Audio Mixer: Scotty Hard.
Arranger: Prince Paul.
BROOKZILL!'s debut album, Throwback to the Future, is an exuberant mash-up of old-school hip-hop, funky jazz, and Brazilian funk and pop that captures the best aspects of all the separate ingredients and revels in the combination they make. Created by legendary producer Prince Paul, Digable Planets' Ladybug Mecca, keyboardist Don Newkirk (who trainspotters might remember from his voice-overs on De La Soul's Three Feet High and Rising), and Brazilian hip-hop icon Rodrigo Brandao, the project is good-time grooves and grin-inducing fun from beginning to end. With guests on board who range from Gil Scott-Heron collaborator Brian Jackson to Del the Funky Homosapien and a raft of Brazilian artists, Throwback plays out like a street party where the alcohol flows and people are dancing like the weekend will never end. Prince Paul holds down the turntables, dropping in samples and locking down rock-solid hip-hop beats and rollicking Brazilian grooves while Ladybug lays down rhymes like it was 1993, and her sweet vocals add some honey to the mix. Newkirk's subtle keyboard flourishes and funky synths color the corners in and Brandao's growling raps add a little grit to the proceedings. The blend of cultures and sounds is mostly seamless, with tracks like "Nascido No Céu" or the Del feature "Maralém" not sounding hip-hop or Brazilian, but some new cosmic sound where anything goes as long as it's smooth and funky. Hopefully, Throwback isn't a one-off. Everyone involved should make a concerted effort to do it again, because the album works on so many levels. It's an absolute joy that both hip-hop lovers and Brazilian music fans will be able to appreciate. ~ Tim Sendra