S4 Ep1 Drum To Pen | Stories | Hart House (2024)

From Drum to the Pen In Conversation with Marcus Singleton, aka iomos marad, Part 1

Marco Adamovic: Peace everybody, this is Marco Adamovic: aka Vic Adamo, and we're back with another Hart House Hip-Hop Education takeover of Stories from the Hart. We're coming to you live from Dish with One Spoon Territory in T’karonto, and we're grateful for the opportunity to live, work, and build here. Working with our campus partners and community Hip-Hop practitioners, Hart House Hip-Hop Education supports values of representation, collaboration, and social justice as we explore the key principles of Hip-Hop and its importance in our everyday culture. Google Hart House Hip Hop Education to learn more. Okay, today's episode is a special one, and the first of a three-part series. Rarely do we get the chance to connect, let alone build and intersect on so many levels with a guest, but Marcus Singleton, aka iomos marad, is just that type of dude. He's an MC, scholar, activist, and change maker who's dedicated his life to empowering and uplifting others, whether through music, the academy, or the community. We chatted about his start with music and Hip-Hop, the tape that changed his life, his personal journey growing up in Chicago, and how he defines Hip-Hop. We've been very blessed to have him join our Hip-Hop Education crew as our inaugural community connector. And I just don't think I have the words to fully describe him. So, I'll let Episode One give you the proper intro. Without further ado, let's get into it. My conversation with Marcus Singleton, aka iomos marad.

One of the things that obviously connects us music. And so, you know, for me, I'm always, like, I always love to learn about how people got into music, you know, and so, like, where your journey began. So, you know, from the beginning, take me back to the origin story of, you know, your, your musical journey.

Marcus Singleton: Yeah, for me, it started with like, first it started with me being a B boy. Because, like, you know, like, breaking was out during that time. And I just, I don't know, man, I just fell in love with, like, just that part of Hip-Hop. You know what I mean? And obviously, like the rappin’, but my first entry into doing music was like, trying to be a B boy, like breakdancing. You know what I'm saying? and then when I went to go see Beat Street, I'll never forget, like, we, I spent my money to get on public transportation, to get to the theater. But I didn't have money to get in. So we snuck in to see Beat Street. And it blew my mind the stuff that they were doing. Because you know, like breaking, no diss to breaking. But breaking was kind of basic. You know, it wasn't really like doing the intricate stuff that they were doing in Beat Street, you know what I’m sayin’ and I was like, Yo, it just blew my mind. And we was trying to learn how to do it. And we I just couldn't get it. Like my friends was getting it. I was like, I just couldn't get it. So then I went from that to doing trying to do, I knew I couldn't do graffiti because I can't even draw straight lines. So I was like, yeah, that's out. you know what I’m sayin’ that then I couldn't afford like DJ equipment. So the next best thing was like, rhymin’, but that didn't come until later. Like, when I got older. Like my, my, well, I started thinking about like writing when a friend of mine, he got murdered. He was a little bit older than us. He got murdered. I remember being frustrated and wanting to like, retaliate, but not in like the physical sense because I wasn't built like that. you know what I’m sayin’ and I was just like, so I just remember writing about it. You know, so that was like my first introduction to like, writing and then, I went away to school. And then I met a guy named Tuffy. He was from Baltimore. And he the one that taught me how to write my first rhyme. Like he like, took me step by step like how this is how you write a rhyme, think of a concept write a rhyme, and I was blown away by that. And then when I came back home, I was thinking about my identity, like who I was like, as a black man, who am I like where am I from? And I remember walking to my cousin's house. And it was like, during the summer, I think are coming out of like coming out of summer going into the fall, but it was still like warm. And I remember he had all the windows open in the house and the door open except for the screen door where you could hear the music blast. So I heard the music as I was walking around the corner I could hear it. I was like, Man, what a music coming from. So as I got close to it was coming out of my cousin's house, and he was playing Jungle Brothers. Straight out the Jungle. And that's what I was like, yeah this what I want to do. Like, that's when I heard that album. And when I heard like, straight out the jungle and he was like educated man from the motherland. You see, they call me a star, but that's not what I am. I'm a urban brother, a true blue brother. Yeah, I was like, Yo, what is this like, it just blew my mind. And then when I heard Q Tip on Black is Black, when I heard Q tip, that's when I was like, Yeah, this is what I want to do. Like, I want to rhyme, I want to rhyme like him. And so that's, that's, that was my introduction to music.

