PREMIERE: Marlon Craft ft. Radamiz “New York Sh*t” Video
Hell's Kitchen's finest
“M. Craft the Unchosen One” has been doing his thing for a minute now, but our paths only crossed recently. Chino met him on the playground playing ball and later discovered that he was nice on the mic, but the connection was not made until he popped up on Statik Selekta’s Showoff Radio show on Shade 45.
The performance impressed Hectah. Obviously the kid had skills but more impressive was the truth of his bars, the fact that he was talking about his real life rather than typical “rapper fantasies” in an original and compelling way. So we reached out on Facebook and invited him down to MASS APPEAL HQ, where he showed us this video, the first look from his forthcoming project The Tunnel’s End. Plans for the premiere unfolded from there.
“For the visuals, we really just wanted to shoot the New Yorkest video in recent memory,” Craft explains. “Immediately I hit No Idea’s Original, my video team and was like “we have to shoot this shit in a deli.” It was actually a long process because NYC encapsulates so much culture and aesthetic that we had to keep going out and getting more footage to feel like we were doing it justice. Ultimately, I wanted to capture and represent the New York culture and aesthetic that I was raised in, that native New Yorkers can relate to—the characters, the bodegas, the basketball courts, etc.
This video is a last resistance to an increasingly gentrified, culture-zapped New York where authentic native culture is being replaced by out-of-town professionals and flavor of the month nonsense. We’re not having that shit.”
Check the video, also featuring Brooklyn spitter Radamiz, up top, and then read the interview that follows.
How did you end up on Statik’s show?
We’ve been trying to like break through and get me on all these radio shows because that’s what I do, in front of a mic and do my thing. It was just one of those things where just someone that we knew, knew someone who knew static and they sent some shit his way and he was like dope, set it up have him come through, just like that. You know we’re always just chopping away at who do we know that can get this in front of somebody, it was just some regular shit like that.
What kind of feedback did he give you?
It was all positive, he was very much just like keep going, this is very dope keep me updated with the music, shit is dope, you can rap. Static, them dudes are so established I don’t think there’s anything you can go in there and do and they’ll be like oh shit but just for him to be like yo you’re dope, that was enough for me. I’ve been a fan of him for a minute.
You got in touch with P?
It’s fucked up, I was texting with P, like a month ago and we were gonna possibly talk about doing some stuff and he was like next time I’m in the city I’m gonna hit you up. Mobb Deep was like my shit.
How’d you get in touch with him?
We knew someone who knew his manager and so they had sent over some stuff and I had done something over survival of the fittest that went super viral about 8 months ago and he had commented on it when it went viral and showed some love. Then I opened for them in D.C but I didn’t meet them and then we had sent some more stuff to his manager that he dug a lot so he hit me personally. He was like yo text me, ima hit you next time I’m in the city and then I just kept being like I was about to follow up with him but I just felt like we had mad time and I didn’t want to bug him so then I was so bummed… not because of me but because he’s P and it’s just terrible.
While he was on the planet you learned that he fucked with your bars. He took the time to comment and it doesn’t surprise me honestly because I think this is also what Hectah pointed out when he highlighted your performance. You’re not speaking about a fantasy or like some action-movie shit, you’re speaking about real things in life that obviously are coming from a true place.
It was authentic and that’s what I’m all about, this idea of authenticity and I think that’s why people fuck with me like even though they’re like confused at first which is the whole thing but they’re just like it seems real. That’s how P was too, he was totally different from me, he’s like rapping about all this gangster shit. I saw a Joe Budden thing about how his words didn’t even always rhyme all the time, he wasn’t the illest lyricist ever but he was so raw and visceral but it was also authentic, I believed it. That’s the difference between someone like P and these guys now that talk a lot about this drug dealing gang bang shit. I don’t have a problem with any of that, I grew up on that. I grew up on dudes like P, I believe P, I don’t know if I believe everybody else. You know what I’m sayin’? That authenticity is big to me.
You said they’re confused. What does the confusion result from?
