Famous for his aggressive, no-nonsense style, Liroy (or Piotr Marzec) is one of Poland's most important rappers and hip-hop producers.
He has done wonders for the image of modern Polish music abroad, working with a bevy of western stars from Malcolm McLaren to Ice-T. He hails from Kielce, a small city in the south of the country. Growing up in a working class area of town, he began dabbling in his favorite art as a young boy in the early 1980s. It was a time when rap, much like most other western commodities, was almost unheard of in Poland. He kicked off his career as a street performer, and then hustled as a DJ in throughout Europe to make ends meet. In 1992 he put out his first recording, an album titled East On Da Mic, under the guise of PM Cool Lee. The work wasn't much of a success, but the following year, his performance at the highly respected Sopot festival made up for the disappointment. Recording company BMG were impressed by the show and gave the young man from Kielce a chance to release several productions. As luck would have it, hip-hop had taken off in Poland amongst teenagers thanks to western satellite TV, and there was now a ready market for Liroy's work. Alboom, unleashed in 1995, included the single "Scyzoryk", and touched on a variety of social problems sweeping through the country after the fall of the Iron Curtain, such as violence and alcohol abuse. It was a winner for Liroy both commercially and critically, grabbing two much sought after Fryderyk Chopin music awards. However, his success attracted plenty of animosity from fellow Polish rappers, including an outfit called Nagly Atak Spawacza, which released the single "Anty Liroy" (Against Liroy). But the rivalry never proved as heated as the west coast/east coast tussle in the US, and Liroy went on adding to his impressive dossier. In 1996 he served up the Bafangoo! Part 1 album, and then quickly followed that up with the popular L, which led to another Fryderk award. A couple years later he was at it again, redefining Polish rap with the highly acclaimed Dzien Szaka-La (The Day Of The Jackal). The release really hit the spot with Polish rap fans thanks to several impressive productions such as "Moja Autobiografia" (My Autobiography), "Impreza" (Party), and "Ha, Ha – Ze Jak?" (So How's Things?). It also landed him yet another Fryderyk award. He put out his next album, 10, with the help of German producer Tom Meyer, and then hooked up with house heavyweight Jason Nevins for the single "Scyzoryk remix 2001". After starring in the film Kowalski Brothers, he released the album Bestseller in 2002. But despite its optimistic title the release didn't do as well as some of its predecessors. ~ David Peter Wesolowski, Rovi