Comprised of legendary Hip-Hop artist Prince Paul [Stetsasonic, Gravediggaz, De La Soul, Handsome Boy Modeling School], producer Don Newkirk[De La Soul, The Dix], emcee Ladybug Mecca [Digable Planets + Grammy Winning daughter of Brazilian jazz musicians], and Brazilian emcee Rodrigo Brandão [Gorila Urbano], BROOKZILL! traces Hip-Hop’s future with its far-reaching past, exploring the sonic and cultural connections between the Afro-Brazilian and rhythmic rituals.
Throwback To The Future – out now on Tommy Boy Entertainment –features collaborations with a host of Brazilian artists, keyboardist Brian Jackson, emcees Del Tha Funkee Homosapien and Count Bass D, turntablists Kid Koala, Mr. Len, and more.
We got to catch up with BROOKZILL! for an opportunity to get familiar with the group, their sound and what’s to come.
Parlé Mag: Please introduce for me the members of BROOKZILL!…
Rodrigo Brandão: We’re the Fantastic Four: as our Grandmaster, Prince Paul would be Reed Richards, which naturally brings Don Newkirk to The Thing position, since they’re longtime pals, and leaves me the Johnny Storm role. The only flip is that Ladybug Mecca ain’t Invisible at all!
Parlé Mag: Nice! Collectively, how did the four of you initially come together to form the group? Prince Paul: My trip to Sao Paulo in 2016 led me to meet Rodrigo, we discussed making an album together. We recorded over a spoon of time and included Newkirk and Mecca creating a new sound and philosophy called BROOKZILL!
RB: That was done by the forces of nature. Really, I could enlist the conditions, but more than anything, that’s what happened.
Parlé Mag: Now from a musical standpoint, and I can’t deny that you all are all well respected artists in your own right, however, it seems as if you all haven’t necessarily been on the front lines for quite some time now. With that being said, where have you all been? And, what exactly have you all been up to, both personally and professionally speaking, during this hiatus?
PP: I’ve never left, just haven’t been too motivated to make music until working with BROOKZILL!, but I’ve been on VH1 and working with Scion doing online interviews for Scion AV.
Ladybug Mecca: I’ve been living life, working on music and creating great memories with my family.
Don Newkirk: I’ve been studying metaphysics for years, trying to ascertain the nature of the universe.
Parlé Mag: Why did you all opt to take so much time off between projects?
PP: To Cultivate the Land of BROOKZILL!
LM: Art is my life and it never ends or stops. To me, being an artist isn’t defined by how many projects are released to the mainstream for consumption, for appeal, etcetera… I do it because my soul needs to, and because I love it.
DN: I’ve always been a bit of a recluse. That being said, there are at least two unreleased projects in the wings.
Parlé Mag: In having said that, what was it about NOW, in 2016 specifically, that prompted you all to decide to make this “comeback” or return to form so to speak?
LM: Nothing at all specific about 2016, aside from the simple fact that we happened to finish this body of work this year. Right on time if you ask me.
PP: No specific date, just so happened by the fate of the universe the music came out now. I have more projects slated for next year as well.
DN: I tend to leave form nightly… fortunately, I have returned every dawn to this day.
Parlé Mag: How has not only the business of music in general, but even more-so you all, collectively, either changed and/or evolved since your whole inception into music? LM: Over time and with experience, I’ve learned how creating music or any form of self expression has taught me a lot about myself because tapping into my creativity helps my subconscious express itself. This opens me up and also leads to living a more authentic life.
DN: Using the first Law of the Universe, we’ve made revolutionary advances in technology and created the infinite internet. These have not only disrupted the music industry, but all industry.
Parlé Mag: Well, the good news…No, take that back…The great news is that you all are finally back In full e–f-f-e-c-t mode!
Parlé Mag: With that being said, where does the moniker, BROOKZILL!, originally derive from?
RB: From this beautiful bridge connecting Brooklyn and Brasil. Open the windows of your soul and you be able to see. Our collective name is a graphic representation of that very same bridge.
DN: Brooklyn and Brazil.
Parlé Mag: Sonically, how does this new material measure up and/or differ/compare to previous efforts, those past works that you all are already both known and loved for?
PP: It’s more of a live feel – feel more rhythms and percussion – but still maintained a melodic base to the music.
LM: We have created a new sound with this work; it’s like nothing you ever heard before, and there’s really no comparing it to anything else.
DN: It’s more organic in its essence.
Parlé Mag: You titled the record Throwback To The Future — Conceptually speaking, what’s the meaning behind that name?
DN: We embody the vibration of bangin’ that new sh*t in your flying whip, while rockin’ your shell toe Adidas.
Parlé Mag: On the album, you all teamed up with the powers-that-be at Tommy Boy Entertainment — what particular string of events led up to this unification?
LM: We are very passionate about this body of work and felt that Tommy Boy’s passion closely matched our own, so it made sense to partner with them.
Parlé Mag: Longevity, what exactly do you all attribute yours to?
PP: Loving God, being honest and humble, and knowing that learning is a never ending pursuit.
LM: I would have to quote the late Gabriel García Márquez, “It’s not true that people stop pursuing dreams because they grow old, they grow old because they stop pursuing dreams.”
DN: Water, Stillness and not stressing the mundane.
Parlé Mag: Do you all have any other outside/additional future aspirations, maybe even completely away from music? PP: Being a NBA Player, but I’m too old and not tall enough or skilled… so for now I will rule over BROOKZILL!
RB: Have you heard Tim Maia ‘Racional?’ The most amazing Brazilian soul man ever was once devoted to a pretty bizarre cult named Rational Culture, during a couple years, back in the early ’70’s. In the meanwhile, he stayed clear from his infamous regular everyday diet, which consisted in abusive doses of booze, pork and all kinds of drugs. Due to that, his voice is in its best shape on the two super rare LPs he cut preaching about this book called Universe In Disenchantment. Anyway, I’m telling you this because first album’s main track is a monster funk whose chorus goes, “We’re gonna rule the world / Don’t you know, don’t you know?”
DN: I’m studying the art of group Motivation through effective communication skills, a la Don Robbins.
Parlé Mag: On a more serious note, are you all happy with the current state of Hip-Hop? And, as an extension to this question, when it comes to the overall sound-scape of today’s current musical trends, where do you all “fit in?”
PP: Either you are down to get a passport to BROOKZILL! or live in exile! It’s never the concept to fit in, but to make your own lane.
Parlé Mag: To date, what has been your biggest career moment(s)?
PP: Meeting Stetsasonic, because that started my career.
RB: So far? Right now!
Parlé Mag: Looking ahead, say five or maybe even ten years from now, where do you all see yourselves?
PP: Doing the same thing I’m doing now, except 10 years older and wiser…
And building BROOKZILL! from a land to a Nation!
DN: The release of one unreleased Don Newkirk project, 1 Dons, and the release of D.Savants.
Parlé Mag: As for the immediate, what’s next for BROOKZILL!? PP: Touring the world and more recording.
DN: We are studying chapters from the De La Soul touring manual.
Parlé Mag: Is there anything I left out or just plain forgot to mention?