The path of Roc Marciano has not been a linear one, its only constant being its sense of firm crookedness. The Long Island-bred MC and producer got his break as a member of Busta Rhymes' Flipmode Squad crew, before toiling in the New York underground in a state of relative anonymity. In 2010, he released his debut album Marcberg, and it felt like a revelation. Constructed from dusty loops and off-the-cuff rapping full of wordplay and menace—both strengthened by the fact that they seemed to come from some casual place in Marciano's mind—it was a minor triumph of New York rap, proof the old school had new tricks in it still.
These days, Marciano's found a nice niche for himself amongst rap's more indie set, working with the likes of Gangrene (the duo comprised of Oh No and Alchemist) as well as local rap heroes Das Racist. Last evening, he released "I Shot the King," which does everything that a Roc Marciano song does well, but at twice the speed: he glues himself to the beat the way that only the person who produces it possibly could, allowing it breathe in time for the sampled chorus to hit. As the tightly-looped sample unwinds, its swirling organs and delirious guitars reveal that Marciano's rapping over a classic rock sample rather than the old soul the track initially registers as. It's completely charming in its gruffness, showing Marciano as a man who knows what he wants and gets it, even if what he wants isn't necessarily always legal.
Listen to the track over at SoundCloud. (Warning: Strong language used.)