Sept.30th – Legendary producer, d.j. and radio host Marley Marl was born Marlon Williams in Queens , New York , on this day in 1962.
Marl was first introduced to the hip-hop world in 1983 co-hosting “The Rap Attack” on New York’s WBLS 107.5 fm , alongside the late Mr. Magic. Marl would later host other radio shows on Hot 97 and Power 105.1 , also both in New York City respectively. One of those radio programs was called “Private Radio” which he co-hosted with Pete Rock and K-Def.
Marl , however would achieve his biggest fame as one of the most influential hip-hop producers of all time. Marl began his career in music production in the early 80’s as an in house producer at one of the earliest independent New York hip-hop labels called Tuff City.
The first record Marl would produce would be “Sucker D.J.’s” by his then girlfriend Crystal Smith , who used the stage name ; Dimples D. Marl’s next big record would be “Roxanne’s Revenge” by Roxanna Shante , an answer record to U.T.F.O’s classic smash-hit “Roxanne , Roxanne” , thus sparking the famous “Roxanne wars” , which produced several answer records by various artists.
During this time Marl also put out records of his own under the moniker NYC Cutter. Soon after , Marl founded Cold Chillin’ Records , which for the next few years released classic singles and albums by Big Daddy Kane , Biz Markie , Masta Ace , Kool G. Rap & DJ Polo , Craig G. , Roxanne Shante and his cousin M.C. Shan , whose classic cult hit “The Bridge” , sparked the famous musical war with the South Bronx’s Boogie Down Productions crew.
These artists made up The Juice Crew and released the classic 1988 posse single “The Symphony” , which Marley of course produced. Around this time , Marl would also assist in the recording of Eric B. And Rakim’s debut album “Paid In Full” , which was recorded at Marl’s home studio.
Marl is also credited with being the first hip-hop artist to utilize digital sampling when he lifted “Impeach The President” by The Honey Drippers for M.C. Shan’s “The Bridge”. This would forever change the way hip-hop beats were made and the way records were produced. Marl was also one of the first producers to comb through James Brown’s entire music catalogue in search of break-beats that would now fuel most rap hits.
Legal matters over ownership of Cold Chillin’s catalogue with the distributor caused Marl to move away from the label in the 90’s but his demand as a hit-making producer grew. Marl would go on the produce hit albums for artists outside of Cold Chillin’ , like LL Cool J , TLC , Lords Of The Underground and King Tee.
The legal battle for Cold Chillin’s catalogue would be eventually resolved in the courts , with Marl retaining ownership of all material ever recorded for the label.
Later on Marl would produce records by Capone-N-Noreaga , Da Youngstas , Fat Joe and a solo Rakim.
Marl has released 4 albums of his own as well as collaboration albums with KRS-One and Craig G. from 1988 to 2010. In addition Marl has also contributed to several compilation collections.
Marl is considered one of the most important producers and figures in hip-hop history.