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RetcH & Thelonious Martin Talk “Polo Sporting Goods”

The Lo god and the Chicago beatsmith connect, and you gon' love it baby!

This summer I chopped it up with Chicago producer Thelonious Martin for an episode of Off Tha’ Wall. After the interview, he chatted with the team about new projects he’d been working on, and asked if we were familiar with RetcH. We all nodded and showed him RetcH’s picture from our A$AP Mob Family Tree in Mass Appeal Issue 52.

Thelonious went on to ask which rapper we were bigger fans of, Ab-Soul or Action Bronson. We couldn’t decide, and were a little perplexed by the question. He opened his e-mail and played us an unreleased track from RetcH featuring Bronson. Jaws dropped, heads nodded, and the necessary daps were given. It’s safe to say we were all hyped. We found out the track was set to appear on an upcoming joint project with RetcH, Polo Sporting Goods.

Well, the wait is finally over and PSG is here. The 11-track mixtape features noteworthy verses from the likes of Ab-Soul, Action Bronson, and Chicago emcee Sulaiman, but the cohesiveness of the sound and RetcH’s knack for storytelling is what stands out the most (just listen to “Special Jim”). I reached out to RetcH and Thelo to find out how the two met, the inspiration for Polo Sporting Goods, and how the final project exceeded their original expectations.

PSG Front Cover

Mass Appeal: How did you two meet?

Thelonious: RetcH and I met via the Internet. My mans Sulaiman linked us up, then we kicked it at SXSW.

Retch: He was sending me and Da$h beats around the time of La Cienega, and we just took a liking to one another’s talents, and began workin’ on our own shit couple months down the line.

MA: When did you start working on PSG?

R: We started workin’ on PSG like last winter/beginning of the 2013 year.

MA: What conversation did you have about the direction of the project?

R: We knew we were tryna go left field wit it, ain’t nobody in our age bracket of 21 and under comin’ wit’ that shit like that, so we took it upon ourselves to bring it to the table.

T: We wanted it to be a classic, that’s about it.

MA: What was the first track you worked on?

R: “Burgundy Windbreaker” was the first song we did. Followed up by “Marmalade Sky.”

MA: Did the mixtape end up how you envisioned it?

R: It actually came out better than I expected, as far as how widespread the release was, everybody who’s anybody picked it up. Def was happy about that.

T: I knew it’d create a wave like this.

MA: What’s your favorite beat on Polo Sporting Goods?

R: Favorite beat gotta be “Since My Dog Died” or “Marmalade Sky,” but really all of them shits are crack, that’s why I picked ’em. “850 Music” sound like a christening, “Short Sermons” sound like ya favorite game down at the arcade. It’s kinda hard to pick which one I like the best outta those.

T: Probably “Burgundy Windbreaker” because I got to flip the sample like 3 different ways.

MA: What’s your favorite verse on the project?

R: Favorite verse gotta be Suli’s on “Paul Allen’s Business Card.” He was talkin’ shit that probably went over alotta niggas heads.

T: [RetcH’s] on “Marmalade Skies,” most definitely.

MA: What’s your favorite overall track?

T: Special Jim” or “Marmalade Skies.”

R: Favorite track is “Special Jim,” can’t really tell you what I was thinking writing that, but that’s jus how it came out.

MA: What’s next from the project? Any videos in the works?

R: Stick around for the motion pictures.

MA: What’s next from you individually?

R: Next project already in the works, “Gunz Gon Blow” and “Hunnit Bandz” are my favorite songs off that, it’s back on that Delinquents & Degenerates shit.

T: Working with Topaz Jones on The Honey Moon Suite, and working with $aint Ros$ on Winter Collection. From myself, maybe expect another instrumental or compilation. I’m dropping an anthology with FakeshoreDrive and Violator DJ’s Christmas Eve.

MA: What are the highlights from your 2013?

T: Highlights of the year include everything! This whole year has been a blessing.

R: Well shit, Peter Rosenberg playing “Special Jim” and “Graceful Jewelry Removal” on Hot 97 before the release of Polo Sporting Goods, smokin’ a blunt wit’ Bronson at a Cam show at SOB’s, trippin’ acid at Coachella having to perform at the G-Pen party shortly after, and shit, the ultimate releasing of Polo Sporting Goods and the love that followed. All good times.

Polo Sporting Goods Back Cover

All Devin P-B wants for Christmas is for everyone to follow Mass Appeal on Twitter.

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