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Interview By: Toreon Scott
Who Is John Marley?
Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love, holds a lot of unseen talent. Although it’s home of the battle rap scene, a lot of aspiring artists don’t make it out.
John Marley, a prolific artist with quite the catalog, brings flavor to that new and improved underground gangsta rap. Featured on platforms, such as “Philly Spotlights” and “Ear Crack Radio“, at 28, John has stayed consistent and humble within his craft; even after being released from jail in 2019.
Life wasn’t easy for him, but John never gave up staying loyal to his family, raising his kids the right way, and elevating his music. Most of John’s inspirations come from, what I like to call, the golden millennium age of Hip-Hop. Artists like Kanye West, 50 Cent, and Lil Wayne had a huge impact on the world and young minds. This was a time when YouTube battle rap was in its pioneering stages, along with the baggy clothes, bulletproof vests, and other vibes of the early 2000s that perplexed the generation of that moment. John Marley utilizes this same aesthetic and attitude in his current artistry and this is what keeps him thriving in his own lane.
After collaborating with iconic artists like Lil B, ‘The Based God‘, John Marley stays motivated by his family, working effortlessly. He continues to jump into different business avenues within the industry, like owning and managing his own label, creating merchandise, and aspirations of touring into 2022.
So far, this year, Marley has dropped 4 music videos, 5 singles and an EP. Determined to have his music played worldwide and eventually bringing home a Grammy, among other rewards to show for as his artistry, he will continue to improve and captivate the music industry ahead of him.
Scott: How old are you and where you from?
Marley: I’m 28 years old and I’m from Philadelphia, PA.
Scott: You got good material in your music; definitely got that ‘Philly‘ vibe. What where some of your influences in music?
Marley: Kanye West, “College Drop Out”. “Get Rich or Die Trying”, the movie. Lil Wayne and the ‘nappy braids’ Meek Mill. All was motivation and influenced me. I wanted to be like them when I was a little kid.
Scott: Cool. I had all the Kanye albums. One of the best, in my opinion. Artists like 50 Cent and himself really laid down the blueprint on how to succeed in the industry. What do you plan on doing with your career from this moment on? Any collaborations or promotion in the works?
Marley: Well, I dropped a new EP on April 8th, which you can get on every platform. But as for collaborations, I have a feature on my new EP with Lil B ‘The Based God. He was on that Lil Wayne song back in the day. But I’m Cool off features for now. Summer 2022 I’m going on tour with LaStarrRecords. And I’m working on my album but there’s no set date for that. I honestly think that’s what will push me over the top.
Scott: Growing up, what were the most valuable things you’ve learned in life? Word has it that a lot of people in Philly get clipped on the cool, along with police disregarding its own citizens. How was it like making it to the big 28 and making it out with your family and kids?
Marley: Shit, I’m still in it. I would say if you stay in your own lane, you would be cool but I can’t even say that. God blessed me to make it and jail saved me too. I think back to how I was, from ages 17-23 and surprised, myself, that I’m out here still. I just want to raise my kids to be “booksmart” and “streetsmart”, but I will do my best to never have them be “street“ if that makes any sense.
Scott: Yeah bro, I tell all my people to give their kids books and knowledge. That’s the powerful stuff right there. It’s not easy coming out of prison. How did you get back on your feet and how much music did you put out from then til now?
Marley: I’m still trying to get on my feet. I came home about a year and a half ago. First came home, they sent me to a halfway house. It was hard, couldn’t get a job. I was scared to go back to the streets because of the murder rate. Not scared as in someone taking my life, but I don’t want to take someone else’s life and end up back up top. But I had finally got a job and then the Corona had hit. After that I told myself I’m not working for anyone ever again. But I’ve put out 4 videos, an EP and 5 singles since I’ve been home. I’m starting to get my buzz back up around the city.
Scott: Only way to go is up. So you got your buzz and plans for the next year. Do you ever see yourself retiring in the music business? What’s the ultimate goal when you reach that finish line?
Marley: My main goal is to have my music played worldwide, bring my mom home a Grammy and just bring the young generation back to reality! I don’t see myself retiring anytime soon, but yes I do see myself retiring in the music business and having my kids run everything that I leave to them.