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Marco Polo

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An earnest student of the early-'90s boom-bap technique, underground rap producer Marco Bruno, aka Marco Polo, was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario. Bit hard by the hip-hop bug, he enrolled into an audio engineering school in 1999, purchasing his first MPC with his student loans. Once he finished up school, he moved from Canada down to New York and lived in his friend's basement in Queens to get his career started. He began paying his dues as an unpaid intern at the Cutting Room recording studios in Manhattan, which eventually turned into an on-staff management position. He used to play his beats in the office while clientele like Talib Kweli, Fat Joe, and Inspectah Deck came through for recording sessions. One of those passersby, Masta Ace, liked what he heard and added one of Polo's productions ("Do It Man") to his 2004 effort A Long Hot Summer. The song opened up many more opportunities for him, and soon he became an in-house producer for N.Y. indie Soulspazm. He was landing beats for several noteworthy hip-hop artists, including Supernatural, Jean Grae, Immortal Technique, the Boot Camp Clik, and California MC Rasco, who released Polo's first beat CD, Canned Goods, on his Pockets Linted imprint in 2005. When Soulspazm had a falling out with its distributor, the company lined up another joint venture with Rawkus Records. Rawkus championed the ambitious beat-maker and his 2007 production album, Port Authority. With his smooth textures and back-to-basics approach, Polo aptly chose veteran MCs like Kool G Rap, Large Professor, O.C., and Masta Ace to grace various tracks for the LP. ~ Cyril Cordor

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