Anyone familiar with Roc Marciano’s brand of rap butchery knows it’s a lean cut. That’s no disrespect to the Strong Island emcee; it’s just like Raekwon said on “Verbal Intercourse;” “No Tricks, no tricks, baby.” Dude’s always had a penchant for lines that burrow like dirt under fingernails – no matter how hard you scrub, the shit just gets embedded. He also doesn’t make a habit of compromising his focus for bullshit beats. It’s straight talk at the expense of suckas’ feelings. If there’s a knock though (sorry, it’s what we do here), too much emphasis has at times been placed on his punchlines, usually at the expense of under-affected delivery and timing. And it’s not that Marcberg wasn’t dope, Reloaded is just better.
At it’s best, Reloaded rocks like Evidence liberated from the jungle of Premo beats and given enough space to go believably gangster. Lines like; “Intelligent writers, pockets got Elephantitis, come with choppers like helicopter pilots” (“Not Told”) get a nod and chuckle, “76’s” snares earn snaps, while the levity of the Galt MacDermot-type electric piano employed on “Peru” might inspire one to loosen the belt buckle, bust a chill and L-up for some absorption. This is some hood shit but it’s also soulful enough to relax to. If there’s a drawback, however, the record succumbs at times to that heroin drone – the nod begs for drums like a sugar fix. But like Tommy in Goodfellas, Marc is no clown; he’s not here to amuse you; he’s here to “stay black down like a ninja for legal tender,” keep it thick like gravy, and “deliver like an 80-pound baby.” Git familiar.