Chicago emcees have gone horribly awry or at least that could be the partial perception from the outside. Thankfully, R.O.E. is here to save us all and help save face with the 5 track EP A Backpacker Named R.O.E.. For those paying attention, the caliber of music from Chicago’s West Side resident will come as no surprise. The EP builds off the strength of “I Won” to form an introduction to the latest Chi’s combination of big-city style and Midwestern grit.
All five songs pack punches, with a good mix of traditional soul samples and electronic loops. Tracks like “Revive” and “The Gloves” reveal a man on a mission to shake Hip-Hop from a pop-induced slumber. The backpacker motif seems misplaced, as the strength of the tracks stems from the lyrical skills of the emcee, not any emo-based image. Regardless, fans of all types should check this out and keep his name on their radar.