Much like the issue among veteran and aspiring emcees, the advancements in technology for turntablists have become an interesting evolution to observe. On one side, you have the college kid-turned-deejay who believes three clicks on his new MacBook Pro makes him the next Afrika Bambaataa. And then there’s the old guard like J. Rocc of the world famous syndicate Beat Junkies, whose masterful skills on the ones and twos turn software applications like Serato into a supplementary aid rather than an obligatory crutch to bring the house down.
Aside from over two decades of worldwide deejaying and countless mixes to boot (more recently his Thank You Jay Dee series), J. Rocc had yet to release a seminal project that encapsulated his style. Luckily, Some Cold Rock Stuf is just that: an unyielding kaleidoscope of blaps and blends, with evidence of time spent working alongside J Dilla and Madlib noticeably throughout. Look no further for these influences than on “Thru The Tulips,” a smooth record that features subtle horns and brisk drum kicks to make it light in approach. Similarly, “Stay Fresh” floats with a sublime melody that puts you into a dream-like state. At a little less than 90 seconds, “Stay Fresh” is short and sweet, but more importantly it delivers a distinctive side of Rocc that you wouldn’t typically hear on the road performing.
Some Cold Rock Stuf continues with a gracious mixture of up-tempo and moody cuts, though some are more favorable over others. The funky rhythms on “Party” provide a foot-tapping, hand-clapping vibe that is liable to get the party started while “Play This (Also)” is a high-energy record that weaves a bit of drum rock flare with jazz and funk. On the latter you also get a sense of Rocc’s adept transitioning that would benefit any b-boy battle. Switching gears, the meticulous layering for “Chasing The Sun” leaves an eerie feeling that is as alluring as it is haunting. Unfortunately the same can’t be said for “Malcolm Was Here (Part 1 & 2)” and “Stop Trying,” where the former records’ experimental breaks waver without a distinguishable spot to harken back to in the seven minute performance.
J. Rocc’s Some Cold Rock Stuf acts as a nice collector’s item for the Beat Junkies' faithful followers, as well as a commendable effort for listeners not necessarily attuned to the famed deejays’ repertoire. Depending on what the mystery disc entails (yes, there’s one of three included), you’d be wise to pick this up or check him out next time he’s in town. Either way, you can’t go wrong with some cold Rocc stuff.