Head-Roc’s new mixtape, Black Rock Star Super Hero Music (BRSSM), is the work of an artist in his creative prime. BRSSM is an engaging mixture of DC politics, 90’s afrocentrism, hard-hitting beats, and contemporary swag.
Head-Roc, the “Mayor of DC Hip-Hop”, is often described as a local rap legend. But this Chocolate City veteran isn’t resting on his laurels. In addition to his busy performance schedule, Head-Roc also writes periodically for the DC City Paper and the Huffington Post; he is the front man for the hip-hop/go-go band GODISHEUS; and in his spare time he has even run for political office as a dedicated member of the Green Party.
And like a smart politician, Head-Roc uses music to advance his agenda. Many of his rhymes express bold (and sometimes controversial) opinions about racial and socio-economic inequalities. Such heavy subject matter could be burdensome for an average MC. Thankfully, Head-Roc is a “Black Rock Star Super Hero” with the ability to drop knowledge without excessive preachiness.
BRSSM gives you thirteen solid tracks with the lyrical content to satisfy even the most passionate hip-hop junkies, and delivers the top notch musical production to keep the heads nodding.
The stand out track on BRSSM is clearly “Mayor 4 Life”. Head-Roc waxes poetic about Marion Barry as a civil rights hero – not the Chris Rock punch line he became later in life. For those who don’t know, during the 1960’s Barry was a dynamic leader for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). He frequently endured physical abuse in order to protest racial segregation and discrimination.
Another great moment is when Head-Roc re-invents the classic Boogie Down Productions song “I’m Still #1” – cleverly adding a DC twist to it: “Enoch and Earth 1NE are down with us”. You have to love it!
And similar to KRS-One, Head-Roc has a unique way of promoting Black love and cultural awareness without sacrificing his gangsta edge. BRSSM is probably the kind of project that KRS had in mind when he started the edutainment movement.
Be aware, BRSSM is an unapologetically street mixtape (as billed). It has positive messages but contains a little too much profanity for early teens and younger. Perhaps Head-Roc will eventually release a clean version so that youthful listeners can hear what real hip-hop actually sounds like.
The song (from BRSSM) that could have been omitted is “Keep DC Walmart Free”. The track itself is sonically pleasing, but with several Walmart stores already under construction – this battle has been decided. Head-Roc comes across as a Don Quixote figure railing against the corporate behemoth.
But that’s the rebellious spirit and authenticity that separates Head-Roc from other artists. When he says “Save our People”, you know it’s coming straight from the heart.
And at a point when every rapper seems infatuated with strip club culture, Head Roc uses “Black Love Superstars” (over a smooth Prince sample produced by Seed Planter), to describe his attraction to a young lady both physically and intellectually. Instead of talking about his ability to “make it rain”, or discussing what she can do with “no hands”, he humbly describes the slightly nervous feeling every man gets when they encounter a beautiful woman.
In closing, BRSSM is an exceptional mixtape. If you’re a fan of high quality hip-hop without a lot of filler – you should go to: www.head-roc.com and download it immediately. You never know, “You might get some Black Power music tonight”.
The official Black Rock Star Super Hero Music (BRSSM) release party is taking place this Wednesday (May 22nd) at the Jin Lounge (2017 14th Street, NW). The event is from 8:00-12:00pm, and at 9:00 Head-Roc will be interviewed by Dr. Jared Ball. DJ Oso Fresh will be rocking out on the turntables from 10:00 until close.