It got to the point
where strictly being a fan of Hip Hop wasn't enough. So I went to school for
audio engineering, the school turned out to be useless but my student loan allowed
me to buy my first piece of equipment.
did you start with?
mpc 2000 XL
How did your first beats sound?
How did you
I had some producers
around me who kinda of mentored me. My man Shylow showed me how to use the mpc
when I first got it and I would send him and other cats around me my beats to
get feedback until I got better. I also pay close attention to my favorite producers,
always study the greats.
do you use now?
just a MPC 2000
XL. I might pull the odd sound from a keyboard or use a live instrument, but
95% of my beats are made in the mpc.
When you sample, what type of sample do you look for?
on my mood. But these days I'm only checking for darker/harder sounding samples.
No more happy beats. I use to make a lot happy beats. Done with happy.
What's the first thing you do when you make a beat?
my drums. Drums
How do you make
sure the drums fit the beat?
you just learn over time. I use to play drums so it helps when I do my programming
and match drum sounds to samples. Bad drums can ruin a beat very quickly. A
lot of producers fuck up drums.
How do you make sure you bring the most out of a sample?
I try and sample
shit correctly going into the mpc rather then relying on the mix down to fix
bad sounding samples. I try and pick out the one thing in a sample that shines
and EQ it properly while sampling into the mpc. If your shit sounds good before
a proper mix down, its that much easier to make it bump come time for the mix.
How do you know when a beat is finished?
I usually listen
to beats the very next day I make them. At that point, if the beat doesn't hit
me a certain way I'll either dead it or add the missing elements or tweak what's
there until its perfect. A finished beat to me really means dope drums and bassline.
If those 2 things are right I'm usually happy.
You've worked with Wordsworth, what's that like?
Wordsworth is probably
one of the most versatile MC's I've worked with. He can flip so many styles
and flows. I've never made a bad song with Words. He writes quickly when he's
inspired. Usually if I hit him with a beat cd, if he likes something he's at
my krib the next day ready to lay vocals to it. His new album is going to be
How is a studio
session with Wordsworth?
Words is mad cool
and easy going in the studio. He never rushes his vocals and takes the time
to really make his shit sound perfect and clear. I respect that.
What about Jojo
Jo Jo is straight
up dope. One day that dude is going to blow the fuck up. I personally prefer
him rhyming over grimier/boom bap type shit then club type shit. I've done 2
joints with him and both of them came out crazy. People need to hear those songs.
I'm working on getting the joints out on a 12" soon.
What made you
want to work with Skoob from Das Efx?
Skoob is a legend
too me. Actually Skoob hit me up. Rich from M3 (Masta Ace's label) gave him
a beat cd of mine and he called me up. We recorded "How I Get Down"
which ended up being a bonus track on "Canned Goods" which is the
instrumental cd I have out right now. I'm trying to record more with Skoob,
he is nasty and he killed the joint we did. He still has it, he is a classic
dude. It was a blessing to work with him.
Can Das Efx
If they get the
right production Das Efx could come back and kill it. I haven't heard any of
Dre's newer stuff but Skoob is just as dope as he ever was. As a fan I'd love
to see them come back out again. They gotta let me get a joint or 2 on it though!
a lot of work with Pumpkinhead too, what's it like working with PH?
Ever since I heard
"Dynamic" I was a Pumpkinhead fan. Working with him is crazy too me
cause I use to play his record's back when I lived in Toronto just on some fan
shit and now I just finished producing his entire new album. Working with him
is real cool. Were always real honest with each other and that ultimately helps
the final product. It was a real dope learning experience making an album with
How's his new material sounding?
Personally, I think
it's his best shit since "Dynamic" and the Makin Records days. But
I'm a little biased. Shout's to DP ONE who killed the cuts on the album.
worked with Block McCloud, what made you want to work with him?
I met Block McCloud
when I use to work at The Cutting Room. I gave him a beat cd and he hit me up.
