Marco Polo’s Big Score

Marco Polo’s Big Score
If you’ve been tied into the Canadian music scene in recent years, you’ve heard disheartened gripes about Canuck artists, particularly in hip-hop, having to leave these tepid lands to find commercial success. While those complaints may be true, the reasons behind that reality are hardly cut and dry and, as the recent seismic explosion of hip-hop producer Marco Polo shows, sometimes it’s a case of moving closer to the fire to catch the most heat.

Since relocating to Brooklyn, NY in 2003, the Toronto native has been tagging his growing reputation for classic East coast beats all over the underground, parlaying a teeth-cutting gopher gig at Cutting Room Studios into a steady relationship with Masta Ace, Boot Camp Click, and an ever-expanding host of the city’s finest. Now with only five years in the game, Polo is set to unleash his Rawkus-distributed Port Authority LP, a beastly collection of meaty grade-A cuts featuring the cream of the underground, from Large Professor, Kool G. Rap and Ed O.G. to O.C. and Wordsworth. That’s one quick sprint to star status, and as Polo attests, being in the city was the key.

"I think any producer that’s trying to do hip-hop — especially the type that I’m into — aspires to work with people in New York,” he says. "New York’s just that place. You can be in a random Starbucks or in a shoe store and someone will walk in — you’re always running into artists.” Yet this expat beatsmith isn’t forgetting his roots. Kardinal Offishall gets the call on lead single "War,” a booming track built around a tough beat, ascending vocal arpeggio, and subtle orchestral snippet. Of giving Kardi the nod, Marco says succinctly, "he’s the only person on the album who’s from Canada, so I really just wanted to let it be known [and] send a statement out that we can do this as good as anybody else.”