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Written by Aidan Werder
East New York’s Rocko Ballin continues to separate himself from the pack with his distinct brand of the NY drill sound on “Hope & Pray” - the first visual dropped since the release of his impressive debut project, Lucky Last Born, on March 19th.
“Hope & Pray” is the perfect introduction to Rocko Ballin’s unique sound - a style that blends the most distinctive parts of the drill sound with his surprisingly mature melodies and silky smooth vocals. “Hope & Pray” (produced by a superteam of EliWTF, A Lau, and LNK) takes those iconic drill hi-hats and bassy 808’s and pairs them with an understated piano and string instrumental to set the stage for Rocko’s effortless flow that changes up every few bars.
The visual, directed by Photographir, features Rocko and company roaming the streets of Manhattan as he delivers his verses - even while he gets fresh ink on his arms from the mobile tattoo man.
It’s hard to believe that Lucky Last Born is Rocko’s first official body of work - on which “Hope & Pray” serves as the outro - tying a nice bow on a fresh-sounding, fully developed, and overall impressive album with numerous catchy single-worthy tracks like “Famous”, “Safety” and “Demon On Me.” It also features two dope tracks that dropped ahead of the project’s release, “Phased” and “On My Shoulder” featuring frequent collaborator, 26ar. Throughout the project Rocko offers different versions of his signature melodic sound - combining the best parts of our favorite melodic rappers like A Boogie, LilTjay, and PNB Rock with the now iconic Brooklyn drill sounds to create a new lane that is catchy and fresh, yet still definitely drill and most definitely New York.
Rocko Ballin began making noise in 2020 with a steady stream of well-executed singles and collaborations including “Mob”, “Wanna Know” and “Manuever” - the latter of which was featured on the Deluxe version of 26ar’s album, Drench Em, which dropped in December and went on to become one of the biggest to date songs for both artists, reaching over 1.4M views on Youtube. It’s worth noting that Rocko and 26ar are members of Off Record Music, a group of promising young drill artists and producers from Brooklyn home to other rising artists like Tazzo B and Ola Runt as well as accomplished producers like Rambow and A Lau (who co-produced “Hope & Pray”).
It’s safe to say that Rocko Ballin came out of the gate swinging with Lucky Last Born. Be sure to check out the video for “Hope & Pray” below - as well as the video for “Phased” and the rest of Rocko Ballin’s official debut.