Marley Marl  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Marlon Williams (born 1962 in Queens, New York City), better known as Marley Marl, is considered one of the most important and influential hip-hop producers in the History of hip hop. Pete Rock as well as DJ Premier cite him as their main influence.



Marley Marl was the house producer of the Juice Crew, known for The Bridge Wars, a feud with Boogie Down Productions seen as the first hip hop beef. The Juice Crew included Big Daddy Kane, Biz Markie, Roxanne Shanté, Kool G Rap, MC Shan (his cousin) and Masta Ace, and produced songs for outside artists including King Tee and LL Cool J. He was also an important figure in the careers of Eric B. & Rakim, producing their first hits "My Melody" and "Eric B Is President", mixing James Brown samples and synthetic beats in a fashion previously unheard of.

Marley Marl was one of the pioneers of sampling in hip hop. He debuted as an electro producer, but his records became more sample heavy, as can be seen by comparing the MC Shan LPs Down By Law (1987) and Born to be Wild (1988). The rhythms became less electronic, with drum machines becoming more prominent. Marl started his career working for Tuff City records. He debuted with his own track called "DJ Cuttin" in 1985, released under the pseudonym NYC Cutter. In 1994 Marley Marl was referenced on Biggie Smalls' track "Juicy" as being one of his early influences. He still works today and his music has had influences on RZA, DJ Premier as well as Pete Rock, who is also a longtime friend. Marley Marl is also a legendary DJ member of the The worldwide DJ organization, The Core DJ's.

He and KRS-One released Hip-Hop Lives in May 2007 with Marley Marl as the executive producer.

On June 5, 2007, Marley Marl suffered a heart attack. He was released from the hospital a few days later on the 8th. According to an interview in The Source, he blamed the heart attack on stress brought on by his worries about being a good father.

In 2008, Craig G and he released a collaborative album titled Operation: Take Back Hip-Hop.




Production credits

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