Marco Adamovic: There’s an assumption that, you know, once you find that you found it like that's, that's and evolution all the time as an artist. And so it's, you know, it's important, like that move from B boy, you know, I mean, fundamentally, like, dance is about expression, rhythm. I mean, all the elements of Hip-Hop, speak to rhythm, and understanding rhythm and flow.

Marcus Singleton: And my cousin, I used to look up to him, because they used to be in the back of the bus him and his guy named Kenneth Hadden, my cousin name is Leon Rogers like him and Ken Hadden's little brother Jawala. They used to always be in the back of the bus while I was younger, he wasn't in high school with us, but like Ken and my cousin will always be in the back of the bus. Like saying that knew rhyme that was out. Like they were saying, like they was the first ones I heard doing Paul Revere. They were the first one like doing Run DMC routines on the back of the bus, but they actually rhymed like they wrote their own rhymed but they were just like, it was kind of like letting other people know like, Yeah, we the one’s that’s up on the music, like we know what’s up. And so just me seeing them that was kind of like seeping into my seeping into me too like, seeing them do the routines and my cousin had like the secret spot he used to go to get all the music will never let me go with him. He'd be like, I'll be back and then two three hours later he just come back with all this music man like, golly, like, that was like my entry to like, Boot Camp Click, Wu Tang like, like my cousin was like he the first one put me on Wu Tang like I was just like blown away like he was like my entryway to like to the music and he like now he's still kind of involved with like radio because he's like a radio personality on WGCI that’s the legend Leon Rogers we was we formed a crew, a rhyme crew called Cipher Rhymin’ Elements, it was the core. And then he got into doing comedy. And then when he started doing comedy, he just, he just blew he was because he's my cousin was like, natural, I seen him, Like, make his teachers laugh where they changed his grade. Like saying like, man, you can't, I can't take this home to my mother. I won't make it back here. Like you want me to die. And the teacher just laugh and just change his grade. Like, he was always funny.

Marco Adamovic: That's amazing. That's amazing.

Marcus Singleton: So he got into comedy. And then so he started doing comedy more which left me by myself. And then which was cool. And then I just started, you know, finding my way to do Hip-Hop. So to do Hip-Hop music. So yeah, my cousin is huge when it comes to my development and my ears and, in Hip-Hop, huge, huge to like, he's like, he was the source the plug for me. And I mean, him being older and him being like, knowledgeable about who the artists were. He the one to put me on a dancehall, he was the only dude on the Southside of Chicago. I knew that was listening to Dancehall. And we're not even Caribbean descent. But he was just he was just ahead of his time with his with palette of music just ahead of his time. You know, so yeah, so yeah, I owe everything to my cousin man for real.

Marco Adamovic: Rhyming in the back of the bus and like for me what connected was just like the movement into public space. So you do get the evolution of Hip-Hop for yourself, you know, being a space where it's primarily just, you know, writing, writing and writing for yourself. But then what can you talk? What can you say about when you moved into being more public about it? And so I also read that used to drum on the CTA platform, the Chicago, Chicago Transit Authority platforms used to use the drum and rap. Well, tell us tell us how you came to the drum, and then a bit about looking back on it how you then went from the individual to the public space?

