Marley Marl (feat MC Shan) – Marley Marl Scratch


Cold Chillin’ Promo Photo

Marley Marl feat MC Shan – Marley Marl Scratch from the NIA Records 12″

When I started this blog over a year ago, I wanted to focus on the foundations of Hip Hop, the songs that were sampled, and the originators. These were the men and women of Funk, Soul, Jazz, and Reggae who would lay down these foundations for Hip Hop since it’s inception. There are so many Hip Hop blogs out there who can do a better job than me, so that is why I didn’t include Hip Hop commentary in this blog specifically. I do own an enormous amount of it, and like I’ve said in earlier posts, Hip Hop is what started me DJing. However, in light on the new party I’m throwing, someone (DJ Jack the Ripper) suggested I write up this very record, said to be one of the most influential Hip Hop 12″ of all time. So without delaying it any further, here’s Marley Marl and “Scratch” on Nia Records from 1985.

Marley Marl. aka Marlon Williams was born in Harlem in 1962. Starting out in Queensbridge, the famous housing project that fueled Hip Hop’s first beef, he learned his production as at Unique studios. He would release a record on Tuff City under the name NYC Cutter with “DJ Cuttin'” in 1985. An innovator in drum sampling, the man set the bar (and it was a high one), combining drum machine sounds and record samples, James Brown, Parliament, etc. His weapon of choice was the Roland 808, and it would be by mistake almost that he would combine a sampled snare on a record with a snare from the drum machine. The Marley Marl Sound was born. It took quite a while for other producers to catch up. By that time, he had scored hits as a producer with Roxanne Shanté , The Biz, MC Shan, Big Daddy Kane, Eric B. and Rakim, and went on to have production credits on records by LL Cool J, Lords of the Underground, Masta Ace, and many, many more. His record “The Bridge” by MC Shan spawned the first Hip Hop beef, with the Bronx’s own Boogie Down Production answering back on their record “The Bridge Is Over”. Hip Hop beefs and crew battles begin. The Juice Crew, which consisted of Kane, Markie, MC Shan, Masta Ace, Craig G, Kool G Rap & Polo, Shanté, and others, would really be a super crew of performers, who all gained iconic success and fame with Marley as the leader (also A&R man) and captain of Cold Chillin’ Records. A great group effort can be heard on “The Symphony” (where you’ll hear the Juice Crew and a young Nas doing his thing), which is said to be the first Posse cut. Marley Marl, besides being a ground breaking producer, artist, and A&R man, also held down several radio shows in his illustrious career. Starting out on Mr. Magic’s Rap Attack on WBLS, he also did In Control with Marley Marl, teaming up Chocolate Boy Wonder Pete Rock, and also the latest and greatest, Future Flavors, which has launched careers for many rappers.

My man Jack the Ripper is right. This timeless classic, featuring MC Shan, shows the all around skills of Marley Marl: his production and scratching as a DJ. “All you other DJ’s are a bunch of jerks” is challenging all comers to battle. It introduces the Marley Marl scratch (which is funky fresh), and is the epitome of an 80’s rap record. This side has all the right pieces: A dope MC, great beats and production, and some tight scratching. Shan and Marley call everyone out, and I can imagine there were many in Queensbridge trying to get to what Chuck D has called “the one man production predecessor to Dr. Dre.” Marley Marl once said that if people were feeling his production they heard out the window in Queensbridge, he knew it was right on time. His production has come a long way, has influenced many an aspiring Hip Hop producer, and make shim one of a kind. Without Marley Marl, we would not have many of the classic Hip Hop records we have at present time. He changed the game then and continues to keep the game fresh today. I’ll see you Friday. Keep Diggin’!

4 responses to “Marley Marl (feat MC Shan) – Marley Marl Scratch

  1. Pres, I gotta credit you along with Tobias Kirmayer and Florian Keller in getting me to reevaluate old school rap. I’m enjoying it more this time around.
    You’re right this one epitomizes the genre and year; with the interplay between MC and DJ …and of course the classic bombastic Marley Marl production.
    In the 12″ catagory I’d rank it right up there with Eric B. & Rakim’s “Eric B. Is President” , DJ Polo & Kool G Rap’s “It’s A Demo”b/w”I’m Fly” and a select few , as one of the defining moments.

    I hope you’ll continue to pull some old hip hop joints off the shelf from time to time.

    And for anyone interested we will be rockin this shit all night this Friday at Asbury Lanes!

  2. Marley you played this song one night and the artist sampled mike tysons punch out. I need to here that and put that in my fiels. the song was crazy hook me up . GOODZ.

  3. I am lucky to have an original pressing of this historic record….sounds great with the crackle!!

  4. Nice article but I must correct one thing!

    “The Symphony” (where you’ll hear the Juice Crew and a young Nas doing his thing)”
    Nas was not on the the first Symphony, the lineup was Master Ace (the debut you’re probably confusing with Nas), Craig G, Kool G Rap and Big Daddy Kane.

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