Hip-hop legend Marley Marl recently down with the Drink Champs show for an extensive conversation.
A key figure in the development of hip-hop, Marley is considered to be the first producer to sample and chop drums. His credits include some of the most iconic tracks from the hip-hop’s golden age, including LL Cool J’s “Mama Said Knock You Out,” Big Daddy Kane’s “Ain’t No Half Steppin’,” Eric B. & Rakim’s “Eric B. Is President,” Biz Markie’s “Vapors,” and MC Shan’s “The Bridge.”
Most of the interview focused on Marley’s career, but he also spoke about the current state of hip-hop.
On the new generation of hip-hop:
“I look at it is evolution … The people who don’t like what the young kids is doing, you too old. Because when I fell in love with what I was doing, I was about 18 years old, so whoever is 18 years old [is] probably falling in love with what they doing right now and that’s their sh#t.”
On how he started out as an electronic music producer:
“Before I started making hip-hop, I was making electronic music … That’s why I had the edge over everybody, because I was already tech savvy.”
Watch the full convo above.
In addition to their huge collection of lectures with influential hip-hop, funk, and electronic artists, Red Bull Music Academy also makes high-quality documentaries.
One of our favorites is a piece about the golden era of New York radio titled, “Revolutions On Air.” The 17-minute video, which was uploaded back in April, tells the story of the DJs who helped make hip-hop a worldwide phenomenon and paved the way for today’s urban contemporary radio.
Hosted by MC Lyte, the documentary features commentary from legends like Marley Marl, Kool DJ Red Alert, Stretch Armstrong, and DJ Spinna. It is a must-watch for anyone interested in the development of hip-hop and urban radio.
Related: Diplo Discusses the Importance of Radio
There’s been a lot of talk over the last year about how producing is a great way for DJs to take their careers to the next level. The idea isn’t new, though, and in the early 1980s, legendary hip-hop DJ/producer Marley Marl was working hard behind a sampler to differentiate his sets with “tools for DJs.”
The main difference is that Marl didn’t aim for fame as a producer. In fact, the New York native admitted he was “bugged out” upon seeing his first production credit — worried it might tarnish his reputation as a DJ. Despite that, Marl revolutionized hip-hop when he pioneered the practice of sampling drum sounds. His production for influential artists such as Eric B. & Rakim, Biz Markie, Big Daddy Kane, and LL Cool J established him as rap’s first super-producer.
Last month, Mr. Marl sat down with Red Bull Music Academy for a three-hour lecture that contained many insights on the history of hip-hop and sampled based production. The video is not only a must-watch for rap fans, but any DJ looking to take their game to the next level.
0:01:10 – Starting as a DJ and becoming a producer later
0:02:20 – How his early productions were intended as tools for DJs
0:06:00 – Producing LL Cool J’s “The Boomin System”
0:08:00 – How James Brown’s music led him to sampling
0:08:50 – Growing up in Queensbridge, New York
0:18:30 – How recording bands got him into producing
0:22:30 – How he stumbled on sampling by mistake
0:25:50 – Triggering samples before there was MIDI
0:27:50 – How Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love” (produced by Giorgio Moroder) changed his life
0:35:40 – Meeting MC Shan, producing his classic track “The Bridge”
0:54:40 – Producing Eric B. & Rakim’s breakout record, “Eric B. Is President”
0:56:50 – Tragedy Khadafi’s influence on Queensbridge rappers Nas, Mobb Deep, Cormega, etc
1:02:50 – How the Juice Crew and Boogie Down Productions beef started
1:12:20 – DJing on Mr. Magic’s legendary “Rap Attack” show
1:21:50 – Producing Big Daddy Kane’s “Raw”
1:28:30 – How his production on “Nobody Beats the Biz” influenced DJ Premier’s style
1:31:10 – The importance of owning your own publishing and masters
1:35:40 – Hiring Pete Rock to DJ on his “In Control” radio show
1:38:40 – How remixing LL Cool J’s “Jingling Baby” elevated his career
1:51:40 – Giving advice to Nas
1:56:00 – Recognizing Jay Z’s talent early in his career
2:05:50 – Focusing on your dreams and letting go of people who don’t understand your path
2:07:40 – Q&A session
Related: Which Hip-Hop Producers Have Used the Most Samples?
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