Block McCloud is a beast. One of my favorite MC's to work with hands down. Check
for his new album coming out on Day By Day this summer called "Spitting
Image" I produced 3 joints on there. "The Dues", "All A
Game" f. Jean Grae & "No U Won't".
with a lot of the underground's best, do you worry about being considered an
underground producer if you don't work with mixtape artists or commercial heads?
I don't worry about
that at all. I just focus on making quality music and perfecting my sound. I'm
capable of producing track's for anyone. One of my side projects caught the
attention of a Nickelodeon show called "Radio Free Roscoe", they ended
up using like 5 songs on the show, so I can't be that underground.
Who is the nicest
MC out in your opinion right now?
well it's a tie
between Elzhi from Slum Village and Rocky Marciano from the UN. Those 2 are
the nicest too me right now. I'm trying get them both on my album. The UN album
was slept on. That shit is amazing.
would you give free beats to?
I honestly can't answer that specifically. If I'm feeling a new artist or a
new cat catches my attention and I know they struggling it's very possible I
will look out for them. Also, if I'm a fan of someone it definitely helps me
to not think about the business.
What do you
think about the production game now?
I feel there a
lot of clone producers out right now. I read a Beatnuts interview where Ju Ju
said a lot of new producers these days are just "check chasers" as
opposed to making some shit that will impact Hip Hop and really have lasting
power. I totally agree with him. It's all good to be influenced by someone else's
style but producers need to make more of an effort to be original. Certain producers
have a distinct sound like a Premo, Jay Dilla or The Neptunes so if you biting
them, 90% of the time its gonna come off sounding really corny. Create your
There's a lot of stories out there about artists stealing beats, labels stealing
beats how do you make sure you don't get played?
My beat cd's are
INFAMOUS for having a lot of drops over the tracks. But to be honest, you're
never completely safe. These days the whole 2trk way of recording has fucked
it all up. I'm really careful about who I give beat cd's too these days. If
I am in a situation where my beat cd is going to someone I don't know they'll
be hearing "MARCO POLO ON THE TRACK........" every 10 seconds...haha
do you respect in the game?
Kev Brown, Jake
One, J. Dilla, Hi-Tek, Nottz, Pete Rock & of course DJ Premier.
A lot of people
say that beat-making computer programs are messing up the game because now anyone
can be a producer, how do you feel about that?
It doesn't matter
what you use. No certain piece of equipment or computer program can make you
a producer. These computer programs might make it easy for a cats to make beats
but there's still a difference between a beat maker and a producer. A lot of
these new cats need to learn how to make good song's, not just good beats. I
make a point to be in the studio as much ass possible when the artist track's
his vocals and for the final mixdown.
What's the best
part about being Marco Polo?
Getting to work
with legends like Masta Ace, Skoob and every other talented MC I've had the
chance to work with.
What's in the
works for you?
album "Orange Moon Over Brooklyn" coming out on Soulspazm Records
late August of this year. A Marco Polo 12" in June called "My Rights"
f. Wordsworth b/w Rasco "Situations" & Pumpkinhead "I Just
Wanna Rhyme" also out on Soulspazm. I just did Rasco's (of Cali Agents)
new single called "What Happened To The Game". Doing a single with
Supernatural called "Altitude" coming out on Coalmine Records. I did
3 remixes on O.C.'s Starchild album (the U.S. Version) coming out this summer.
Wordsworth & I are working on joints for his new album. I'm also working
on my solo album. So far I have Masta Ace, Critically Acclaimed, Supastition,
Kev Brown & Cy Young and some other dope artist's I don't want to jinx until
I also have my
instrumental cd out in stores right now called Marco Polo "Canned Goods"
on Pockets Linted Records. Cop it in store's or online at amazon.com or ughh.com!!!
How can MC's get beats off you?
you can email email@example.com
, you can also contact me through my website @ www.marcopolobeats.com
, stop through and sign he guestbook. I always put new beats up on my site.
730 & hiphopgame.com for showing me love! Linx, Shyweezy, Young Flizz, Red
Clay, PH, Words, Soulspazm and my website www.marcopolobeats.com!