Marco Polo - PA2: Director's Cut by Marco Polo

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Though it runs a bit long "PA2: The Director's Cut" successfully draws from its prequel, while maintaining its own originality.

Marco Polo is a newly-minted Hip Hop veteran. In 2007, he dropped Port Authority, an LP containing his beats laced with verses from some of Hip Hop’s greatest legends, from Masta Ace to Kool G Rap. Over the next six years, he steadily released as many albums, becoming a respectable artist while shaking the reputation as just a producer from Canada. Seeking to revive the energy created on Port Authority, Marco Polo is set to round out 2013 with his first sequel album, PA2: The Director’s Cut.

Narrated by actor Michael Rapaport, the director of the A Tribe Called Quest documentary Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest, PA2: The Director’s Cut is a commendable return to the drawing board for Marco Polo. In fact, the album was a work in progress for the last five years, as he sought to pick up where Port Authority left off.

One of Marco Polo’s most impressive traits as an artist is his ability to match beats with emcees accordingly. The first two tracks of the album, “3 O-Clock” and “Savages” feature Organized Konfusion, and Slaine, Ill Bill and Celph Titled respectively. Both tracks sound like they were made specifically for the artists that they feature, not to mention that going from the Boom-Bap of Organized Konfusion to the sample-heavy sounds of La Coka Nostra is no easy feat for a producer. Polo’s material is tailored for Golden Era, boom gap aficionados, yet he largely avoids the issue of enlisting old, non-skilled rappers complaining about the days of yore by focusing on pushing the art form forward.

Marco Polo also has an impressive musical ear. He possesses a unique ability to emulate other producers, but he also maintains the originality fans came to know on Port Authority. “Astonishing” which features Large Professor, Inspectah Deck, O.C. and Tragedy is most reminiscent of his signature sound, while “Drunken Sleuth” features uncharacteristic, yet contagious production, reinforcing the notion that his days of experimentation are not yet finished. Whether he’s making beats for specific artists, or just playing with what sounds good, Marco Polo’s technique has become more polished than before.

For all of the positives associated with the album, PA2: The Director’s Cut is by no means a masterpiece. With 18 tracks and a skit, and an average track time of about four minutes, the album is very long, maybe even too long. Rapaport addresses this during the album’s intermission, telling listeners, “This wasn't made for the critics; this was made for the heads…anyone who doesn’t like it, now’s the perfect chance to leave.”

That said, some listeners still may not have the patience required to listen to this album from beginning to end. And it doesn’t help that Marco Polo is sometimes prone to monotony with his beats, which can make a full album listen more difficult. The post-intermission tracks, “Emergency Man” “Strange Brew” and “What They Say” are all unique in their own ways, yet they each lack the sustained drive of superior tracks on the album. Marco Polo’s potential to be more dynamic is both apparent and sometimes frustrating.

Though it is sometimes prone to monotony and lags here and there, PA2: The Director’s Cut successfully draws from its prequel, while maintaining its own originality. With regards to guest appearances, Marco Polo deserves credit for picking from the cream of the crop, as well as successfully pairing artists on certain tracks (“Astonishing”). The album also establishes excellent flow and sequencing from track to track, especially towards the end, as things conclude with the aptly titled Guru tribute “G.U.R.U.”


  • BTW

    You dumb muthafuckas saying that Marco Polo is GOOD at best. That's ridiculous. He's one of the best producers out right now. I feel like a lot of his beats are really starting to sound the same, but still, he's pretty ill. Someone said Apollo Brown was better. Get the fuck outta here with yo retarded ass!!

  • WTF!!

    DX GAVE THIS A 3.5, BUT GAVE MACHETE MODE A 4?!?! Can someone PLEASE let me know what the FUCK is going on here. Although, I think the first Port Authority album IS way better!

  • Mack Theol

    Surprisingly mediocre.

  • brick

    the fact marco got the last emp on a track means this is a 5 star album. features on this are on point

    • HUH

      That's the dumbest logic I've ever heard. Yeah, because he has a good feature on an album means it should be a 5. Fuck u talkin about?

  • Cwigg

    Marco Polo is the Canadian Premo....and the guests he's able to secure....dope. Its albums like this that keep my love for hip hop thriving. If this album is monotonous, call me Monotony! (sorry, bad joke.)

  • The Judge

    Decent review, but was closer to an 8 than a 7. Not sure how Marco can make monotonous yet unique beats...

  • son of a sax

    Yeah, i'd give it 4 mics (I mean stars)

  • jay

    Yet another review rendered unreadable by the mangling of the English language, mixed metaphors and general nonsense...HHDX I give up on you

    • Homer Johnsen


  • Anonymous

    Criminally underrated. HipHopDX rates trash albums and mixtapes by some of the worst "rappers" or "producers" in history the same rating as this if not higher? Really? This is easily a 4 star project.

    • Homer Johnsen

      Shut up, dipshit. Just because the reviews aren't up to your precious standards doesn't mean we're going to cater to your little feelings. This is journalism, and we stick to our opinions no matter how butthurt you asswipes might get over our ratings.

  • Middling

    Thought the other album earlier in the year was better. Marco Polo is a really underwhelming producer. He's got good ideas for who should be on songs, but that makes him an A&R, not really a producer. It's just meh.


      I ran through this album and there were maybe good 6-7 tracks which banged and the rappers were on their flow game, but he seemed to just enlist a bunch of different rappers with different styles who are good but don't captivate always....what makes a good listen to some can make a average listen to others...rule of how things go, to me it was flatlining at some points other points it was riding the high soundwaves, marco polo is good at best in my eyes, he made it far but if you want to compare him to Apollo brown or someone like the Soul Council, I can imagine there is some ways to go, some tracks just banged others demanded the next button, I am not sold on this guys production skills but more the concept of the different rappers on reasonable beats