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Marley Marl

One of hip-hop's first (and finest) superproducers, Marley Marl was an early innovator in the art of sampling, developing new techniques that resulted in some of the sharpest beats and hooks in rap's Golden Age. As the founder of Cold Chillin' Records, Marl assembled a roster filled with some of the finest hip-hop talent in New York: MC Shan, Big Daddy Kane, Biz Markie, Roxanne Shanté, Kool G Rap & DJ Polo, and Masta Ace. His production work for those and many other artists generally boasted a bright, booming, and robust sound that -- along with his ear for a catchy sample -- helped move street-level hip-hop's sonic blueprint into more accessible territory. Most important, though, were his skills as a beatmaker; Marl was among the first to mine James Brown records for grooves and also learned how to craft his own drum loops through sampling, which decreased hip-hop's reliance on tinny-sounding drum machines and gave his '80s productions a fresh, modern flavor.

Marl was born Marlon Williams on September 30, 1962, and grew up in the Queensbridge housing project in Queens, NY. He became interested in music through local talent shows and neighborhood parties and became an accomplished DJ during rap's early days. He did mixing work on a number of singles for the old-school hip-hop/electro label Tuff City and started up his own Cold Chillin' label, which he initially ran out of his sister's apartment in Queensbridge. Marl set about recruiting for what became one of rap's first talent collectives, the Juice Crew. He caught his first big break in 1984 when he produced Roxanne Shanté's "Roxanne's Revenge," one of many answer singles inspired by U.T.F.O.'s underground smash "Roxanne, Roxanne"; luckily, "Roxanne's Revenge" was the biggest and it put artist, label, and producer on the map. Marl trumped it by helming "The Bridge," an ode to Queensbridge by his cousin MC Shan that became the unofficial Queens rap anthem and inspired a spirited feud with Bronx native KRS-One. With Marl's success came the opportunity to produce artists outside the Cold Chillin' stable, which he did with the monumental Eric B. & Rakim single "Eric B. Is President," as well as full-length albums by Heavy D & the Boyz.

The end of the '80s is often referred to as hip-hop's Golden Age, a time when the form's creativity was expanding by leaps and bounds. Marl's Juice Crew was an important force in ushering in this era thanks to its advances in lyrical technique and the distinctive personalities of emerging stars like Biz Markie and Big Daddy Kane. With business at Cold Chillin' booming, Marl put out the first full-length release under his own name in 1988 (he'd previously recorded the single "DJ Cuttin'" in 1985 with the alias NYC Cutter). In Control, Vol. 1 was mostly a showcase for various Juice Crew affiliates to strut their stuff, most thrillingly on the legendary, larger-than-life posse cut "The Symphony." Marl scored his greatest crossover success in 1990 by helming LL Cool J's Mama Said Knock You Out; bolstered by Marl's state-of-the-art production, the album restored LL's street cred while becoming his biggest seller ever, making Marl an in-demand remixer. 1991 brought the release of In Control, Vol. 2, which unfortunately displayed signs that the Cold Chillin' talent pool was being depleted.

After working with TLC on their 1992 debut, Marl remained mostly quiet for a few years; 1995 brought the release of House of Hits, an excellent retrospective of his best productions over the years. Splitting off from Cold Chillin', Marl spent several years in a legal battle over money and ownership rights that, in 1998, finally resulted in his being awarded control of all the songs he'd produced for the label. In the late '90s, Marl's status as a high-profile producer was restored thanks to his work with artists like Rakim, Queensbridge's own Capone-N-Noreaga, and Fat Joe. In 2001, Marl put together another compilation of original productions with guest rappers for the British BBE label, titled Re-Entry. ~ Steve Huey, Rovi
full bio

