Richmond, VA-based artist Roc Raw shares with us his latest project titled Carte Blanche. The 13-track body of Work is produced in its entirety by Dontae Dynamite and features a host of Richmond artists ranging from HAWK, B.O.G, BC Music 1st, King Preme, Sonny Kolfax and many others. As a result of years of artistic growth, Roc Raw proceeds to share with audiences his unique rap style anchored on his core roots and the concept of having artistic freedom.


The project begins with the aptly titled “Intro” which serves as the first salvo from Roc Raw who delivers unfiltered raps over Dontae Dynamite’s soulful and dynamic production which slowly builds up as the song progresses. Here, Roc proceeds with his commanding but choppy flow and insightful lines like“These people are only motivated by greed/God bless up though, also God bless we/We the people they fear/What we can be/You will live on your knees if you let them succeed”. On “Cassanova Frankenstein” he teams up with fellow artist HAWK for a deep dive into social politics and the dynamics of life. The production is haunting and dark and seems a bit too strange for Roc’s stream-of-consciousness raps that reference video games, monsters and the G code that true artists try to uphold. Next up is “Already Dead’, a reflective piece that is underpinned by Roc’s urban documentary style of songwriting where he gives listeners a glimpse into his world. In “One Comet”, the rapper gives his take on the concept of loyalty, self-discovery with a touch of bravado. The production on both tracks is rich, soulful and well-crafted.


Habeeb and Robalu appear on “No Gods”, a story driven track that follows the journey of individuals who have gone through different events and experiences that shaped them.Lines like “I used to smoke, black and mild, back when I was acting wild/ Mum used to smack a child/I gave em back, wow/Looking back at it now, then I have to crack a smile/I was more aggressive then/ but I am more passive now” help set the tone with its semi-autobiographical style and this is followed by insightful verses fromHabeeb and Robalu. “Dream Big” is the quintessential aspiration track that is crafted from a unique perspective where Roc talks about juggling numerous endeavours whilst trying to find his true purpose and getting temporarily derailed by naysayers and haters. “That BS” with B.O.G is a fusion of R&B and rap and explores the dynamics of love in the ghetto and the various love capers men get into when dealing with certain types of women.


“God Looks Like Angie Stone “ is a self-reflective and introspective piece that sees Roc looking at his flaws, mistakes and gradual journey to self-awareness. The track has a dark and solemn vibe and showcases Roc’s vulnerability and spiritual side as he searches high and low for the true meaning of life.“Hoodrat Things With My Friends”is a laidback posse cut that features BC Music 1st, Logos the Poetic and Sonny Kolfax who all give interesting tales about their respective experiences in an urban setting. The production is solemn, and reflective and uses hushed drums that help set the tone for each rapper’s expressive performance and gripping storytelling skills.The project closes out with “Amistaad” featuring King Preme and “John Nash”, the tracks have conscious themes that dive into the true meaning of freedom and the never-ending struggles life presents us that we must be ready for. On both tracks, we also get to hear different sides to Roc Raw’s artistry as he takes listeners through a roller coaster of emotions and thoughts from a unique perspective. Other interesting tracks include “Insomnia” and “Feed the Bots”, which talk about knowledge acquisition and breaking generational yokes.


Ultimately Carte Blanche lives up to its title and we get to hear Roc Raw’s unbridled style that shows different sides to his artistry and life. At certain points, he is reserved and reflective and at other times he is aggressive and unapologetic. The production by Dontae Dynamite is dope for sure, might not be groundbreaking but it gets the job done and works perfectly for the themes explored throughout the project.

Stream Carte Blanche here.


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