Hip-hop music constantly suffers from “monkey see, monkey do” syndrome. When a rapper tries something new, many artists will try to emulate this innovation, often with less success.
The latest trend is combining singing and rapping. Artists such as Kid Cudi and B.o.B. are now receiving acclaim for fusing these two styles, leading many rappers to do the same. Roch is the latest artist to try the technique, but he lacks the sonic power to take him there.
When it comes to rhyming, Roch shows definite talent. In the titular “Lightweight Bipolar Mania,” he effortlessly swings through the chaotic sounds created by producer Copper White. While his punchlines aren’t rewind-worthy, his flow is top notch and his rhythm demands the listener’s attention. Unfortunately, this is only one of three instances wherein Roch actually raps.
The album’s biggest issue is that Roch predominantly sings. Unlike B.o.B., who can successfully transition between singing and rapping, Roch can’t seem to find a balance. He opts to sing meaningful songs, including “A Beautiful Curse,” with a less than meaningful voice.
Nevertheless, “Lightweight Bipolar Mania” is littered with catchy tunes that get stuck in your head. One example is “Dracula’s Widow,” a hypnotic track wherein Roch cautions against a predatory female. Combined with the lovely “Another Heart Break” and the grimy “Lace You,” the second half of the album begins to overpower the first.
“Lightweight Bipolar Mania” could have been a rapping/singing album with real staying power, but with subpar singing, marginal rapping and an overall lack of direction, it’s just another album destined to be lost in the shuffle.