Execution is right. From the Italian horror movie-inspired cover to the murderous beats and battle rhymes, this collaboration is a homicidal attack on all things wack. The album, a team-up between Brooklyn MC Ruste Juxx and Marco Polo, is on Duck Down, so before you even hit play you know you are in for some quality, hard-hitting East Coast hip hop. The label has an impressive track record, as do Polo and Juxx. Marco Polo’s “Port Authority” and collab with Torae got high marks from this website, as did Ruste Juxx’s 2009 debut, “Indestructible.”
Marco Polo is a sample-based producer, using his MPC to make the gut-punching hip hop in the tradition of Primo and Pete Rock. Ruste Juxx is a foul-mouthed battle rhymer, the shark you send in to take out haters with a verbal beatdown. It’s a perfect partnership, since both artists are inspired by classic hip hop.
Juxx is all grimey, all the time. His lays it out plain on “Bread On Ya Head”:
“I got shots for them niggas in the front
Them niggas in the back
Them niggas in the middle laying flat
How the fuck you selling that crap
Yelling that’s rap, nigga
I’ma put a shell in that cat”
On “Wings on My Back” he walks the listener through a typical day in the Juxx household:
“I black out, wake up with bloody hands
Somebody must have fucked up my money plans
I smoke a whole zip to the face
Before I even brush my teeth or wash my face
Hop out the shower still smelling like sour”
Juxx’s gruff, aggressive flow is perfectly complimented by Marco Polo’s production. In less able hands, Juxx’s hater-slaying could get monotonous over the course of an album. Instead, Polo supplies the rapper with a spectrum of beats that add much-needed variety, Polo manipulates his MPC like a virtuoso violinist working a Stradivarius. He twists samples of strings, pianos, and horns with bottom-heavy beats that recall Golden Age hip hop without sounding dated. He captures the progression hip hop could have taken if sampling hadn’t become such a tricky and expensive legal business in the early 90s. He mixes things up, going upbeat on “Watch Yo Step,” getting sinister on “I’m On It,” and showing a pensive side on “Wings On Your Back.”
Marco Polo’s production gives Juxx the perfect platform to shine, and there is a natural chemistry between the rapper and producer. Juxx sounds energized and on fire, obviously inspired by what Marco Polo is laying down. He’s assisted on the mic by Sean Price on the banging “Fuckin Wit A Gangsta,” and Black Moon on “Let’s Take A Sec.” Rock and Freddie Foxxx’s guest spot on “Take Money” is less successful, especially since they are focused on bragging about strong-arm robbery and blowing ladies’ weaves off. It’s one of the few times when Juxx’s bravado misfires, and one of the few weak spots on the disc.
“The Exxecution” is twelve songs of slamming, grimey, take-no-prisoners NY hip hop. Ruste Juxx and Marco Polo show lames how it’s done, and leave a trail of dead in their wake.