Marcelo D2 Looking for the Perfect Beat

With most hip-hop coming out of Brazil being — to put it most politely — a work in progress, at least in terms of musicality, former Planet Hemp front-man Marcelo D2 draws upon the tried and true rhythms of samba to form the basis of his attempted fusion of these two very distinct genres. It’s an experiment that pays off in dividends, pushing to the fore a profoundly danceable element of a genre where most of his peers are focused almost entirely on lyrical and cerebral stimulation. The heavy influence of American hip-hop on D2 as an artist — who again enlists the services of long-time producer Mario Caldato Jr. and features the razor sharp cuts of Mixmaster Mike on a number of the album’s tracks — presents itself not only musically, but also in the emcee’s cadence and flow. Indeed, the album’s very title, Looking for the Perfect Beat, is a testament to American hip-hop’s storied past, as is b-boy anthem "Pilotando o Bonde da Ercursão,” which borrows from the "Rapper’s Delight” melody. Conversely, "Profissão M.C.,” with its stuttered, choppy beat, and the full rhythmic live percussion and traditional, samba-styled chorus of "Re: Batucada,” represent the new school of Brazilian hip-hop. Looking for the Perfect Beat is a welcome example of the sub-genre’s musical possibilities (Mr. Bongo)