By Kendra Sells
Hip-Hop all-stars Prince Paul, Don Newkirk, Ladybug Mecca and Rodrigo Brandão eloquently meshed together Afro-Brazilian culture and American Hip-Hop to satisfy an itch I never knew needed to be scratched. The team makes up BROOKZILL!, a concept of togetherness, cool rhythm, sultry vocals and flavor, seasoned perfectly to taste.
Throwback to the Future truly captures unity through music, with influences not only coming from Brazil and Brooklyn, but all over the world, and through a number of generations. Both American hip-hop and Brazilian counterculture were developed under similar circumstances, and remain, to this day, a form of raising awareness and staying strong during systematic hardship.The fusion of the two cultures highlights worldwide oppression and rebellion through art.
The group formed when Prince Paul (the mad genius DJ behind De La Soul’s debut 3 Feet High and Rising) ventured to São Paulo to develop versatility as a DJ. There he met Rodrigo Brandão, a Brazilian native who always adored American hip-hop, and the two agreed to collaborate. Brandão showed Paul a slew of samples, Paul threw a beat behind it and BROOKZILL! took off from there. Brandão says that BROOKZILL! is a dream come true and he connects to his team “from chakra to chakra.”
The album is fun and breezy. Ladybug Mecca, of the Digable Planets (“I’m cool like that, I’m cool like that”-yeah, them) offers her wavy lyricism and Brazilian heritage to the project. She and Brandão trade off between Portuguese and English on top of tracks produced by Paul and Newkirk’s (who also worked on 3 Feet High) The outcome is a well rounded mix of the unique and the familiar. The album makes you dance, it makes you think, but overall, you’re left cherishing the beauty of two cultures unifying through music