Blaq Starr: The King of Roq
Although it'd be premature to compare his back catalog to Baltimore club music's '90s-era veterans and originators, it's becoming more and more apparent that Blaq Starr might be the genre's most popular--and most creative--producer to emerge in this decade. And while his previous DJ mix, last year's short but sweet I'm Banging, emphasized dance-floor smashes like "Get My Gun" and "Ryda Gyrl," his latest disc, the hourlong The King of Roq, is full of invigoratingly weird new tracks that point in new directions, repeating only a couple of songs from his recent, DJ-ready EP for Mad Decent Records, Supastarr.
Some of Blaq Starr's newer tracks--such as "Let's Play," with its spastic arena-rock tom-toms--abandon traditional Baltimore club entirely. "Rock Starrz" and "Let's Go" by RoqStarrz, his collaborative project with Woodie Rock of Dru Hill, tease out the R&B elements of his melodic hooks. But the real shockers are "Gettin' It" and "Swagga Back," where Blaq Starr slows the beat all the way down and proves that he could beat most Southern hip-hop producers at their own game. With his densely textured drum patterns and oddball melodies sounding just as bewitching at molasses-slow tempos, it's starting to sound like good news that Blaq Starr reportedly did some work for the new album for Atlanta rapper Yung Joc.