Marcus Singleton: Yeah, no doubt. Well, my mom said when I was younger, I used to pull out pots and pans and just play on the pots and pans like you know kinda like Justin Bieber, like, I've seen like, oh footage of Justin Bieber like his rhythm was off the chain when he was when he was a baby, right? So I don't think I was like at that level, but I was just like, my mom noticed that I was like playing on pots and pans and stuff. And then when she moved into another room, I would pick all that stuff up, go to wherever she was and I’d just keep playin’. So I always had like a natural rhythm, and I guess attraction to drums. And then when I got older, I played for my church, the church that me and my mother went to. And then when I started getting into Hip-Hop, I remember I did a talent show somewhere and my mom came to the talent show, and she's after the talent show I was like how you think I did? She was like, yeah, it was okay. But you just like everybody else. Like, you need to do something that's gonna set yourself apart from everybody else. And I was like, what you mean? And my mother was just throwin’ out ideas Like, why don't you mime? Yeah, I was like, mime and rhyme? you could like, I'm trapped in a box. And I'm rhyming, like, that's corny. Then she was like, I don’t know, like do theatrical poses when you rhyme. I was like that's corny. And then she was like, I don’t know, after I shut down like maybe four or five of her suggestions out of her frustration, she was just like, I don't know, you play the drums, play the drums and rhyme at the same time. And I was like, okay, so I would practice on my lap, practice on my lap and stuff. Then I got an actual set, and it was just like a natural, like a natural, you know, progression. And then I was able to, like, do it at a talent show. At this at UIC, I'll never forget. And I won first prize you know what I’m sayin’ because it was something people had never seen before, like a dude playing the drums and rhymin’ at the same time. And I'm in my rhyme, I'm saying I'm the Black Phil Collins, and I'm just flowing, I'm just going with it, you know what I’m sayin’. And so like, even with the crowd participation, playing with them, letting them be the hi hat, you know, so let them be the snare with their hand claps And I would just play the kick and a hi hat and let them clap, you know, just like just having fun with it. You know what I’m sayin’ so. So that was it, and then I met my brother, GQ, GQ the teacher who rhyme on the trains. And me and him, we just hit it off. And he's just like, man, let's just go hit CTA platform, because he had been doing it, he had been doing it for time, like I’ve seen him make like $500, from like, 9am to nine at night, just riding on the train, like doing his thing, like he would just get on the train and just ride, you know, stomping on the floor, clapping his hands and rhymin’ in patois. And that's how he made his made his living. So we just went on the platform. And we did our thing. And we made we made a lot of money that day, man, police officers was coming, dropping 20s In our bucket, because they liked the fact that we was talking about stuff that was positive. Like getting the crowd getting the crowd involved, because, you know, like, during rush hour, because you got people going south going to the south side, then you got people going to the north side from downtown. And so they was coming and going man, people was just like big crowds was formin around us, and we was just doing our thing. It was fun. It was that was the most fun I had ever like doing those platform days like rhymin’ on the platform. And it just prepared us for like, for the stage, you know what I’m saying like, for doing shows on the stage and things of that nature. So it that was amazing, I want to do it again here. Because I see that in Toronto, they got the little spot so you could perform once I get up enough nerve and I'll finish I'm definitely gonna do it. I'm definitely gonna do it.

Marco Adamovic: A little refresh of the drum and rap. You mentioned something specific about you know, bringing positivity and speaking positivity into your rhymes and as you're sort of like developing and being you know, you're absorbing all these sort of different influences and styles and learning who you are as it connects to music. Like do you remember when you decided to go one way or the other you know, if there are two ways and in art one is one is the commercial way if that makes sense and doing whatever sells and the other way is, is really holding to your value and what you believe art should be or what you believe you know connecting yourself authentically to your art and you know I mean sometimes you got to do the commercial thing to make you know make some money but what do you do remember what do you remember at all any conversations you were having about or any internal navigation that you're doing around that and how that how that's evolved?

