If a master class for hip-hop producers ever emerges, Prince Paul will be in the first group of instructors. The former Stetasonic member has had his hands in the mix of so many different landmark moments, ranging from his solo work to early De La Soul, Gravediggaz, Handsome Boy Modeling School plus more that make his Wikipedia stacked. His latest body of work comes in the form of an idea 10 years in the making, born from a trip to Brazil.
BROOKZILL! is a quartet that includes Prince Paul, Ladybug Mecca of Digable Planets fame, Brazilian MC Rodrigo Brandão and Don Newkirk, who many will remember for his scene-stealing “Gas Face” appearance, but who’s also an accomplished producer-musician in his own right. Paul and Brandão met a decade ago and exchanged ideas for doing material together. Factor in a few years of back and forth international travel between the two, the call to add in Mecca, who’s fluent in Portuguese as well as the daughter of Brazilian musicians, and what started as a few songs turned into the decision to create a full body of work.
Yesterday, the foursome premiered their debut album via Bandcamp, and Throwback to the Future is a clever mix of hip-hop beats, Brazilian samples and multilingual rhymes. The collection is a dozen tracks of light but funky grooves infused with Afro-Brazillian samples to add touches of spice. Ladybug and Rodrigo handle the bulk of the vocals as guests like Count Bass D, Del Tha Funky Homosaphien and others make contributions. The tunes feel organic, which was most important to Paul and Rodrigo from the outset as they made it a point to work together in the same space.
“You know how it is nowadays; cats are like, ‘Yo, what you got?! Just email me some beats’,” Paul explained. “They rhyme on it, send it back. I like working with people. There’s an energy. It was imperative for us to be in the same place to even start anything.” Obviously, a lot of flights and extended stays between countries were required but the music that came from it prove to be worth it because of the chemistry created.
Don Newkirk best describes the LP. “I think the title says it: it’s a throwback to the future,” he said. “It’s not just what’s old is new–it’s what’s old is more genuine.”
Stream Throwback to the Future below, courtesy of Bandcamp, where it’s also available for purchase.