Marcus Smith, a versatile artist from Cleveland, has evolved from local hip-hop bands to a thriving solo career, showcasing his rap, singing, and songwriting abilities. His latest album, “Unique Mélange,” weaves together diverse musical styles and emotions, reflecting his personal journey and passion for creating a profound connection through music.
Marcus Smith is a multifaceted artist who emerged from the vibrant music scene of Cleveland, OH. With a background in local hip-hop bands such as Black & Broke and SANKURO, he has transitioned into a thriving solo career that showcases his rap, singing, and songwriting talents.
Growing up in a music-centric family with nine siblings, Marcus found inspiration in his family’s musical heritage. His connection to his name, shared with his father and older brother, fuels his drive to honor their legacy through his work.
A self-taught musical virtuoso, Marcus embarked on a journey of mastering instruments at a young age. From the piano at 14, he progressively conquered the guitar, bass, ukulele, and drums. This diverse skill set sets the stage for his unique fusion of musical styles, drawing influence from artists like Gym Class Heroes, Lenny Kravitz, Childish Gambino, and Bruno Mars. Looking ahead, Marcus’s creativity knows no bounds. Collaborative projects are a significant part of his journey, including joint Eps with Jean Kong, Tracee Shade, and JAMPOP, as well as his upcoming concept album “Turtle Beach.”
In essence, Marcus Smith’s journey exemplifies an artist who seamlessly blends genres, instruments, and emotions into a symphony that resonates with audiences worldwide. From his Cleveland origins to his global ambitions, Marcus’s music speaks volumes about his passion and dedication.
“Unique Mélange” his latest album, was released on June 16, 2023. It was recorded at Breakthrough Sounds recording studio in Valley View, OH, by studio owner Toobe Fresco. Additionally, Jeff Larch contributed to the recording process from his personal studio.
The album’s title, “Unique Mélange,” aptly reflects his style and the content of the album. The title translates to “An interesting mixture,” which accurately captures the diverse range of musical styles showcased within the 13 tracks and 2 bonus tracks. The album seamlessly transitions between super-lyrical raps, UK dance, smooth R&B, and crisp harmonies. Marcus’s intention behind the album was to not only tell his personal story but also to highlight his various influences and skills. Through this diverse collection of tracks, he aims to create a musical experience that truly embodies his identity and artistic journey.
Unique Mélange’s Track list:
- An Interesting Mixture (Intro)
- Killer Tofu
- Rough Year
- Ambiguous Specificity
- A Lil Something (Skit)
- She Don’t Care
- Family Shit
- Pops (Interlude)
- Day After Day
- Til It’s Over
- Jalapeño Cheese
- Sandwiches – Bonus Track
- Day After Day – Radio Edit
“Killer Tofu” is a song written in 2020 by Marcus Smith, in response to a “Grand Rising Challenge” by the NYC hip-hop duo Mankind. Initially, Marcus had penned about 2 minutes of lyrics, inspired by the challenge, but decided to salvage the verses by pairing them with a captivating beat produced by Jon Baylor from Las Vegas. This creative collaboration led to the creation of “Killer Tofu,” which Marcus felt was the ideal opening track for an album and a perfect introduction to his musical style for newcomers. The title of the song, “Killer Tofu,” is a nod to the similarly named track performed by the fictional band The Beets, featured in the 90s cartoon “Doug” on Nickelodeon.
Til It’s Over:
“Til It’s Over” stands as a testament to Marcus Smith’s profound relationship with hip-hop, which has been an integral part of his life journey from an early age. The song takes the form of a musical personification, with hip-hop embodied as a woman, embodying the essence of the genre and its enduring impact. Serving as an homage to the music that has left an indelible mark on his existence, Marcus’s lyrics serve as a heartfelt narrative that retraces his hip-hop-filled memories.
The track’s opening line, “She was only 21 when I met her,” is laden with significance, paying tribute to the iconic release of “Rapper’s Delight” in 1979 – a groundbreaking song that predates Marcus’s birth by 21 years. This clever nod creates a temporal link, illustrating the song’s central theme of hip-hop’s enduring legacy, spanning generations and resonating across time.
Marcus’s collaboration with the SHORT BUSS13 collective is a testament to his ability to seamlessly blend his personal narrative with the contributions of fellow artists. Together with Dave Zup’s input, a harmonious musical synergy is forged. Through this rich layering, Marcus crafts an immersive experience that encourages listeners to engage with the song on multiple levels, discovering new depths with each listen. Ultimately, “Til It’s Over” functions as a heartfelt tribute not just to the genre that has shaped Marcus Smith’s artistic identity, but also to the culture and history that birthed hip-hop.
