Similar to the earth’s axis, the involvements in Hip-Hop come and go around in a circular motion. Just a couple of years ago, tie-dye clothing of the smedium size and simpleton raps were monopolizing the game, all but muting your usual brand of street-hop. But like history has proven on countless occasions, the streets will eventually take back what rightfully belongs to them.
Still reeking with gunpowder from his collaboration album with Torae just last year, Marco Polo has immediately jumped back in the studio with another mic murderer in Ruste Juxx. Together, on the label which allows its artists to carry arms without the safety, Duck Down Records, the classic rapper/producer combo plan to decapitate the weak links in the industry with their new album The eXXecution. In their fifteen minutes in the TSS hotseat, see exactly how they plan to pull that off.
TSS: So the aligning of the forces which is Ruste Juxx & Marco Polo, that came out accidentally?
Marco Polo: I mean it wasn’t exactly accidental, it just wasn’t…planned. Ruste came through to do a verse for my next solo producer album and when we wrapped that up, I gave him some beats for the project that he was starting. It was like nine beats and he came back and recorded like all of them in the next few weeks and those shits were just…dope! So I was like “Why don’t we just do a project?”
Ruste Juxx: Yeah, my thing was we might as well keep the momentum going!
TSS: But we just saw this movie with you and Torae last year [with] Double Barrell. Is this the new hustle for you? Creating a mini-army of Gangstarr’s?
Marco Polo: (Laughs) Nah, I wouldn’t call it a hustle, I just think I’m taking it back to when one in-house production team or producer used to do albums. It’s really fun for me to work on projects like this because I get to kind of sculpt the sound of an artist in the project from top to bottom. Really be involved and really produce.
TSS: Ruste I remember on the initial promo video, you said writing wack rhymes to the beats Marco gave you would be a total waste. He really brought the killer instinct out in you, huh?
Ruste Juxx: Yeah man, once I heard that shit it sounded like a hit without the rhymes! All I really did was give it an extra push. And the crazy thing was we weren’t even going in with a concept. We were just making joints and then it just came out like that.
Marco Polo: And we went with The eXXecution. Took a simple title and flipped it with the double X’s, which is a play on Ruste Juxx’s name. Pretty cool concept if you ask me and it fit the vibe of the music we were recording.
TSS: And Ruste you may be unfamiliar to some, but you were on Heltah Skeltah’s album Magnum Force in 1998. Was that your first joint? How long have you been around?
Ruste Juxx: Actually I had a few singles and shit around that time but yeah, that’s like the beginning of my career.
TSS: You’re labeled and promoted as Sean Price’s protege. How accurate is that?
Ruste Juxx: I mean…I’m not even worried about nothing like that. Because I think this album is really going to speak for itself. The last one didn’t get to reach the masses like I thought it would but this one is more creative and more what I think the people wanted: straight raw.
TSS: I’ve seen a few commenters/fans’ disclaimers on whether or not you would be able to carry your weight on an album with an established producer like Marco Polo. How do you take to that? Did you expect skepticism going into this project?
Ruste Juxx: Yeah I think I seen one of those before. But I want all of that; as long as someone is talking about Ruste Juxx, period. I ain’t worrying about it. I know I’m one of the best underground…best unknown rappers. And the best period. So with this album, they’re going to see it.
Marco Polo: And half those people would shake Ruste’s hand in public and tell him that he’s dope.
Ruste Juxx: I been all around the world and people tell me that I’m the greatest. Ain’t nobody telling me I’m garbage or nothing.
TSS: Going into the guillotine of the album, Marco. It’s that rough, East Coast ’90s sound. Did you have like a certain batch of beats reserved for a project like this, just in case?
Marco Polo: To be honest, a lot of those beats were already made. Sometimes I’ll make a beat–and I’ll love it, but I won’t necessarily the vision for it at that moment. And when Ruste came through to record some of them, I didn’t know the direction it was going to take. But as soon as he started rhyming, it all made sense. He completed the painting and it was like he was made to be on those beats.
TSS: Obviously the albums dropping today sound nothing like The eXXecution. Do you guys feel like you can still make a dent in the playlists.
Ruste Juxx: Nah, I’m saying, that’s my style! I just come off with that real, authentic Hip-Hop. Hardcore shit! I wasn’t trying to bring something back, I’m trying to bring my new shit forward! (Laughs)
TSS: Do you think the Toronto scene will cling to it Marco?
Marco Polo: Yeah! Toronto is a very tough crowd and audience. They definitely appreciate good Hip-Hop. They call it the “screw-face capital of the world” and they’ll definitely let you know at a show if they feel you suck. But yeah, I think they’ll love the project.
TSS: One track in particular, “You Can’t Stop Me” stands out in its on light. It touches on the loss of family members. Is that what keeps your fire burning to record?
Ruste Juxx: Yeah, I ended my last album Indestructible on the song “Optimistic” just like that too. It was a song dedicated to my sister. So I wanted to end it off the same note. You know, it’s a real ass song.
TSS: I can dig it. What singles do are you planning on marketing?
Ruste Juxx: We’re pushing “Nobody” with “Rearview” on the B-side.
Marco Polo: Yeah we have a 12″ dropping with Fat Beats and we put a bonus track that’s not on the album on there. The remix that I did for Exile’s off his Radio album; I remixed some of the musical elements he actually used to make that album and I got Torae & Ruste on it.
TSS: You’re becoming sort of a Duck Down mainstay Marco. The relationships and conduct of business over there match your needs?
Marco Polo: Oh most definitely, we have a mutual respect. I think ever sense I started producing for Boot Camp Clik on The Last Stand record and Heltah Skeltah, they definitely checked for my music and respected what I do. I mean, Port Authority was two moves away from coming out on Duck Down as well. So shouts out to the entire Duck Down staff.
TSS: So with quality product such as The eXXecution, can we expect further collaborations between the two of you whether it be more albums or tours and such?
Ruste Juxx: Oh hell yeah! I’m try to do a tour for the entire album! We just rocked the Duck Down showcase at SXSW so we just going to keep building. So The eXXecution is definitely going to make niggas tighten their game up.
Marco Polo & Ruste Juxx’s The eXXecution is available on iTunes, Amazon and fine retailers everywhere nationwide courtesy of Duck Down Records. Visit their official Youtube channel for the thirteen part “pre-eXXecution” series and follow Marco Polo & Ruste Juxx on Twitter for further information.
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