Wandering the rowdy streets of Bristol I stepped into one of the city’s most loved bars only to witness the performance of the best young lyricist in the scene: Rocks FOE. The UK’s finest fire spitter, the bona fide beat sculptor, was finally up on the stage among a dozen other Bristol youths. I’ve been a big fan of his ever since his first Legion EP back in 2015 and let me tell you – his live performance was better than I could’ve dreamt of. Born and raised in Croydon, Rocks FOE took the scene by storm with his first self-produced rap-grime hybrid EP released on Black Acre Records. Harmonizing cabalistic beats with sinuous references from the occult, drawing on anime characters and US rappers like Pharaohe Monch and GZA, his unique style set him on the ramp to success – hear for yourself.
Rocks remained passive to the outside world and made rare live appearances. Still, UK producers quickly became spellbound by his talent and this landed him a feature on Commodo’s ‘How What Time’ LP in 2016. His next release from 2017, ’Fight The Good? Fight’, dives even deeper into his true being as he explores daily fights and struggles. Throughout the record he raps about money, family and inner turmoil. His sound scopes beyond the turf of Croydon and unmasks his nerve as he flows at warp speed over beats heavier than a black hole.
In 2018 Rocks comes again strong with his Legion Lacuna EP, and if you’re a true grime head you might even recognize a sound or two. Trance-worthy ominous beats that maintain the speed, nerve and sheer lyrical genius that the Croydon rapper already accustomed his listeners to are unveiled throughout the EP. With less than 10k views on YouTube, I can’t help but bow to the genuine underground flavour of his music. “Legion” is my all-time favourite grime track with lyrics that exude vigour, dynamism, and the confidence to rise above the unworthy.
RELX, Rocks’ latest project, is made up of three EPs produced by the man himself, and I promise you once again this will rocks-foe you off your chair. ‘Part I’, compiled and initially released in 2019 for 24 hours only on Bandcamp, is now (luckily) widely available to buy and stream. ‘Part III’ was released in March this year with ‘Part II’ still being kept hidden from the public. RELX shows a fresh approach to his established style as Rocks draws influences from R&B, contemporary American rap and Western-style gunshot sounds to put together another record that will surely strike your chords if you’ve liked his stuff so far.
Rocks FOE has proven time and again to be one of the most talented rappers of his generation and is truly worthy to be heard by all of you out there who dig UK grime. Head off to his Bandcamp to help support his grassroots music, and let your friends know, too.