“I want to score movies.”

Roc Marciano’s biggest goal isn’t to achieve the riches that mainstream success brings, or to go platinum. He just really wants to score films.

“I make cinematic music that's more for movies and not for clubs, so I think that's the natural progression,” Marciano tells me while grabbing a big piece of shrimp by the tail. In keeping with the mobster decor in New York’s famed John’s of 12th Street, we’re both wearing bibs, so as not to get sauce on our garments. “I want to challenge myself,” he adds. “Staying safe is not where I want to be.”

I invited Marciano to the East Village restaurant for a meal of crustaceans because it seems like the right kind of place to meet a guy who writes music that makes you feel like a crime boss discussing fates over pasta. After the busy 2018 he had, we have a lot to talk about. Following RR2: The Bitter Dose in February, Roc gave us Behold a Dark Horse and KAOS (with DJ Muggs) in October before teaming up with Adult Swim to close out the year with Pimpstrumentals.

Marciano’s prolific run put the 41-year-old rapper in a position to finally get his flowers. He’s a veteran, though, and isn’t surprised by all the attention he’s been receiving. He knows the game. “I’m not on a major, and I don’t have people in office buildings fighting for dollars for me,” he says. “As far as getting all the love and notoriety, I knew that was just a matter of me putting out more music and just staring in their face. So it don’t surprise me at all.”