[15 August 2010]
New York City-by-way-of-Toronto producer Marco Polo has been making a name for himself for the last decade by embracing the gritty and grimy boom-bap sound of the East Coast. He jumped from one hardcore MC to the next, creating sole producer albums for the likes of Pumpkinhead, Torae, and, most recently, Ruste Juxx. Polo also worked on his solo career, releasing the very solid Port Authority in 2006. With that project’s sequel in the works, the producer wanted something to appease his die-hard fans.
The end result is a compilation of rare and/or unreleased material from throughout his career. The Stupendous Adventures of Marco Polo, doesn’t necessarily live up to its namesake, but it’s still a fine representation of the breadth of Polo’s abilities. Many of the beats on here presumably come from his past, which means you’re getting leftovers and rarities from a time when he was creating some of his best work. As such, even relative unknowns on this project—like D-Stroy and Bad Seed who kill it on “Buggin Out”—find their voices reaching new levels thanks to Polo’s gutter boom-bap anthems. The bigger names, which include previous collaborators Large Professor and Torae, are equally engaging, as are Polo’s remixes of DJ K.O., Exile, and Diamond District. Where the project falls short on the whole, though, is that it’s unlikely any new listeners will be won over. If you’re not down with the whole grimy NYC-sound, move along. However, for fans of Polo’s work, this is well worth picking up, if only to hear what else he was up to while working with Torae, Ruste Juxx, and others.