BEAT TAPE TO PEEP: FOR EVERY MISS, YOU GAIN from Rokem
Rokem has transcended the game – he is just a being of musical energy that floats in the lotus above it all.
And why not? He’s been in crews, trios, supergroups. He’s killed it in battles and accumulated a hefty solo discography over the years as well as becoming one of LA’s most acknowledged and well-liked indie hip-hop beatmakers.
So when he drops a tape, he's not held back by anything and he's informed by his pretty wide-ranging experiences so I listen.
This latest one makes me feel like we’re in the same generation because I appreciate and feel the pool of pop culture he’s sampling from : Michael Myers movies, Michael Jackson, John Williams, Steely Dan.
The tape to me sounds like he’s doing what he wants and I’ll point out the drums specifically as something he’s insanely good at even when he’s just having fun. Even some of the songs that could have been beatflips a decade ago have something extra and sophisticated in the crispy modern percussive elements. His Nipsey remix, “Overtime”, the only vocal filled song on the record shows how Rokem plays with lateral angles in timing and context even when doing something west coast melodic and straight forward.
The artist has no obligation to do so really but I am impressed with how Rokem always balances a certain level of knocking percussion, familiar samples, fresh weird angles and thoughtful timing and sequencing in each of his projects. It’s never too straightforward or too weird and it usually works – he’d rather be interesting than be guaranteed the audience’s attention, because with all his musical gambling he’ll probably earn it every time anyway.
Tristan "Tanjint Wiggy" Acker is a staff writer for Zus Entertainment, a Jooseboxx and Untapped Hip-Hop contributor, and member of the Inland Empire, California based nerdculture hip-hop group the West Coast Avengers