Marcus Singleton: Yeah, I mean, I'm my mom is the first influence like I remember. I had wrote a I wrote a rhyme and I left it on the kitchen counter and my mom saw it, saw it, and she read it. And when I came home from whatever I was doing, I don't know if probably went to the park, I don't know where I came in from whatever I was doing. And my mom was like, man, it sounds like what you talkin about is good, but like, why you got to use so much profanity and da da da da da. I was like, you don’t understand, that's what you got to do in Hip-Hop, like, you know, saying that's, that's what you have to do. And this is like around the time of NWA and, you know, gangsta rap and things of that nature. And so I was like, following suit with them. And my mom was like nah you don’t have to do that. You know what I'm saying, like, you know, you can use a lot of words in the English vocabulary that you can use besides that to get your point across. And I was like, okay, and then I think KRS-One was always adamant about, not signing or not allowing record labels to control and dictate your music, always have multiple streams of income. You know what I'm saying like, don't I read somewhere, I think it was in ruminations, in his book ruminations when he said, Don't rely on one source of income. Because if you rely on one source of income, which is rapping, then those that's like the record owners and the record company owners can dictate to you what your sound is gonna be so you should always have multiple streams of income. You know, keep your nine to five job while you're doing music. There's nothing wrong with that. Go get your education, while you’re still pursuing music.? It's nothing wrong with that, you know what I’m sayin’ because all of that is going to inform what you write and what you create so between my mother havin’ conversations with my mother and between having conversations with KRS-One, and then just the people I was listening to, like, Boot Camp Clik would say stuff like commercial rap get the gun clap, they was like, anti-commercial, you know what I’m sayin’ like, anytime somebody went pop a commercial, there was like, kind of like, ostracized from the from from the culture or people who was upholding the culture. So to me it was always like, that was the path I was gonna go like, I just, I guess it was because I was informed by those I was listening to. You know what I’m saying, like Chuck D, KRS-One, poor righteous teachers, brand nubians, they were all anti commercials. And they will always talk on about social and political, you know, positions about like, where we fit in as black people, you know what I’m sayin’ like, because that was always a thing for me. Like, I was trying to figure out who I was. Yes, I was seeing brothers, like dealing drugs. And I was seeing dudes gang banging or whatever. But that was a short lifespan, or you was gonna end up in jail. So I was like, yeah, that's not the route. I definitely don't want to go that route. I definitely don't want to go that route. I felt like it wasn't it wasn't nothing wrong with being intelligent. And then plus, I had those images always in my face of KRS-One, poor righteous teachers, they always presented themselves in a way where they was like, intelligent, like Chuck D. You know, De La Soul, these type of artists like, it's like, I look at them as like black empowerment artists, just visually, you know, me, it seemed like they had a sense of understanding who they were. So that was the path that I wanted to go, I knew I didn't want to go commercial. I knew I wanted to, I always said I'm gonna stay underground. Like I'm gonna stay underground. And it's not about money. It's about to me, it's about the message. It's not about making money, or you know, using Hip-Hop as a way to hustle to get money and that's never been me. Like my close friends like my business partner right now. We often clash you know what I’m sayin’ when it comes to that, because he's like, he's, he has an entrepreneurial mindset. So he always like how do we generate money? How do we generate money? But my thing is, like, if we do the music the right way, we don't have to chase the money the money is gonna come. So that's always been my position. That's always been my position.

Marco Adamovic: you know, they've stood the test of time. Grounded in their values, in their principles and, you know, looking back on the decades that they've been here and being those beacons you know, for, you know, for artists that are coming up against that, you know, decision of, you know, how do I how do I pursue this art, how do I stay true, you know it's pretty amazing and also I think it connects to your later work and not later but your your work in your community work, and then later in your in your scholarship and how you came to education. So before we get a bit into the art and I wanted to I want to drop a line by KRS and get your your thoughts on it just to elaborate a bit more. Rap is something you do. Hip-Hop is something you live. Why is that an important statement in Hip-Hop?

