Double Barrel – Marco Polo + Torae

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By Bryan Covet

“We wanted to give them a record to make them reminisce to,” Torae the mouth piece of the producer/emcee duo out of Brooklyn states on the opening track. To anybody that has been into to hip hop for more than a decade like myself, would recognize and realize that this album sounds like it was dug up from a time capsule buried beneath the hot streets of Brooklyn around fifteen years ago. The boom bap, heavily sample based beats have been a staple of Toronto born producer Marco Polo for a number of years. He stays true to the early years of hip hop when it comes to his tools of the trade: Akai MPC2000xL, Technique 1200’s, and a dusty collection of vinyl.

As an instrumental album alone Double Barrel, released on the legendary Duck Down record label, would cause a heavy stir in the hip hop world. As a proverbial icing on the cake Brooklyn emcee Torae raps with a razor blade under his tongue, cutting through each kick and snare with a hunger reminiscent of the greats: Nasty Nas, O.C., Kool G Rap, Masta Ace and many others.

For many years now hip hop has been going through a violent roller coaster of imposters claiming true to what the culture is all about. Their formula has gone something like this: lay down a gang of generic break loops, hit a few synthetic string chords on a Triton, get an obnoxious DJ to yell at the beginning and the end of the song, and then find somebody claiming to be an emcee that has absolutely nothing to say and get him to do so for three verses. (Let's skip the whole video side of things. We all know what it looks like to sell the same thing.)

In the race to salvage what is left of the true elements of hip hop, prying it from the blinged out clutches of the industry, a purchase of Marco Polo & Torae’s Double Barrel is a vote for all that is good in hip hop culture: Beats, rhythms, and life.