By David Mitchell
Marc Live Keeping Rap Legends Relevant
Twenty years in the hip-hop arena is an achievement not to be taken lightly but Marc Live manages to stay relevant. Though he didn’t come through the major label system, he has built a global cult and has toured in more than 30 countries around the world due to his amazing entrepreneurial spirit.
Marc Live is celebrating the release of his third solo album, Episode 3, the Revenge of Mark Rippin’, which came out in April through his own label, Rap Legends Recordings, distributed digitally through EMI Distribution. Live, who operates under various aliases, has a penchant for unique and lengthy titles like with his previous solo releases: Episode 2: Validation, Attack of the Grunge and Operation Infinite Grit.
Live launched Rap Legends Recordings not only to release his own projects but to create a label platform for iconic rappers of the 80s and 90s. Case in point, Live’s longtime friends, The Ultramagnetic MCs just released a new project through RLR, as has (Wu-Tang affiliated) Radar Van, a solo project by (former Ultramagnetic MCs member) Kool Keith and a re-issued Raw Bread album, titled Killer Instinct. Raw Breed, a group that Live was a founding member of back in the early 90s, who had a breakthrough single with “Rabbit Stew”, also happens to be the first rap group ever signed to SESAC.
Live has a rich hip-hop history having produced and collaborated with the likes of Dr. Doom, Spankmaster, KHM, the SMG Project (featuring Smoothe the Hustler and Trigga the Gamble), and the legendary Ice T. He and Ice T developed one of the earliest mp3/digital labels in late 90s—culminating with the album Seven Deadly Sins.
“Nowadays, it’s important that you have your hand in every aspect of the business,” says Live. He should know, being an independent recording artist, producer, label head, an all-around entrepreneur. “In this game you gotta be a jack of all trades.” But what Marc prides most is his infectious live performances. “That’s my strongest suit; my stage presence, and how I interact with the crowd, and how I’ve learned from the greats over the years.”
Being in the game for so long and yet only in his mid-30s, Live says it’s important that he remain ahead of the curve. “A lot of guys get stuck in what they were doing back when they began. If I was still making the type of records that I was back in ‘93, I wouldn’t be relevant. I wouldn’t have any fans. My crews have always been innovators in the hip-hop and progressive alternative genres. So, it’s always been a natural process for me to get out in front of what’s going on out there.”