Music

Roc 'C' + IMAKEMADBEATS: The Transcontinental

This album is a classic example of an average rapper spoiling a series of good-to-great beats.


Roc 'C' + IMAKEMADBEATS

The Transcontinental

Contributors: Rapper Big Pooh, Oh No, Prince Po, Mic Geronimo, Wildchild, Chino XL
Label: E1 Music Canada
UK Release Date: 2009-05-18
US Release Date: 2009-05-19
Amazon
Amazon
iTunes

Hip-hop albums handled by a sole producer come along far too rarely these days. Rappers usually just try to fill their records with a who's-who of hot producers, or they mix some no-names, who are unknown for a reason, with a stable of tried-and-true beatmakers. As a result, the end product can easily suffer greatly. It's just that a cohesive sound is difficult to achieve with so many varied producers featured on the record.

And, as written, the no-names, who likely get included thanks to being close to the emcee, typically offer up stale beats. And don't take this as the rant of a bitter hip-hop head, but simply as an unfortunate truth. As such, you can understand the excitement of receiving Roc 'C' and IMAKEMADBEATS's The Transcontinental, which was crafted entirely by the MAD one. Unfortunately, try as he might, this producer's fine beats aren't enough to overpower Roc 'C''s sometimes painful and altogether average rapping.

The West Coast emcee, a member of Stones Throw's underachieving Oxnard crew, is only worth hearing on this album's standouts, which are at that level thanks to IMAKEMADBEATS's production. The perfect example of this is the album's second track, "Still Here", which flips the same Willie Hutch sample heard on Rhymefest's "All I Do" off Blue Collar. But MAD's drums hit a bit harder, and let the sample sound that much fuller. The same goes for the grimy boom-bap of "Blakout" and the soulful cries of "Struggle". IMMB clearly is a talented man behind the boards. His sample-chopping is well-honed, and he absolutely has a knack for putting together bangers. All of those qualities show that he is fully capable of working with bigger and, most importantly, more talented artists.

And even though Roc makes himself bearable on those aforementioned joints, he and his guests can't help but take down the rest of the album. The sole exception to that rule is "The Warriors", which is almost saved by a fine guest verse from Rapper Big Pooh. That track also features a gritty sonic backdrop akin to a late-night walk through the city. But Roc's laughable "sung" hook -- you know, the kind that 50 Cent and Ja Rule made popular five years ago -- paired with Chino XL's awful punchlines ruin the affair. Every other track has almost exactly the same fate. The hooks here are bland, if not downright awful, as are the cliché lyrics and attempts at humor and sounding hard. It truly is the unfortunate truth that most of the Oxnard emcees, and the producers who step in the booth, are hardly worth listening to. Who out of that crew is actually impressive? Oh No is mediocre at best as a rapper, and so is his brother Madlib. But at least they are saved by their talents as producers. The same cannot be said for Roc ‘C’, MED, and the others, who are better off leaving their skilled friends’ beats as instrumentals.

This whole mess of Roc 'C' spoiling the beats could have been completely avoided if this had been a strictly instrumental record. If that was the case, The Transcontinental's rating would be higher -- much higher, to be precise. Unfortunately for this talented producer, his efforts here are bogged down by an emcee who rarely delivers the goods. But let it be known that IMAKEMADBEATS is an artist to watch for. And he plans on dropping a self-titled solo debut relatively soon.

5

So far J. J. Abrams and Rian Johnson resemble children at play, remaking the films they fell in love with. As an audience, however, we desire a fuller experience.

As recently as the lackluster episodes I-III of the Star Wars saga, the embossed gold logo followed by scrolling prologue text was cause for excitement. In the approach to the release of any of the then new prequel installments, the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare, followed by the Lucas Film logo, teased one's impulsive excitement at a glimpse into the next installment's narrative. Then sat in the movie theatre on the anticipated day of release, the sight and sound of the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare signalled the end of fevered anticipation. Whatever happened to those times? For some of us, is it a product of youth in which age now denies us the ability to lose ourselves within such adolescent pleasure? There's no answer to this question -- only the realisation that this sensation is missing and it has been since the summer of 2005. Star Wars is now a movie to tick off your to-watch list, no longer a spark in the dreary reality of the everyday. The magic has disappeared… Star Wars is spiritually dead.

Keep reading... Show less
6

This has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it.

It hardly needs to be said that the last 12 months haven't been everyone's favorite, but it does deserve to be noted that 2017 has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it. Other longtime dreamers either reappeared or kept up their recent hot streaks, and a number of relative newcomers established their place in what has become one of the more robust rock subgenre subcultures out there.

Keep reading... Show less
Theatre

​'The Ferryman': Ephemeral Ideas, Eternal Tragedies

The current cast of The Ferryman in London's West End. Photo by Johan Persson. (Courtesy of The Corner Shop)

Staggeringly multi-layered, dangerously fast-paced and rich in characterizations, dialogue and context, Jez Butterworth's new hit about a family during the time of Ireland's the Troubles leaves the audience breathless, sweaty and tearful, in a nightmarish, dry-heaving haze.

"Vanishing. It's a powerful word, that"

Northern Ireland, Rural Derry, 1981, nighttime. The local ringleader of the Irish Republican Army gun-toting comrades ambushes a priest and tells him that the body of one Seamus Carney has been recovered. It is said that the man had spent a full ten years rotting in a bog. The IRA gunslinger, Muldoon, orders the priest to arrange for the Carney family not to utter a word of what had happened to the wretched man.

Keep reading... Show less
10

Aaron Sorkin's real-life twister about Molly Bloom, an Olympic skier turned high-stakes poker wrangler, is scorchingly fun but never takes its heroine as seriously as the men.

Chances are, we will never see a heartwarming Aaron Sorkin movie about somebody with a learning disability or severe handicap they had to overcome. This is for the best. The most caffeinated major American screenwriter, Sorkin only seems to find his voice when inhabiting a frantically energetic persona whose thoughts outrun their ability to verbalize and emote them. The start of his latest movie, Molly's Game, is so resolutely Sorkin-esque that it's almost a self-parody. Only this time, like most of his better work, it's based on a true story.

Keep reading... Show less
7

There's something characteristically English about the Royal Society, whereby strangers gather under the aegis of some shared interest to read, study, and form friendships and in which they are implicitly agreed to exist insulated and apart from political differences.

There is an amusing detail in The Curious World of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn that is emblematic of the kind of intellectual passions that animated the educated elite of late 17th-century England. We learn that Henry Oldenburg, the first secretary of the Royal Society, had for many years carried on a bitter dispute with Robert Hooke, one of the great polymaths of the era whose name still appears to students of physics and biology. Was the root of their quarrel a personality clash, was it over money or property, over love, ego, values? Something simple and recognizable? The precise source of their conflict was none of the above exactly but is nevertheless revealing of a specific early modern English context: They were in dispute, Margaret Willes writes, "over the development of the balance-spring regulator watch mechanism."

Keep reading... Show less
8
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image