“Ambiguous Specificity” takes its name from a quote by Grammy-winning songwriter Ben Folds and represents a dream realized for the artist. The song is a collaboration with Disashi Soul, a member of Gym Class Heroes and a musical hero of the artist. The track holds deep personal significance as it combines influences from both angsty pop punk and hip-hop, a fusion that resonated with the artist’s musical taste.
“Ambiguous Specificity” stands as a testament to the Marcus’s journey of musical discovery, where their influences and experiences converge to create a heartfelt homage to their musical idols. The collaboration with Disashi Soul brings together two generations of musicians, blending their individual styles to craft a song that captures the essence of their shared passion for music that defies easy categorization.
“Sandwiches” stands as a musical gem within Marcus Smith’s body of work, encapsulating a profound slice of life in its notes and lyrics. It serves as a testament to the unexpected wellsprings of inspiration that can be found in the everyday. The narrative at the core of the song revolves around a seemingly ordinary moment: Marcus’s post-Japanese class routine of visiting a sandwich shop for sustenance. Yet, within this unassuming act lies the seed of creativity that blossomed into the song.
From its spontaneous creation, it underwent transformation when embraced by his band, Black & Broke. The band infused it with a distinctive Hard Rock sound, allowing the song to evolve in tandem with their musical identity. By including it as a bonus within his album, he pays homage to its importance in his musical narrative, while allowing it to find its place in the broader scope of his artistic evolution.
In essence, “Sandwiches” is not merely a catchy composition; it’s a vignette from Marcus Smith’s creative journey. It captures growth, change, and the way music becomes a tapestry weaving together different life chapters. Its unassuming narrative mirrors the beauty of the human experience, mirrored through the lens of music.
She Don’t Care:
“She Don’t Care” shines as Marcus Smith’s inaugural single from this album, bearing a heartfelt homage to the UK Garage icon, Craig David. With roots tracing back to his admiration for Craig David since the release of his debut single in 2000, this song holds a special place in Marcus’s heart as a tribute to a major musical influence.
The track showcases Marcus’s willingness to step out of his customary musical comfort zone. Drawing inspiration from the infectious energy of Jorja Smith’s “On My Mind,” Marcus set out to create a tune that would compel listeners to hit the dance floor.
At the core of “She Don’t Care” lies a chorus that emerged from a 2013 tweet by a close friend of Marcus. The tweet’s line, “She only sleeps when the sun rises, the birds chirp, and the traffic starts,” lingered in his mind for nearly a decade. A spark of intuition ignited back then, indicating that this phrase held the potential to become something extraordinary in the realm of music.
The album stands as a testament to Marcus Smith’s prowess, seamlessly harmonizing his vocals with intricately woven instrumentals to construct a musical journey that deeply resonates with its listeners. Every track serves as a canvas where Marcus’s emotions and narratives are masterfully painted, employing a delicate balance of melodies and rhythms to communicate a spectrum of feelings and viewpoints. His vocals possess an authenticity that infuses life into the lyrics, forging a genuine connection that draws the audience into the core of each composition. It’s the profound depth of the lyricism that forms the album’s foundation, elevating it beyond mere entertainment and leaving an indelible mark on those who immerse themselves in its compositions.
The instrumentals play an indispensable role in conveying the emotional undercurrents of each track, creating an immersive sonic landscape that envelops the senses. The meticulous arrangement of instruments, the interplay of melodies, and the rhythmic cadence work in harmonious synchrony, crafting a holistic musical tapestry that exemplifies Marcus’s meticulous attention to detail and his dedication to creating a fully immersive auditory experience. From the very first note to the resounding finish, each track exudes a sense of purpose and passion that lingers well beyond the final echo. It’s an album that beckons to be not just heard, but felt deeply within one’s core; a true masterpiece of Marcus Smith’s artistry, speaking eloquently to the ability of music to stir emotions, provoke introspection, and forge connections that transcend time and space.
Don’t hesitate any longer – immerse yourself in this musical masterpiece that promises to not only ignite your rhythmic senses but also resonate deeply with the emotions conveyed through its melodies. Prepare to be enthralled by the synergy of vocal delivery seamlessly interwoven with the instrumentals, offering an unforgettable journey through sound and emotions. Go check out this album now!.
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