Studying at the feet of his mentor, legendary DJ Mr. Magic, Queensbridge legend Marley Marl helped establish the role of a superproducer in Hip-Hop with his unbelievable run of successes with the Juice Crew, Eric B. & Rakim, Heavy D. and more.
Born Marlon Williams, Marley's innovations took Hip-Hop sampling to unparalleled heights in the late 1980s, ushering in a golden age of sampling that saw a generation of legendary producers emerge in his wake. On Cold Chillin' Records, Marley laid the sonic backdrop for his famed Juice Crew mainstays; including Big Daddy Kane, Kool G Rap, MC Shan and the late, great Biz Markie.
So in recognition of the great Marley Marl's birthday, we picked five of the tracks we love to illustrate the genius out of Queens.
The Vapors - Biz Markie
Marley and the Juice Crew always made magic. And on this beloved Biz Markie single, you get a perfect combination of beats and rhymes. Timeless stuff.
Ain't No Half-Steppin' - Big Daddy Kane
Another classic Juice Crew cut (Marley likes the Mary Jane Girls, you'll see them again soon) that serves as a de facto theme song for King Asiatic Nobody's Equal.
She's Dope! - Bell Biv DeVoe
This blazing hot single from the former New Edition dudes is still one of their most beloved hits, and Marley's remix made it a staple on R&B radio back in 1991.
Jingling Baby - LL COOL J
A dancefloor anthem if ever there was one. When James Todd needed to get the crowd moving, he called in Marley and the rest is history, baby.
The Symphony - Marley Marl
Marley put together Hip-Hop's Avengers for this Juice Crew-defining cut. Indisputably one of the greatest rap tracks ever, and a posse cut tour de force, this is one of Marley's masterpieces.