Krish aka EyeASage is not only the music editor here at M.I.S.S., but also a heavy-hitting female emcee on a mission to change the face of hip-hop. Now known as Rocky Rivera, this Bay Area artist dropped her debut self-titled album at the beginning of February after 2 years in the making. This 13-track album with production by 6Fingers, DexBeats, Nick James, Keelay & Zaire, CZA, and Fatgums is full of Cali flavor and West Coast vibes. The album is unforgettable with flawless transitions and songs that could fit into almost any genre of Hip-Hop. The world can never have enough female emcees and Rocky Rivera reminds us of how much we really miss them.
In the first single “MRSHMLO” produced by the Bay Area’s own 6Fingers, Rocky Rivera pretty much sets the tone for the entire album by combining confident, intelligent, and playful lyrics with hard hitting beats. The song is full of Bay Area bravado, as producer 6Fingers flips an E-40 sample using the lyrics, “Never been a marshmallow.” There’s nothing soft about this introductory track from Rocky Rivera. With lyrics like, “You can keep your soft ass beats for the rest of ‘em”, this pinay femcee is never letting you forget that she’s a young woman who is worthy of respect and won’t settle for anything less than the best.” She remains true to this statement throughout the entire album; as you never find her rhyming over mediocre beats.
The third track on the album, “Girl Like Me” (also produced by 6Fingers) features Dun Dun of the Hip- Hop, Reggae, and Dancehall duo Los Rakas. In this song, Rocky Rivera uses auto-tune and a Caribbean-styled flow over a seductive reggae rhythm. This potential club banger is packed with intensity and definitely makes you want to get your dutty wine on. 6Fingers flips April March’s “Chick Habit” on track 4, as Rocky puts her own clever spin on this classic naming it “Trick Habit.” With exaggerated drawls and ad-libs, this track stands out because it displays Rocky Rivera’s ability to switch up her vocal style. The song feels heavily inspired by the drum and bass sound often found in house music and southern rap. In other words, it must be played loudly!
The fourth track on the album, “The Rundown” (produced by Fatgums) shows a harder side of Rocky Rivera as she reps Guerilla and gives the listener a glimpse into what life was like for her growing up. She gives the message that whatever you want to do or be in life, you should always give it your all. In the CZA produced songs “Go There” and “Ride Out”, Rocky’s feminine voice and perspective hit hard against the banging beats and tight production.
Although the entire album is really good, the stand out tracks to me are “Heart” and the Nick James produced joint “I Am Gone”. In “Heart”, Rocky’s raw lyrics and powerful delivery tell the stories of strong women enduring and conquering struggles throughout history. “I Am Gone” finds Rocky switching up her lyrical style once again with a mid-west type of flow similar to Twista. These songs are completely different from one another but both speak to a certain originality, style, and dignity that only a female emcee can bring to the game.
Rocky Rivera’s debut album is lyrically heavy and melodically driven. As a young San Francisco-raised woman of color, her story is unique and her devotion to “the truth” is something that’s been missing in Hip-Hop for awhile. Her messages of female empowerment, respect, and dignity are reminiscent of female emcees Lauryn Hill, Bahamadia, and Sister Souljah. This album is a testament to all the skeptics that true talent is blind to gender. Her debut album proves what most of us knew all along: Hip-Hop can only get stronger with the presence of female emcees.
In case you missed the M.I.S.S. Exclusive video for Rocky Rivera’s single “MRSHMLO”, don’t worry! Here it is again. Check it out!
- ROCK & ROZ Present: Hearts & Minds Mixtape
- M.I.S.S. In The Mix: Rocky Rivera’s “Girl Like Me” Music Video
- M.I.S.S. TV: Rocky Returns– Back to New York
- M.I.S.S. In The Mix: Rock and Roz Present: The Friday Mixtape
- The Music Link List – 06.08.2011