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

Follow Sa-Roc on Twitter, Facebook and her website, and check her out at one of these upcoming live dates: 

* 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 VibeMass AppealComplex.comEBONY.comBronx BiannualYOYO/SO4 and BET Digital. Feel free to connect with her on Twitter at @sunsing.

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