That crack of thunder you heard? That’s her voice. Her tawny locs swinging like vines, she flexes high fedoras, ornate jewelry, bold graphic prints and formidable talent. She’s Sa-Roc, a southeast Washington D.C.-born MC who was named after activist Assata Shakur and the metaphor of unbreakable gemstones. (She’s a southern transplant nowadays, living in the heart of Atlanta.)
In the average Sa-Roc song, the verbal tongue-twisters fly like Black fists because she is (clearly) a rap child of the “golden era.” Always joy-riding a little behind the beat. She was raised in Chocolate City at a time when its population was 99.99999 percent Black, “mumbo sauce”-smothered boxes of fried shrimp (or a Soul Vegetarian “Garvey burger,” on the sly) were the bomb, and go-go music was the city’s polyrhythmic heartbeat. You hear all that D.C.-ness up in Sa-Roc’s jagged delivery. Call it a deep ancestral bump.
“Between Friends” is a Flying Lotus-produced treasure that finds Sa-Roc waxing reflective about the troubled youth in her community. The caliber of her collaborators (Fly-Lo, David Banner) and surprise guest appearances on singles and stages (most recently opening up for rappers Common and Jay Electronica) only emphasize the obvious: this fiery lyricist is the truth.
The track is the first single off her stellar release, The Legend of Black Moses mixtape, Sa-Roc’s underground mash-up of musical pairings with the likes of J.Cole, Meek Mill, Kanye West, Schoolboy Q and D’Angelo. In an amazing year for ladies in hip-hop, here comes another one.—Sun Singleton
* Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA April 2
* Trinity International Hip Hop Festival, Hartford, CT, April 11
* Kent State University, Kent, Ohio, April 24
* Soundset in Shakopee, MN w/J.Cole, Big Sean and Ice Cube, May 24
* The Roots Picnic w/Africa Bambaataa, Philadelphia, PA, May 30
Sun Singleton is a musician/editor/journalist based in New York City whose work has been featured in a variety of publications, including Vibe, Mass Appeal, Complex.com, EBONY.com, Bronx Biannual, YOYO/SO4 and BET Digital. Feel free to connect with her on Twitter at @sunsing.
Welcome to INTRODUCING—EBONY.com’s showcase for the hottest independent artists bubbling up underneath the mainstream music industry! On a weekly basis, we’ll feature video visuals and info on some of the most talented artists around the country. EBONY.com’s INTRODUCING helps these indie artists spread their voices internationally!