Brooklyn meets Brazil with DJ-producer Prince Paul’s new culture-smashing BROOKZILL! collective, featuring Digable Planets vocalist Ladybug Mecca, Brazilian MC Rodrigo Brandão and producer Don Newkirk. The quartet will release their debut LP, Throwback to the Future, in October via Tommy Boy. The album features collaborations with Del the Funky Homosapien, Count Bass D, Kia Koala, Mr. Len, Brian Jackson and numerous Brazilian artists.
“To me, BROOKZILL! is a throwback to why I started my whole career: good music is good music, regardless of what the language is, what the culture is,” Paul said in a statement. “This record stands by what I’ve always stood by. It might not be what you’re familiar with. But for some reason, you just like it ’cause it’s good. It shouldn’t have a face on it, it should just be felt.”
The project originated a decade ago, when Paul journeyed to São Paulo, Brazil and discovered a musical chemistry with Brandão. The duo vowed to work on an album combining their respective styles. “I saw very early on the connection between the Afro-Brazilian experience and hip-hop, between breakbeats and what they play here in the tambor drums at the Candomblé ceremonies – the spiritual rituals, the drums and the chanting,” added Brandão.
Paul and Brandão rounded out the project with two more recruits: Ladybug Mecca, a Brooklyn native and daughter of two Brazilian jazz musicians, is best recognized for her jazzy vocals with alternative hip-hop group Digable Planets. (She previously collaborated with Paul on the Baby Loves Hip-Hop children’s LP.) Reclusive writer-producer Newkirk previously collaborated with Paul on a variety of projects, including co-production on De La Soul’s influential 1989 LP 3 Feet High and Rising.
Paul is promoting Throwback to the Future with a series of three mixtapes, each inspired by a different bandmate. The first, “Rodrigo Mix,” morphs from funky clavinet grooves to breezy Latin guitar, interspersed with DJ scratching and vocal samples.