Roc Marciano returns with “Rosebud’s Revenge 2: The Bitter Dose” and it’s in the conversation for his best work to date. Whether you point to cohesiveness, production, or lyrical performance; you’d be right. The album was initially only available for $30 directly from him as opposed to streaming platforms. His message about why he charged right out of the gate before he allowed it to be streamed? “Anything that I make, it is what I say it’s worth.” -“67 Lobby”
There’s a story being told from the perspective of someone who was very hands on. In a recent interview with Rap Radar, Roc likened his storytelling to a Vietnam veteran in the sense of not being involved in that behavior today but reminiscing about old ‘war stories’.
“Respected” sets the tone immediately, by title and more importantly sound. Whenever you start your album off with a gem such as “fox fur on my evening coat, I gave these heathens hope.” I’ve already decided to place at least $20 in the collection plate. Also, made me realize I need an evening coat myself.
“y’all grew up in houses, we grew up in housing. now my outfits cost a couple thousand bucks, so fuck the browsing.” -“Respected”
Roc doesn’t shy away from telling tales of the pain that ultimately propelled him to success. There’s remorse expressed at certain junctures of the album. Evident on “Tent City” when he says “come slang this work, did a gang of dirt. now the diamonds hang on my shirt; that’s life and I later learned…shouldn’t have taken that old lady’s purse.” Often times in hip-hop, we hear rappers justify their wrongdoings without actually holding themselves accountable. Roc not only offers insight on why he did it but for what it’s worth, hoped said old lady got her money back somehow. I enjoyed that specific part because it could’ve been the opening scene to a classic hood movie.
The Action Bronson assisted “Corniche” is quite possibly the most beautiful song on the whole album. Complete with a Mumm-Ra (“Thundercats”) reference, this song sounds like it should be played in every museum available.
“dug Jesus out the grave, found him rockin’ a chain. my face was on the piece, ain’t no toppin’ my name. for over 20 years ya boy been whippin’ drops in the rain. butt naked playin’ Tekken, I’m on top of my game.” -Action Bronson
As you listen to the album, you pick up on just how layered the writing is. Roc cited the autobiography of Miles Davis as inspiration when he sat down to write. He also spoke about why each sample he used on this album was important. They all spoke directly to his soul or the theme of what he sat out to deliver on any given track. Another reason why this album feels so authentic and heartfelt.
“check the horoscope, money whores and coke.”
“to assure shit go accordingly, only talk to me in Portuguese. if we get pregnant, we’ll have some gorgeous seeds.”
“tennis necklace with the pendant, rocked the heavy shit so long my neck was injured. peep the way I dress, this shit expensive. for this, I coulda went to Princeton.”
Those lines are all from the same song. Brought me back to the days where we would not only rewind a few lines to make sure we caught it all but bring the whole song back if there were too many gems. “Bedspring King” is one of the many highlights of this project.
On “Happy Endings” we get a Max B-esque vocal performance from Roc as he harmonizes like the brown water and good herb was around in abundance. The beat almost makes you want to wear a trench coat, husky sweater, and a good pair of Timbs.
Overall, this album is full of complex yet easy to digest wordplay, advice as a result of lessons learned, and the flyest slick talk you’ll hear anywhere. Bitter Dose in the simplest form is Roc’s way of saying this music is the medicine you might not necessarily appreciate if you can’t comprehend how good it is for you. He flat out said “this is medicine for ni***s” on “Tent City“. 15 tracks of audio excellence and jewels from the jeweler himself. It’s one of my favorite albums of the year so far. I implore you to let this fly from front to back.