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Last fall, we tried to incorporate a new half hour segment onto the radio show called Markyland, starring DC's own and SRC/Universal's hip-hop artist Marky. We had a few great episodes until the semester break, and by then, it seemed as if Marky had disappeared. I made some phone calls and all I kept hearing was: "he's in the studio." Just last week, Marky reached out to me so we could discuss his new mini-album, Nothing Is 43ver, featuring production from AB The Producer & Judah. I gladly obliged, and invited him to GWU for my first in the new series of "Dorm Room Interviews." Unfortunately, the lighting on the majority of the video didn't turn out so hot, so I figured I'd transcribe it instead. Don't forget to download Nothing Is 43ver down at the bottom of the post.

Let’s talk about the theme of the project – there’s a lot of emotional anthems and you’re really bearing your soul. 

It’s real theatrical and in-depth. It’s another side of me; like I always say, it’s my twin brother. When I go through different things that are behind the scenes that people may not know about – they just see the glamour and glitz and they don’t see the struggle. When I record, usually I make the songs for me. In this case, folks were telling me, “people want to hear this, blogs want to hear this.” I feel like people needed to hear that, just to show another side, so it’s a win-win. It’s definitely another theatrical look at me and as an artist.

jben.ok: You have the lead single off the album, “Delusional,” out now. Usually when you have a lead single, you’re trying to go for club play…

Marky: Actually…I didn’t want to call [Nothing Is 43ver] an album – I call it a mini-album. I didn’t want to call it a mixtape because the internet is just flooded with mixtapes. But you’re right; I didn’t want to go after the radio. My reason for putting “Delusional” out is for the people that liked “Sheila.” If you don’t like “Delusional,” that this whole thing isn’t for you. I just want the people that want to listen [to me].

I see the single as a way to express the many misconceptions people have of you as an artist…

You can [interpret] it that way. My whole purpose when I was making this song was that when you’re an artist and you’re not knowing, when you’re not speculating, you get delusional. It’s the same thing and it fits every perspective [for the song].

There’s also a song on the project called “Reagan National.” That one really speaks to me because I know about how much traveling you do.

It’s the best part of being an artist. It just lets you know that there’s a broader world than the people who are stuck in a box; the people in your neighborhood or the people that you’re used to. I’m a protégé of my imagination so my music speaks for that. I get influenced to make a [song like] “Sheila” or “City On My Back” when I go see people in different cities. Traveling is fun.

Do you do a lot of your recording in St. Louis and Atlanta? Or do you mainly record at the studio in your home?

I record in my studio. Sometimes I save it, take it back with me – I’ll be mixing on the plane, I do whatever.

You were on a bit of hiatus just a few months ago. What was the winter hibernation about?

Mainly because besides working on my album, I was taking care of priorities at my label. It’s time to get focused and buckle down, realize what’s important in my life and music. When I went to present what I had to present, I came correct. I wasn’t half-stepping. At the same time, I was plotting. I’m a critical thinker so I always have something up my sleeve. I wasn’t chilling out; I was just working hard. It’s also about becoming a staple at Universal – which is happening right now.

Tell me about your label situation. Are they encouraged by what you’re putting out right now?

They love it. I have close relationships with my label now because of this project. They see how aggressive I was with it and how on point I was with it. I strategized every move; I went about it doing it all by myself. That struck a chord with the older guys who said, “I remember when I was younger…” I’m the 401k; whatever you do I’m trying to match it. My bank account isn’t what Universal Records’ bank account is, but I’m trying to show them that I believe in myself so that I’m a great investment.

Then you have the imprint label, Studio 43. It’s expanding – Kenny Burns just signed X.O. and Outasight. What’s in the plans? A compilation album?

[The compilation album] might go down. I’m not sure what [Kenny’s] vision is on his side, but that’s a good idea.

X.O. has really become a voice for the neighborhoods and the streets here in DC. How crucial is it for X.O. to be on the roster now?

I think it’s a good look. It’s like TNT gave the same vibe; it’s like this historic, monumental vibe they brought with them. You had no choice to respect them; they’re legends. With X.O., it’s a whole ‘nother avenue. He has the ears of the youngins running wild. It’s all about how they structure it, but I think it’s going to work out.

There’s a new Studio 43 video campaign out with your song “When Amazing Happens,” on which you sampled the NBA Playoffs theme. It was a tough season for your hometown Washington Wizards, so who are you riding with in the playoffs?

I’m gonna say the Celtics. I’m not even saying just because [jben.ok is a HUGE Boston fan]. They’re solid, real solid.

I’m just glad you’re not riding for Lebron. Everyone’s riding for Lebron.

Lebron is a man playing amongst boys. Right now, I think Kobe’s the only guy who can take the game into his hands, but I think Lebron is becoming that.

Let me switch gears for a minute and talk about something slightly controversial. There was a situation a few months ago with an artist from the area named Woosie. He had some negative things to say about you and Kenny, but when you were at Love [Nightclub] with him and Wale, he completely flipped and acted as if he never said those things.

I do my MarkylandTV show…that show was last year, it was the Welcome To DC show. Wale invited me out to his set and basically, [Woosie] wanted to rock with us that night. I let Woosie come out and invited everybody out. The clip you've seen was already on the internet before [Woosie’s] web interview came out. Mind you then, he wasn’t even rapping. He flip-flopped. It’s the whole World Star Hip Hop thing – it’s all fabricated. It ain’t no guys; these dudes are little boys in a ring.

We’ve learned about the mini-album, but the real album is coming out soon. Tell us about the production, the features, and what we can expect overall.

First we’ve got to drop the first single. Number one, number two single in the country, best new artist – it’s going to be the first time that’s ever happened, I promise you that. The debut album will probably hit stores next year at some time. I’m in no rush and I want to touch as many people as possible. When the single comes out, I want to go campaign trail across the nation. I want to make people feel like they’re apart of me like, “that’s my cousin, I have to go support him.” As far as features go, we’re working on that right now. We’ve got a girl signed to SRC named Melanie Fiona – I’m trying to work with her. I also want to work with Joss Stone. I really don’t want to feature rappers mainly because I like to hold my own.

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