Marcus Singleton: It’s because Hip means to know or become aware and Hop means to move or spring up to move into action. So the more we become conscious and the more we become aware of it, the more we move into change, like to create change, motivated to create change. So rap is something that you just you can do like any and everybody can be a rapper, I feel like even in today, it's oversaturated. Like everybody wants to rhyme or everybody wants to rap. But how many people are really living out like the Hip-Hop culture, and the principles of Hip-Hop, like, like I remember Rza said, I forget what documentary I think there's in man, I forget the name of that, that that movie where Rza was like Hip-Hop was what Hip-Hop is how you eat, sleep, drink, you know what I’m sayin’, use the bathroom, make love, like, it's everything, you know what I’m sayin’. So everything is informed by Hip-Hop, Hip-Hop culture. So like, to me, it's like is this Hip-Hop is not. Rap is not just something I'm doing. But it's a part of overall Hip-Hop culture. And to me, the mission statement for Hip-Hop is love, peace, unity, and having fun. And if it don't fit into that criteria, if you not, and I think those are good principles to live by. Love, peace, unity, and having fun. So, you know, rap is just something you can do, but Hip-Hop is about culture. And I always say too like, for these artists, like, it shouldn't be about one or a few people making someone wealthy, but it's about the whole community that they come from elevating too, and that's what Hip-Hop is about. So that's what I think the lived part of Hip-Hop is about. It's not about individuals become rich and wealthy, but it's about the community as a whole being elevated, and creating generational wealth, you know what I mean, if that makes sense. So that's to me, that's, that's the lived out version of Hip-Hop, in my opinion. And that's, that's what I'm striving for.

Marco Adamovic: Hip-Hop and music is, is you I can never, I can never ignore the message behind music whether it’s top 40 or whether it's, you know, some of the artists that you've mentioned, or any other artists that I grew up listening to, like, Chuck D and Zack de la Rocha, and all of these sort of, you know, I mean, you know to do that in our world that is quite heavily dominated by individualism and by, by capitalism, and, you know, just getting more and kind of, whether it's getting more leading the community or the ability to look at the greater good, and to also see your connection to it. I mean, it just speaks to the power of Hip-Hop as you know, not just one thing, as you say, it's because it's everything so. I wanna get into to your artist, iomos marad, I lost when did you What did you get? Did you go by anything before?

Marcus Singleton: Yeah, man, I had some wack names. I ain't got nothing to hide.

Marco Adamovic: So yeah, I mean, I mean, yeah, let's let's get into that a bit. Maybe share a bit of what you know what they meant to you and, and then tell me about where iomos marad comes from, and how it represents you as a as an emcee as an artist?

