“Astonishing” - Marco Polo, ft. Large Professor, Inspectah Deck, O.C., Tragedy Khadafi & DJ Revolution
"This shit is called Astonishing for a reason. Enjoy. PA2 coming soon." -Marco Polo
It’s been six years since Marco Polo took the hip-hop world by storm with his Rawkus/Soulspazm Records debut LP, Port Authority. This album not only established the Toronto, Canada native as one of the top emerging producers in his field, but also transformed Marco into a very sought-after collaborator as well. He has since gone on to release the collaborative project with Torae, Double Barrel, in 2009 and has also worked with acclaimed artists such as; Masta Ace, Special Teamz, Heltah Skeltah, Buckshot, KRS-One, Talib Kweli, Pharoahe Monch, Sean Price, Copywrite, Vinnie Paz and Large Professor.
After generating tremendous momentum this summer with his free LP, Newport Authority 2, Marco Polo returns to offer up the highly anticipated sequel, PA2: The Director’s Cut, which is the culmination of thousands of hours of creative energy, manpower, crate-digging, knob-twisting, Newport-smoking and coffee-bingeing, to create an impeccable infrastructure of music that will resonate with hip-hop fans across the world.
Fans have already heard glimpses of what MP has in store for PA2: The Director’s Cut, as his heartfelt dedication to Gang Starr’s Guru (“G.U.R.U.” featuring Talib Kweli & DJ Premier) not only went viral in a day, but also clearly resonated with the late MC’s friends and family as they offered up their support for the track. The LP’s most recent leak, “3-O-Clock” did what hip-hop fans have been impatiently waiting on for over fifteen years; reuniting Organized Konfusion (Pharoahe Monch and Prince Po) on the same track. Official music videos for these tracks will be released in the weeks leading up to the album. The “G.U.R.U.” video is a nostalgic tribute to the legendary lyricist, directed by Todd Angkasuwan, while “3-O-Clock”, directed by The Doppelgangaz, effectively captures the grimy and gritty New York vibe on this MP x OK collabo.
PA2: The Director’s Cut is not a “compilation” project. Rather, much like projects from the producers (Jay Dee, Pete Rock, DJ Premier, etc), that have influenced Marco, it’s a seamlessly blended piece of art featuring a who’s-who of the industry’s top MCs; each track crafted and specialized to fit each MC’s strengths. This is evident throughout PA2. On “West Coast Love” Marco displays his versatility, cooking up some premo G-Funk for West Coast legends MC Eiht and King Tee to spread their Cali love on. Further, “Astonishing” featuring Large Professor, Inspectah Deck, O.C. and Tragedy is like riding shotgun to “The Tunnel” in Doc Brown’s DeLoreon, and the shimmering “Strange Brew” with Gangrene (Alchemist & Oh No) pushes the BPMs to maximum levels. The LP’s apt closing track, “Glory” (Finish Hard) featuring Masta Ace, A.G. and Posdnuos (of De La Soul) offers up a hilarious commentary from Ace on Marco’s tedious “work ethic” and ends with commentary from everyone’s favorite beer-drinking Canucks Bob and Doug McKenzie (of Strange Brew fame) who revisit their “Strange Brew” days.
For nearly 10 years, Marco’s mission has remained the same: to keep the masses moving and their heads bobbing, and PA2: The Director’s Cut is a shining testament to that. “I put together an album that I felt picked up where Port Authority left off but updated it for 2013. I’m proud to finally let this album out into the world. It’s a long-ass album and I don’t give a flying #!@*. At the end of the day I’m excited with the finished product; which took me five-plus years to create. DJ connoisseurs can also expect some of finest-quality cutting courtesy of DJ Revolution, DJ Premier, Shylow, DJ Linx & DJ Romes. Moving forward, I’m seriously looking forward to touring this record and smacking them MP pads live for all those inviting me to do so. Catch me traveling the world again soon backing my big bro Masta Ace, as well as rocking some solo production sets for the hip-hop heads.” Marco states.
One of my all time favorit’es, J-Zone (aka the metrocard millionaire) just dropped his first album in 9 years and its BANANAS. Listen/purchase a copy from band camp, an dmaybe J will finally be able to move out of his grandma’s house…
It Took A Decade, But J-Zone Is Back With “Peter Pan Syndrome” (AKA The Soundtrack For 30-Somethings Who Feel “Growing Up” Is Not An Option!)
J-Zone’s Triumphant Return Will Be Released On 9-10-2013
“Inspiration always knocks on the door when you’re trying to get some sleep. That’s the only explanation I’ve got for returning to being a recording artist after my well-documented and firm retirement from the music business in 2009. I didn’t think there was a snowball’s chance under Paula Deen’s ass that I’d ever make music again. I’m returning to an uphill climb: bloggers and tastemakers half my age, general relevance that has gone from minimal to nearly non-existent and the viral phenomenon has replaced the slow burn method I’ve become accustomed to. But every Jay-Z needs a broke cousin counterpart like J-Zone to return to a (much) more modest rap arena after sworn retirement.
Like my turbulent ups and downs in the music biz inspired my book (Root For the Villain), the rollercoaster ride of life-altering decisions and expectations that have come with post-rap life (and one’s 30s in general) have inspired my first J-Zone solo album in nine years, Peter Pan Syndrome. Of course it’s somewhat of a concept album; I had to ask myself (and the general public) “Do rap artists ever have to ‘grow up?’” If so, what does that entail?
As a rap artist who at one point was able to survive on modest earnings, but not big enough to really stack money and become a household name, I’ve landed in an odd position. I never formally entered the workforce until my mid-30s and my lack of “real world” experience has made a career search a grim, albeit hilarious ride. Bringing home $50 a day after taxes and expenses with no room to advance (and eventually working a total of 80 hours per week to make it $150!) was hardly ideal, but that was my reality for a good while and if I couldn’t produce something entertaining out of that quicksand jog, I’d be wasting both the experience and my sense of humor. It was also pretty funny to literally be laughed out of an employment agency earlier this year for my “unverifiable” work history in the rap game. Then all this talk about lacking “experience” and my peers saying I can’t be walking around with a retro haircut if I’m serious about finding a nice, secure, dead end job. The nerve!
So how did I respond? In the most un-adult manner possible: I eschewed grad school and instead spent my money on old drum kits and learned how to play a little bit, giving a different edge to my production. I turned every blog I was preparing to post on my platform at Ego Trip into a rap song and gave select moments from my book got the same treatment. I called up some old friends (rappers Al-Shid, Celph Titled and Breeze Brewin and cameo-makers Prince Paul, R.A. the Rugged Man and Oxygen), some new ones (rapper Has-Lo and multi-instrumentalist Hot Sugar) and my alter egos (unemployed shit-talkers Chief Chinchilla and Swagmaster Bacon) to help me create the most honest record of my career, yet still by far the most vulgar, lowbrow and juvenile, considering my age. Wish me luck, because if this doesn’t work, I’m gonna start doing slip-and falls in different Whole Foods locations across America for money. Anything to never join a site like monster.com again, and keep getting e-mails for shit I’m not qualified for.”
J-Zone’s “Peter Pan Syndrome” will be released in Digital, CD & Cassette (limited to 200 total in 2 different tape shell colors) formats; and Vinyl coming later in the year; you can pre-order the LP now at j-zone.bandcamp.com.