I think obviously I break the mode in terms of my appearance, in terms of what people think.There’s plenty of rappers that look like me now but it’s usually some frat boy bullshit or some top 40 type of thing and I don’t sound like that and the type of music I make is not what they expect. We just had a video, the people that comment are always saying how is that voice coming from this body. I just think it’s dope because I’m just all about breaking down stereotypes in general and being who you are, being authentic in general is who I am. I grew up in New York, I’ve always been into Hip Hop and all the things. Everything I talk about is my life, things that are important to me and that’s just what it is and that’s what I think is beautiful about Hip Hop, there’s always space for someone being themselves.
Does that bug you though, seeing those comments?
Nah, because they always come from some white kid in like Bumblefuck Minnesota and then motherfuckers like P are like yo, you’re real and I’m like I wonder whose opinion I care about. We find that the people who stop me on the street or on the train or the people who are showing love seem like real, authentic new yorkers and authentic hip hop fans. The people that are like, you’re not this or you’re not that or like how are you so new york, no way you’re so new york and then you click on the profile and it’s like Idaho or Kentucky or some shit.
We were talking about this on the way over here and that’s why I’m so happy to be over here at MASS APPEAL. This shit is happening the way I want it to happen, these are the next steps for me. Fucking with people like you guys, fucking with people that appreciate the culture and that are curators of the culture, that’s who I want the respect from and that’s what I want to be the foundation. So I’m cool with the hate because of where it comes from.
How did you actually get into making music?
Well, you know my pops is a jazz musician so music was in my blood but I was always a writer. I write poems and shit and then I getting into like middle school and high school I started writing raps cause I always listened to hip hop but it was more like a coping mechanism. I had bad anxiety and shit and I would just like stress so I’d turn to writing and the form I chose was rap because that’s the culture I was in.
So I started writing but it was this real like private shit, it was only like a few friends in high school, me and two other friends and we’d do it but I didn’t like tell anyone else because growing up in New York everyone’s trying to be a rapper and I never wanted to put it forward if I wasn’t serious about this shit and then I just always in the back of my head I was like this is what I wanna do, I’m just not ready. Then when I got to college it became abundantly clear that college was not for me, that anything that’s not Hip Hop was not for me. That’s when I started taking it really seriously and doing all my own shit and I’ve been doing all my own shit. This is my first project that I didn’t completely engineer by myself. All the shit I’ve recorded by myself, including this project I recorded by myself and I did like rough mixes but then I got somebody to help me. I totally taught myself everything and its been just putting stuff out from there man.
So in the crib, you’ve got a studio?
I’ve got the studio, same videos that you see me rapping on and shit that’s where I make all my music.
Where do you get your beats from?
On this project I got coming up I’ve been working with Marco Polo a lot, he’s been a mentor to me recently and he’s helped me out so he’s got three joints and then I’ve got this dude Arbis that I met on the internet from Sweden and he’s a beast. I hope I don’t spill the beans and then I can’t afford a beat. He’s dope and then I’ve got another dude, Denado, that’s dope that I found on YouTube also, it’s like millennial shit. I just found people online and just dug and dug and dug until I found the people that were dope and then I reached out and just built with them. Those are the main people but I’m trying to start working with more people, more live musicians as well.
So have you had any light from the blogs yet?
I came up heavily with Team Backpack and that’s how I got most of my exposure early on. I won their competition a year ago and then they started promoting my stuff and I had some stuff go viral, they’ve been a big help. DJ Booth showed some love and I talked to Z and he’s the homie and then that’s about it. Then yesterday actually, Two Dope Boys ran a piece, I had no idea they were gonna run it, they just ran it and like I was like oh shit. That the first major blog besides DJ Booth. But because I’m not in the game, I don’t have some big shot manager that everyone knows, I don’t have a budget, I don’t pay a publicist. All my socials are organic, I’m almost at 100,000 on Facebook and that’s just from videos going viral, I don’t have any money or budget or anything. The deeper I get into the game and I know there’s money behind everybody and I don’t have any, this is all we’ve done organically so we’re really excited to like take these next steps with these next projects and see what we can do and the more we can build with dope people like you guys.
What’s the project called?
Pre-Order The Tunnel’s End here.