Marcus Singleton: No doubt. So my first name I think, was Stealth the Triple Gooseneck Bomber because my mom had bought me this triple goose this triple gooseneck coat and had like the cheap fake fur around the collar it was like and they had it said triple gooseneck on the sleeve. I was like yo that’s dope, Triple gooseneck. And I always wanted to be like I like I was I had an infatuation with planes like I always like top guns like one of my favorite movies so I always liked like stealth and I like learned about stealth was like oh, they go behind enemy lines undetected and drop bombs. I'm like, Yeah, that's me. Like I want to drop knowledge drop bombs on my people undetected by the oppressor blah blah blah. So I'm like, I'm stealth the triple gooseneck bomber. Like then I went from that to VYBE, vivid young black and it because I was always like, around that time when I came up with VYBE. VYBE vivid young, black and educated because I was always into acronyms like KRS-One is knowledge reigns supreme over nearly everyone. So I was like, Man, I liked that VYBE vivid young black educated and then I went from that to being a Mysteri. Because cats used to always be like, Man you like move like mysteriously like, you show up and then you’ll just disappear the same way you show up so I was like yeah, I'm be Mysteri and so it was my style. What was it my style through eternal rhyming intellect, right? M y s t e r i My style through eternal rhyming intellect. So it's Mysteri. And then from there I remember, like just moving and shaking like I did like my mom sometimes my mother thought I was like selling drugs or doing something that she thought I was like doing on drugs or selling drugs while I was moving in the street, but I was chasing Hip-Hop, like wherever they had an open mic. I was there you know, saying like, I was just like moving in the streets like that wherever Hip-Hop took me. That's where I was going. And so when I guess one of my friends was like, looking for me, it's called this was way before cell phones, I guess. I call them my mom's house. And I wasn't there. This is the age of pagers, I guess. Right. And I ain’t have one of them, you know what I’m sayin’ so, he so he called him he blowin up my house. So I finally was there one day and he called he's like, man, bro. I'm gonna try to get out with you for a minute. Joe, like, you know, Chicago, we call people Joe like, chill, man. I'm trying to get out with you for a minute, Joe. You know, I just been doin’ my thing. Man, ‘m about to start calling you iomos. Man, I’m link iomos? I was like, what did that mean? He was like man, I'm on my own sh*t. You'd be on your sh*t. And I was like, oh, man, I'm taking that. So then it was like iomos and I was like, I could have that. He's like, yeah that’s you. So I changed. I changed my name to that. And then from there, I had a conversation with a friend on the train. He had just converted to Islam. And we was just building. He gave me this book. And around this time, I was listening to Midnight Marauders and I just liked that name. Marauders like the Midnight Marauders that Tribe Called Quest Album I was like, man, Joe. I was like, man. I was like, Yeah, I I liked that name. He gave me this book. And it was like the 99 attributes of Allah and then that book, it had marad. But it was spelled m a r a d, not M a r a u d. So I was like, Yeah, I'm taking that. So I was like, iomos marad, and then you know, the conversation that was around the time I had the conversation with my mother about like, you know, using profanity in my rhymes and I changed the s to style so I'm on my own style. And then a big brother to me, named Akbar. Akbar is the one who gave who gave me the acronym to iomos (marad) and he was like infinite options manifest in one solution. Multiple abstract rhymes always directing because he's like dude, you always trying to direct people. Like when you rhymin’ and like you always like you like a teacher, you know what I’m saying, so I was like, Man, I'm taking that. And so that's how I became iomos marad. That was the evolution. And it just stuck. It just stuck and people call me io for short. They call me Mos. Some people call me marad it’s just dope. You know what I’m sayin, so I was like yeah, I'm keeping that. Yeah. So that's how I came up with iomos. iomos marad. Yeah.

Marco Adamovic: That's awesome, man. And so yeah, I guess like, you know, evolving a bit as an artists like, from that time you heard Jungle Brothers and black is black. How do you feel you've evolved your craft? How do you feel that like looking back on it? Looking back on the drumming? how everything came together? Like how has that evolved your craft as an emcee? I mean, what can you say about just about that evolution?

Marcus Singleton: I would say just, you know, like to, I guess, like, I just want to make sure I'm clear like, like, you mean like the evolution of like my rhyme style and how I like rhyme? I think I feel like I'm still growing man. Like evolution and what are we evolving into that really stood out to me when you said that I was like, yeah, so I just feel like I'm still growing man. Like, I'm a lifelong learner when it comes to everything, but especially emceeing. Because you hear new dude and like, man that dude fresh, like I just get introduced to a new dude. Just a couple of days ago. I'm like, Man, this dude is cold. So now I'm studying him like I study from everybody I'm saying from the Nas’s to the Posdnuos from De la Sol to Pharaohe Monch. Pharaohe is just like his brains is ridiculous man. To Mos Def to Talib Kweli to any new dude like you know, what's the young boy named? J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar, what’s another young boy I like man. I mean even Drake. Like Drake's cadence and the way Drake is like calm in the pocket, you know what I’m sayin’ confident in the way he delivers rhymes like Kardinal Offishall is another one. I just, I'm just a student at a game. And so I'm still learning. I'm still learning. I call everybody my teacher. No, every, every everybody I can learn from even like when in my involvement with students when we was like working on songs and stuff. It's stuff I took from them, you know, what I mean? How their writing approaches or writing process. I love hearing about artists’ rhyming processes, like, how they come up the process of writing a rhyme, you know what I mean? Like I got those books how to rap volume, one, two, and three. They’re talking about cadences, I got stuff highlighted in it. I'm just a student, man, it’s like a basketball. It's like Kobe, studying, studying his craft, like basketball. Like Kobe is a student of the game, he became a master. But even in a mat, even as a master, he still was a student of the game. And so like, that's how I feel about emceeing and about like, the craft of Hip-Hop, like, I'm still just a student of the game. I'm still learning. And like, I feel like KRS I’m gonna probably be doin’ this ‘til I’m 60, 65, 70, bro

