REVIEW: Marco Polo & Torae’s Double Barrel

When I saw the title for this album, the first words I thought of were “I… am the magnificent”. But are Marco Polo & Torae subliminally saying they too are magnificent? No need to hide behind a guise, for this hip-hop duo are definitely going to make a name for themselves in a positive way.

Double Barrel (Duck Down) is an album that delivers both lyrically and musically, and I say that especially in 2009 since a lot of times a hip-hop album shows a lot of promise and things are a bit lopsided. This is a nicely balanced, album, not a “perfect balance” but I don’t want to boost the ego of the songs and have people think “wow, is this the renaissance?” Yet in a small way, it is a throwback to a golden era even though it doesn’t specifically sound like one specific era. It has that boom bap, it has that rah rah, but Torae is an MC who thinks about what he has to say, or at least he puts some serious thought into his lyrics, it’s not a sloppy bit of “yes yes y’all, and you don’t stop”. Not once are listeners going to say “stop that already, I heard it countless times before”, although the familiarity of his flows only mean that one is comfortable with his execution.

As for Marco Polo, this guy is going to take off in the same way The Alchemist and Jake One have in recent years. It’s not an album where the MC goes into his lyrics toybag, because Marco Polo wants to play too. It’s chops, it’s slices, it’s a puzzle and he does it in a way that at least made me go “yes, this is how you pull it off” because he’s cutting up various records, pieces them together as if various MC’s are right there in the studio. It’s a tribute to the punch they offered before, and it honors a music that still can give you a couple back slaps at any given time when it feels it’s the right time to do so. The back slaps are long overdue, and this is a group that knows the power of a good fwack.

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