ALBUM REVIEW: New Orleans Experimental Hip-Hop Duo MarkRob Set to Release Two Projects: 'Coffee and CBD' and 'Green Leaf Chronicles'

Under the canopy of early April showers, I'm sitting at my desk with a cup of hot java and an aromatic candle listening to the dope sounds of MarkRob, a hip hop duo made up of two thirty-something-year-old brothers named Mark Focus and Hansum Rob.  Because one is just never enough, the New Orleans natives are dropping two projects, "Coffee and CBD" and "Green Leaf Chronicles", at the same damn time! On April 15th, 2021, MarkRob will release both albums on all major streaming platforms. 

"Coffee and CBD" is a soulful, multi-dimensional and invigorating album that fuses musical elements of jazz, soul, and hip hop to make a smooth experimental chill-hop sounding collection of songs. The project is a mix of live instrumentation, funky vocals, and classic rap beats.  Some of the sweet notes on the album include Century which opens with some almost gospel sounding piano chords, Coffee and CBD, and Yo Vibe

You Matched Me has the sensation of a live performance. It is out-of-the-box--special even. The lyrical content keeps up with the musical vibe, "you had my back, you on my side, I feel your love. It's magnified".  The Way You Love Me has undertones of everything from Jodeci to Oukast. Its a unique track that  ticks off a number of genre boxes. Overall, this project feels carefully curated and well constructed. 

"Greenleaf Chronicles" is a futuristic, upbeat rap project that features Mark and Rob delivering poetic, rhythmic lyrics to a series of underground hip hop feeling beats.  

One of the highlights of Greenleaf Chronicles is the lyrical content. There are a number of songs that read as ballads-- light on the R&B, a dab of jazz/funk, with a side of trap.  Truly innovative. I connected immediately with Grown Man Wife.  "You don't love a pop quiz, but you love to test me." In his flow and delivery, Mark Focus captures the nostalgic essence of the early 2000s era a-la Aaliyah and Usher.  But this time around, there's a smooth jazz edge.

Adebayo a fast moving rap track with hard hitting rhymes and a sick beat. Work Gets Done juxtaposes grand piano loops with the high hats of a trap beat. Other tracks that standout include Rhymsees and Low Maintenance.

"What we got is special. I represent you, you represent me..."

While they've been making music for 20 years, they are just starting to release music to the world. Perhaps part of what makes Mark Focus, 36 and Hansum Rob, 38 able to deliver at such a high bar is their rich cultural heritage. They were born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. And some of their funky fusion of jazz, hip hop, and soul  can be attributed to the sounds abounding the city's rich musical legacy. 

With "Coffee and CBD" and "Green Leaf Chronicles", MarkRob brings a fresh yet familiar sound to music.  Both projects have totally different styles; its almost as if it's 2 different artists. Your ears will thank me for putting you on. 


Instagram: @MarkRobMusic


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