AUDIO: Ones and Zeroes – Carl Roe

Carl Roe - Ones & Zeroes front

Carl Roe - Ones & Zeroes back

If memory serves, 206UP was one of the first (if not the first) local website to feature a piece of rapper/producer/sound engineer Carl Roe’s music (that would be this internet-ancient episode of 206UP’s The TrackMeet — remember those?). Carl won that contest and, in his estimation, has been proverbially winning ever since.

Ones and Zeroes is his debut full length album and, as the album cover illustrates, it’s the sprawling portrait of an MC weathered by a hard life: Roe is an Iraq war veteran with a childhood that was far from sunny. Hardscrabble lyricism abounds on Ones and Zeroes, with bars reserved for dismissive bloggers, talent bookers and short-sighted musical peers (see: “No No,” “Ones and Zeroes”). But there’s also a well-woven autobiographical narrative (“Eye For An I,” “The River”) that likely informs the darkness found elsewhere on the album: the unsettling killer’s fantasy “Murder On The Clock” and paranoid, pro-Second Amendment “Fire Sale”).

The boom-bap production is parts soulful and rugged, matching subject matter, and beat credits include Brainstorm, DJ Semaj, Randy Ross, and Trox. Roe also enlists a bunker of loyal MC lieutenants including frequent collaborators Ripynt and Produktive. Ones and Zeroes is probably two or three tracks too long, but by far represents Carl Roe’s best work to date.

Audio Audio / Video

NEW MUSIC: Underrated – Carl Roe & Ripynt

Underrated - Carl Roe & Ripynt

L.A.C.O.S.A.’s Carl Roe and local rap veteran Ripynt teamed up for Underrated, a nine-shot EP of furious rhymes, bars and lyrics… Oh, right, those are all the same thing. Well this duo has ’em in spades. Carl Roe’s production is serviceable boom-bap: check the well-interpolated Jimi Hendrix sample on “Want It For You” (featuring Mack E) and the retro futurist knock of the title track. Eminem would sound damn good rapping over these instrumentals — whatever that means. Download Underrated for free below.

Audio Downloads

VIDEO: “Bruja” – Carl Roe (dir. by Produktive; prod. by Ill Tal)

Carl Roe’s rappity rap gets hella dark on his new song and video, “Bruja” (“Witch” in Spanish). There’s a metaphor in there if you feel like transposing for Rap Genius. The track is off CR’s upcoming Ones & Zeroes which has the nebulous “forthcoming” release date.


NEW MUSIC: The Mini Tape – Carl Roe & Produktive

Click album cover to download.

Local boys Carl Roe and Produktive (collectively Roe and Pro … clever) recently dropped The Mini Tape, six new joints produced by a crew out of London called Dumb Beats. DJ No Mercy taunts you throughout. The Booth has your hook-up.

Audio Downloads

DOWNLOAD: “Can’t Help Myself” – Carl Roe (feat. Peta Tosh)

Click track art to download.

Carl Roe and Peta Tosh talk some smooth shit over a Slimm Gemm beat. These two MCs have chosen to make Seattle the center of their rap hustle and I believe the scene is better for it. Check out PT’s The Takeoff Part 2 here, and CR’s The Broken Time Machine at this location.

“Can’t Help Myself” – Carl Roe (feat. Peta Tosh)


DOWNLOAD & REVIEW: The Broken Time Machine – Carl Roe

Click album cover to D/L.

MC Carl Roe is an interesting entrant to the Seattle rap scene. A native of Elgin, Illinois, a conflicted youth in the Midwest followed by an enlistment and tour of duty in Iraq as a U.S. Army Infantryman is the path Roe followed before his arrival in Seattle, where he is now a hopeful and hustling artist in the local hip-hop scene.

206UP.COM became familiar with Roe back in January in the second edition of The TrackMeet (click here for that post). His winning entry, “Lock it Down, Sew it Up,” was a frantic double-time composition paired with boasts by the MC of his superior rap skills. After getting past the beat, which had a fairly dated feel, a hungry rapper with a very natural flow and knack for maneuvering complicated rhyme patterns was revealed.

The Broken Time Machine is Carl Roe’s official entry into the Seattle hip-hop landscape. It’s eight tracks long and has an old-school feel, with big beats and breaks, a few overwrought rock flourishes and Roe’s signature double-time. “Stuntman” (the previously-released single featuring J. Bre, another up-and-coming Town MC) is the best track, a commanding declaration of the two rapper’s dominance over their lesser competition, or “stuntmen” as they call them.

“The voice of the Army Infantry in hip-hop,” as Roe claims in his bio, his stint in the Army informs the lyrical foundation of TBTM. Deeply affected by his Iraq war experience, the MC is unashamed of allowing his music to act as an outlet for his anguish, especially on the emotive “We Own the Night” which has an Evanescence-like quality (for better or worse).

It’s a safe bet Carl Roe’s style will not resonate with everyone. His flow and beat choice operate at-odds with contemporary hip-hop, and of course there will be the requisite criticisms centered around his skin color. No matter. What Seattle has in this artist is an MC focused intently on the craft and how his particular life experience fits in to it. In hip-hop, that’s all you can really ask for.

Album Reviews Downloads The TrackMeet

DOWNLOAD: The Revelation EP – J. Bre

Click album cover to D/L.

The Revelation EP is J. Bre’s follow-up to 2010’s Street Signs. J’s straight-forward no-nonsense approach to rhyming was the best part of Signs, but also the MC’s greatest handicap when it came to finding relevance inside a genre populated by novelty lyricists and throwaway punchline flows. On Revelation the rapper finds comfortable middle ground, diversifying his cadence but not losing the authentic steez that separates him from the fakes. Notable guest appearances here include Carl Roe, Grynch, Luck-One, and Justis. Available for the price of three clicks above and below.

Downloads Listen