Marco Adamovic: Yes, you know, just getting just better than just get better than you were the day before. Right?

Marcus Singleton: Exactly. That's what it's about. And that's what it's about. Yeah. I just had a conversation with my brother, Akbar, you know rest in peace to my brother, Parker Lee. You know, they was a part of a duo in Chicago, Mental Giants, but they're originally from the Bronx. And I had a conversation with Akbar not too long ago, maybe like two three weeks ago. And he was just telling me, he was encouraging me, man, like, keep doing what you're doing. And you know, like, always be better. You know, he said, for me, what I do is I try to always outdo my last rhyme, just like you said, get better the next day. He chasing, he’s like I'm not compete with nobody. I'm compete with myself. And I just, it was just freeing just to hear him say that, like somebody that I look up to. And to hear him say that I was like, Yeah, that's what I'm on, too, then. So that's an ongoing process. That's where I'm at. That's where I'm at.

Marco Adamovic: You know, you've already mentioned like, we've already talked a bit about where potential starting point can be in terms of just thinking about how to approach it, but like, what, what would you say to anyone right now that's like, I'm super interested in rhyming, but I don't know if I can do it.

Marcus Singleton: I will say, look, what I did was I looked like the person that I liked the most and I studied him. Like Q-Tip. When I first started writing my rhymes, all my rhymes sounded like Q-Tip. And I tried to get my voice, my voice wasn’t like Q-Tip, but like his cadence. Like, I will take his cadence and his pauses and stuff. He was like, my, he was like my stencil, I guess, like, for me to like, learn and then I started growing into my own voice. So I will say start with somebody that if you want to listen to rhyme, if you want to rhyme or if you want to be like and emcee or a rapper, listen to somebody that you like, and then try to mimic what they do. You know, and I will say like, I'm gonna tell you the same blueprint that Akbar told me when I first started out, read, build your vocabulary, you know what I’m sayin’. Read, and just keep writing. Read, write, read, write, read, write, read, write, and study. I used to go to concerts, while other people's like fanfare. You know, phones out. I mean, I used to sit in the corner of the spot, I remember going to the House of Blues. Go and see KRS-One. And I bought a bought like a flip notebook and a pencil. And I was just taking notes on what he was doing. Like how he dressed, I paid attention to how he dressed and what he did and how many songs it took him before he took his coat off. Like, you know what I mean? I was like, I was studying all that, like he went, how he commanded the crowd. What did he say? What did he do? How he held his mic, like, I went from studying how Black Thought hold his mic to KRS holding his mic to find my own medium in between them two you know what I’m sayin’ just a student. I'm just so just study like, if Drake is your favorite rapper, study him, and then try to like take it to another level. Because that's what it's about. That's what it's about.

Marco Adamovic: That was part one of my three part conversation with Marcus Singleton aka iomos marad. What did I tell you? He's a gem. Look out for the next episode where we dig into his music catalog and iomos will tell us which tracks are the most meaningful for him, I'm sure all you aspiring emcees and songwriters will also be interested in hearing how he's developed his craft, all of the different aliases he's worked with, and what it means to be a conscious Hip-Hop artist. Look out for the accompanying playlist to that episode too. You don't want to sleep on this one. Until then, this is Marco Adamovic aka Vic Adamo, and you’ve been listening to a Hart House Hip Hop Education Takeover, of Stories from the Hart. Peace.

S4 Ep1 Drum To Pen | Stories | Hart House (2024)

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