Marley Marl

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Marley Marl
Birth name Marlon Lu'ree Williams
Born (1962-09-30) September 30, 1962 (age 52)
New York City, New York, United States
Origin Queensbridge, Queens, New York, U.S.
Genres Hip hop
Occupation(s) CEO, DJ, record producer, rapper
Years active 1983–present
Labels Cold Chillin'/Warner Bros./Def Jam Records/Barely Breaking Even
Associated acts MC Shan, Juice Crew, Kool G. Rap, King Tee, Rakim, LL Cool J, KRS-One, Masta Ace, Pete Rock, Nas, TLC (group), Lords of the Underground
Notable instruments
Akai MPC-60, E-mu SP-1200, Roland TR-808

Marlon Lu'ree Williams (born September 30, 1962), better known as Marley Marl, is an American DJ, record producer, and record label founder, primarily operating in the world of hip hop music.

Sampling pioneer[edit]

In the 1980s, Marley Marl was an innovator in the art of sampling. Marl was the first to sample a breakbeat and reprogram it.[citation needed] The sample was the The Honey Drippers' "Impeach the President" breakbeat, and he used it on the MC Shan single "The Bridge" from 1985. Marl was also among the first to mine James Brown records for samples.[citation needed]

On his early records, Marl's trademark sound—fairly unique at the time—was a combination of synthetic beats and samples. One production technique he used was triggering short samples loaded in 3 Korg SDD-2000 sampling-delay units through the trigger out of the Roland TR-808.[citation needed]

In the late 1980s, Marl's records became more sample-heavy, the rhythms less electronic; drum samples and sampled patterns became more prominent.

In 1994, Marley Marl was referenced on Biggie Smalls' track "Juicy" as being one of Smalls' early influences. Marl's music has also influenced RZA, DJ Premier, and longtime friend Pete Rock[1]


Marl started his career by working for Tuff City Records,[when?] where he debuted as an electro producer, working on "The God-Father" by Spoonie Gee, among others. He was also affiliated with Andre Harrell's Uptown Records—Marl was featured on the label posse cut "Uptown is Kickin' it" and he produced for Uptown artist and friend Heavy D and the Boyz. The next year, Marl also recorded a diss response to "Roxanne Roxanne" by UTFO, with female M.C.Roxanne Shanté.

Marl produced many songs for other artists, including King Tee, LL Cool J, and Lords of the Underground, and Eric B. & Rakim's first hits "My Melody" and "Eric B Is President". He was also the house producer of the Juice Crew, which included Big Daddy Kane, Biz Markie, Roxanne Shanté, Kool G Rap & DJ Polo, Craig G, MC Shan and Masta Ace. Juice Crew was known for advances in lyrical technique[citation needed] and the distinctive personalities of its members.

Marl founded Cold Chillin' Records[when?] as a home for his productions, and filled its roster with some of the most prominent hip hop talent then working in New York: MC Shan, Big Daddy Kane, Biz Markie, Roxanne Shanté, Craig G, Kool G Rap & DJ Polo, and Masta Ace.

In 1985, Marl recorded and released his first solo track, "DJ's Cuttin" under the pseudonym "NYC Cutter". Marl put out the first full-length release under his own name in 1988, In Control, Vol. 1, which was mostly a showcase for Juice Crew members.

Marl scored his greatest crossover success in 1990 by producing LL Cool J's Mama Said Knock You Out. The album became his[who?] biggest seller ever, leading to Marl becoming an in-demand remix producer.

After working with TLC on their 1992 debut, Marl's production activity slowed. He separated from Cold Chillin' and 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.

Later in the 1990s, Marl's status as a high-profile producer was restored due to his work with artists like Rakim, Lords Of The Underground, Queensbridge's own Capone-N-Noreaga, Da Youngstas and Fat Joe.

In September 2007, Marley Marl received an award from the Berklee College of Music for his contribution to music.


Marley Marl has long been a radio deejay, debuting alongside Mr. Magic in the 1980s on the Rap Attack show on WBLS New York, and later on In Control with Marley Marl. Marl started his own radio show called Pirate Radio, later hosted by Pete Rock and K-Def. Another(?) radio show was called Future Flavas, an online station and radio show that bounced around from New York radio stations like Hot 97 and Power 105.1. Now Marley is currently back where it all started, WBLS, with his radio show called Golden Era Radio.

Marley is still touring the world deejaying, playing his brand of funk for fans of hip hop's "Golden Era", the late 1980s.

He is also producing a film called The Vapors, based on Marl and the Juice Crew.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

On June 5, 2007, Marley Marl suffered a heart attack.[citation needed] 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.





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