fat rat/ Gat, long as a giraffe back.” He adds later, “I’m a Don, you’re a non-factor.” Truth.

9. P-Money ft. Roc Marciano “The Professional”

New Zealand producer P-Money laced up Roc with a fly jam for his Gratitude album, which also features appearances by M.O.P., Buckshot, and Talib Kweli. Roc comes out the box swinging, as he spits, “Since a pupil I was branded with the stamp of approval/Blow the hammer like a bugle, bitch it’s all strudel,” then adds, “With something foreign in the hotel snoring, she’s from Florence/The feeling’s euphoric how I caught it.” It’s basically one long-ass verse with no hook, but with bars like this, no hook is needed. No wonder why “your Queen is smitten.”

8. Tree ft. Roc Marciano “Trynawin”

Roc made his way out to Chi-Town earlier in the year to perform at a Closed Sessions event, and during his stay, he linked up with up-and-coming rapper/producer Tree to record a song for his Sunday School II mixtape. The behind the scenes footage shows that Roc was definitely feeling everything Tree was playing for him, so hopefully we will hear more from these two soon. But for now, we’ll cherish this joint like it’s our first born.

7. Ka ft. Roc Marciano “Soap Box”

Ka and Roc Marci make quite the one-two combo on records. They slayed it together on Ka’s Grief Pedigree gem “Iron Age,” ran it back on Reloaded’s “Nine Spray,” and then returned on Ka’s latest effort The Night’s Gambit with “Soap Box.” It’s everything you loved about their previous efforts, just updated with more killer smoothness. Expect another Ka and Roc duet on Marci Beaucoup, too.

6. Roc Marciano ft. Cormega “Ruff Town”

Shortly after Roc officially announced his position as Vice President and Director of A&R at Man Bites Dog Records, as well as the upcoming release of Marci Beaucoup on the label, he let go of a self-produced collabo with Queensbridge veteran Cormega. Roc hooks up a soulful horn sample, and finesses it with ease, spitting slick wordplay like, “Vietnamese appeased by the deities.” Now that’s Godly. Shout to Cormega too, sounding fresh as ever on here.

5. 14KT ft. Roc Marciano “Live From Pimpstead”

The newest release on this list features Roc Marciano going in over a 14KT production for a bonus track from his album Nickled and Dimed. And boy does he go in. “Live from Pimpstead, bitch magnet, the piff addict/Your wiz is convinced this is magic…” The beat knocks ridiculously, too. This song very well could’ve made the top three if it had a little more time to compete with the rest of the pack. Then again, it may be its freshness that helped it crack the top five. Regardless of placement though, this is straight fire.

4. Roc Marciano “Shit Hard”

The title says it all. This shit is hard. Props to Frank the Butcher and Paul Mighty on the beat, this track is vicious. We’re not surprised that Roc murdered it, because instrumentals like this are right up his alley. He raps, “Grip the nina, live by the marina, hyena/Shout out my lawyer Bob Kalina,” then adds later, “My gun come with a twin, gotta tuck ‘em in.” Crack.

3. Prodigy ft. Roc Marciano “Death Sentence”

Prodigy and Alchemist reconnected officially on their collaborative LP Albert Einstein, and recruited Roc Marci for a guest appearance, which does not even come close to being a disappointment. In fact, the track sounds better than it looks on paper. There’s a Long Island connection here, being that Pee used to live in Roc’s hometown of Hempstead before he moved out to Queensbridge, and they display their innate chemistry on the chorus, going bar for bar over ALC’s bloody banger. And Roc gets busy on the second verse, rapping with chilled-out vigor, “Whip the Lexus, disgruntled exes, squeeze tecs ambidextrous.” Legendary.

2. Willie the Kid ft. Action Bronson and Roc Marciano “Medusa”

It’s seriously unfair to have this much talent on one song. Three of the best lyricists in the game, and Alchemist on the beat, too, with the retarded chop?! Crazy. Man, ALC’s been in the zone lately, hasn’t he? We had Willie break this song down for us in his Listener’s Guide to Masterpiece Theatre, and in addition to bigging up the beat, he gave props to Action and Roc, saying, “Brothers went for theirs on this one.” He ain’t lying. And Willie also quoted his favorite line from Roc’s verse: “Lick off a shot call it cunnilingus/Kinda cunning, we’ve come to an agreement.” Next level.

1. Roc Marciano “Bruh Man”

With his fans still stuck on Reloaded, Roc took to his Soundcloud page early in the year to let go of a laidback loosie, featuring him spitting over the intro to O.C.’s Lord Finesse-produced diamond in the rough “Jewelz.” It’s an expansion on the styles exhibited during Reloaded, with the cool, calm delivery in full effect. But lyrically, it’s on some next shit. And just when you think he can’t kill it more than he did on the first verse, he switches up speeds with an entirely different flow after the chorus. So ill. Respect the nod to Martin’s 5th floor neighbor, too. We’ve had this on repeat since the winter.

Catch Roc Marciano live this Friday, October 4th at the A3C Festival in Atlanta.

Photos via Roc Marciano’s Instagram

Previously: In The Lab with Roc Marciano | Action Bronson’s 10 Best Collabos of 2013 (So Far)