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Marco Polo and Torae | Double Barrel

Duck Down (2009)
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  May 27, 2009
3.0 3.0 Stars

Duck Down has reached beyond its Brooklyn-grounded rap roots in recent years, signing such acts as Kidz in the Hall and Boston's Special Teamz. But not this time: though producer Marco Polo is an extraordinarily skilled Canadian-Caucasian, his MC accomplice on Double Barrel Coney Island rifleman Torae — is as New York hardcore as cats get on rap's deluged contemporary landscape.

Blessed with the finest qualities of Kool G Rap and Xzibit, Torae rocks with iron lungs and steel muscles; his massive physique makes every hook, jab, and uppercut bang that much harder. As for melodies, DJ Premier — a man of very few public utterances — speaks the intro on behalf of hip-hop's new "it" duo. And if that's not proof that Polo is next in line to run the new school alongside the Alchemist and Statik Selektah, then neither is the fact that I've been saying so for two years.

Polo doesn't necessarily glisten on this disc; though there are grandstand moments like the epic hood anthem "Coney Island" and the pornographic funk jam "Hold Up" with Masta Ace and Sean Price, he's mostly just loading Torae's cannon full of heavy shrapnel. But Premo would say it himself: a beatmaker's job is to elevate a rapper, not to outshine him.
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