Comments

kaliabriggs2 0 1 2
Kane my mouth is a gun on suckers i pull it
info491797
..weLL said @Badyellowbo n e !
Still in rotation in my car; and it is better than 90% of rap music that has been play in the last 10 years. period end of story!!!!!!
More than a classic...I' m bumpin this in my car right now...
Man.... What happened to hip hop?? Fukkkn blasphemy this joint has only 800 likes? G Rap AND BDK on the same track? 2 of the top 5 MC's EVER
"Pay attention to how I kick it, if rap was a house; you'd be evicted" BDK
Real deal hip hop next up I believe that's me get on the Mic for the symphony
I really can't understand how we went from this to the bullsh*t of today..?
The REAL Cypher right here... Man I miss this era in Hip Hop... This bulls*&t today ?
THe bridge THe bridge qb
All they needed was Shante. Still blazing though!
I came up on this and many early raps... Before the guns and bottles and b**ches.
Don't read this because it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest Friday by the love of your life. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life, However if you don't post this you will die in 2 days. Now you've started reading so don't stop. This is so scary put this on at least 5 songs in 143 minutes. When done press f6 and your lovers name will come on the screen in big letters. This is so scary because it actually works
Edit.......A L L these emcees MURDER this beat....what a great posse track......F o r g o t how great this is......"Nex t up....yo I believe that's me"
@ jsdeals..... c o m p l e t e l y agree. I miss the days of the REAL mc skills.....G Rap FTW!
20 some years later I still get goose bumps when I hear this piano rift- G RAP Fuckkn murders the beat, then when you thought it was dead, BDK comes in and drops his shiit. Man..... Y'all remember how dope rap USED to be?
None come close!
Nice
You open your ears to this, and you WILL be proud of hip hop!!!
Hands down...the best posse record ever made
Marley Marl was definitely the premier DJ/Producer from the golden age of hip hop. Fresh
That's the s**t
Almost 30 years and you still can't sleep on it. Not even a nap!!
The Symphony.... . . D a m ! ! ! ! ! ! ! My Old School favorite...C l a s s i c ! ! ! ! !
this s**t still knock
gr8_replies
All New Jack rappers take note from Big Daddy Kane line: Put a quarter in your a$$ 'cause you just PLAYED yourself. This joynt can't be touched and STILL knocks like it was dropped yesterday - PERIOD.
Young people pay attention, the real Hip-Hop
Old Skool for ever fresh
esmith0212
This is the s**ts
Off the hook New York stand up.
classic
U softer than a pillow, I'm harder than a Brillo!
Dopest posse cut ever! The biz, Kane, and Kool G Rap on the same track? Get the fuuuuck outta here
Marley Marl is one if not the best producer of ALL-TIMES! I love his music & will argue with anybody about him being the best in producing, mixing, and just purely best music maker. Just as well as Rakim is the best to EVER to bless the mic!
this one of the hottest s**t ever made point blank
Dis man a Beast people, AMAZING. I love Hip Hop. Buffalo soldier son!!!!
genisis6300
Ah Man This is The Anthem. New York's Golden Era of True Hip-Hop! This Joint will Bang Forever!
I miss the golden age of hip hop for sure. This new stuff has got no skills or originality.
allintent
NICE. Great production skills.
wrmoss
The GOAT of hip hop producers out of NY
kiveson
nice
My favorite DJ hands down. Funk Master Flex take notes on how to blend in your records. You can't drop a bomb or back spin a record on every song man .You've been over rated for years.Im not hating but damn. Big up Marley Marl.
elleski2006
Love this Brother. He birthed the teacher KRS too. And all praise to Ghuru. I hope his soul is at peace.
Most of this bull that these youngster's are puttin out now. Can't even mess with hip hop from 20 and 30 years ago! GOLDEN YEARS for a GOLDEN CHILD!
A major important piece of hip-hop. NO Marley, No Kanye.
word
Was here back in the 80's and still to this day... damn. and word..
GOTTA BE ONE OF THE BEST COLLABORATIO N S IN THE HISTORY OF HIP HOP. WORD!
I used to listen to this man cut scratch and blend the hottest joints when he was featured on WBLS radio station in N.Y.C. with Mister Magic. Nobody could touch his skills on the 1200's . Marley if you ever read this teach that dude on Hot 97 Funk Master Flex how to blend records the way it's supposed to be done. His style of blending records is just like trash in the winter time COLD GARBAGE.I never could figure out how he has lasted this long.
Ever the originator. Never the duplicator. Has no predecessor.
delicious beats
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