Dr. Marlon “Doc” Fuller Teaches Financial Truth To Youth

Dr. Marlon "Doc" Fuller

Dr. Marlon “Doc” Fuller works with rappers like T.I. to teach financial literacy to young people. Check out his unique story!

Hip-Hop and financial savvy business man Dr. Marlon “Doc” Fuller is at the forefront of a burgeoning movement aimed at empowering youth and communities with the essential knowledge and tools for financial independence and wealth creation. Leveraging the cultural impact and mass appeal of Hip-Hop, he’s making financial education accessible and engaging.

Dr. Fuller, who rose from humble beginnings to become a respected educator, has been a staunch advocate for financial literacy. Through his nonprofit organization, Coolkids.org, and innovative projects like the first financial literacy Hip-Hop album, The Syllabus, he’s been pioneering efforts to make financial education appealing to young audiences. His journey and relentless efforts highlight the critical importance of financial knowledge in breaking the cycles of poverty and building inter-generational legacies.

Fuller follows in a long line of rap artists who talk that money talk, and he pulls in some high-powered friends like T.I. to help complete the mission. He and his cohorts envision a future where financial literacy is seamlessly integrated into Hip-Hop culture, creating a legacy of knowledge and empowerment that resonates far beyond the music.

AllHipHop.com: Tell me about your movement and what made you start it?

Doc: Financial Literacy has been a lifelong journey for me. I may be Dr. Marlon “Doc” Fuller now, but I wasn’t always.  I started with very humble beginnings and was living in the inner city below the poverty line for much of my childhood. When I graduated high school I was living in a trailer park outside of Houston,  Texas with only the money I had saved from working odd jobs since the age of 10 to support myself.  I am one of 13 siblings and was the first to graduate college, let alone get my Doctorate, which I received in 2004 from the University of Connecticut. I had my first child at 21 years old while I was still in college, but I was determined to never go back to being poor again.

Most importantly, I wanted the same for my newborn girl, Autumn, as well as my future family, so I spent a lot of time educating myself on financial literacy and surrounding myself with mentors and experts in the field. It was always important for me to show up in the community as someone I wish I had growing up because I lacked so much guidance that could have set me up better in life. Not having a father in my life for 9 years and losing 3 brothers before graduating college truly impacted me.  I wanted to make those life circumstances have meaning by using that pain for purpose.  Fast forward to today, my 4 kids, my wife Christina, and I now teach young people about saving, investing, real estate, budgeting, wealth creation and money management through our non-profit, Coolkids.org.

AllHipHop: Give me your elevator pitch to a Gen Z or Gen Alpha on why financial literacy is important.

Doc: Financial literacy is something they don’t teach you in most schools but will be one of the most important factors in your future success and security, as well as the future success and security of your children’s children.  Financial literacy is about being an owner and not a consumer.  It’s about owning Nike stock over Nike shoes. It’s the difference between playing Xbox games or owning Microsoft stock which makes Xbox.

Being financially literate is just as much about owning real estate and businesses as it is about giving back to the community and leaving a legacy. It’s knowing the more you learn, the more you earn and understating compound interest which Einstein called the 8th wonder of the world.  Financial literacy is making $1.1 million from investing $1 per day in stocks at 10 percent for 60 years versus having $25,000 saved in the bank doing the same thing but only making 0.5 percent interest on your money.  Being financially independent as an adult starts with making wise decisions as a kid. This gives the youth the advantage of time which puts them leaps and bounds above the rest. 

AllHipHop: Why did you decide to use Hip-Hop as a vehicle? Why not pop or another genre?

Doc: I utilize Hip-Hop predominantly in my music as it is cross-cultural and culturally influential. I wanted to impact millions to decrease the wealth gap and it’s the perfect vehicle for my target audience. I have been a hip-hop fan and music lover my whole life, and I felt it was time for a melodic renaissance to uplift the messages that the youth are ingesting.  I believe what we watch and listen to is just as important as what we eat or drink and I got tired of waiting for someone else to create what I knew was needed.  I also wanted to partner with seasoned musicians and give them a platform to showcase their Hip-Hop talents, and their knowledge of finance and business, while also making a positive impact on culture and communities.  To my knowledge, I’m the first person in history with their doctorate to put out a Hip-Hop album, or any album for that matter.  I hope that in itself inspires the youth to dream big and never stop making progress towards their goals especially when walking in their purpose.

AllHipHop: You are working with some real rappers. King Los is an incredible talent and phenomenal lyricist. He really shows the vision of how to balance corny versus educational in “How I Do That.” Were you conscious of that balance?

Doc: King Los is one of the goats and to have him on the project is an honor.  I told him what the goal of the project was and he was like let’s make it happen.  He will be on my upcoming album, The Syllabus – Sophomore Year, along with features from Kap G, Jadakiss, The Game, Shyheim, and more.  My first album, The Syllabus – Freshman Year which I released in November 2022 had some legends too with features from T.I., Keith Murray, Mickey Factz, Translee, PBD Grey, WBNA champion Essence Carson and more.  A lot of today’s music has been hijacked by low frequency content that is many times negative and counterproductive.  I think much of the content being pushed by record labels is corny and lacks originality or purpose but negativity and drama sells so labels and artist run with it.  Fans are increasingly questioning what’s in it for them.  The movement is happening and The Syllabus albums are foundational when we look at changing the paradigm and creating a new genre of financially empowering music called EduTainment. Shout out to KRS One who was the first person I ever heard say that word.

AllHipHop: You include your daughter as well. How does that work? Does she want to rap?

Doc: My 11 year old daughter, Layla Sol, is a beast! She is brave, very business-minded, and has a heart of gold. She is very personable and enjoys being in front of people. Naturally, she enjoys talking about Financial Literacy work and has represented CoolKids.org and Jar TV at financial literacy events and festivals around the country.  My 13-year-old son Dylan and 8-year-old daughter Charlotte, were also really interested in the music when we started recording the first Syllabus album and would memorize all of the lyrics. They wanted to get involved with the music too, so they did background vocals on the first album and have features on the second.  You can hear their solo debut on Stand on Business which is the first single from my album coming this spring called The Syllabus- Sophomore Year. I’m biased but I truly believe their track is the greatest kids song of all time as it’s entertaining, educational, and empowering.

AllHipHop: Who else are you working with? 

Doc: Outside of music, we still educate kids virtually on CoolKids.org.  Sometimes, we collaborate with celebrities to help us teach.  Our biggest class was with T.I. which had almost 1,000 kids on Zoom getting financial literacy gems from him for almost an hour.  If you listen to my song, Time, Effort & Energy featuring T.I. then you’ll hear a snippet of that virtual Zoom call.  To date, my wife Christina and I have educated over 22K kids nationwide on financial literacy.

We also have the world’s first youth-based financial literacy TV app called JAR which streams over 600 videos in both English and Spanish.  We launched it in 2022 and it is allowing us to reach the masses.  Think NetFlix but financial literacy for kids in Kindergarten through college.

AllHipHop: Tell me about the album and what’s the next look like.

Doc: My second album is called The Syllabus – Sophomore Year and it will go deeper into financial literacy but keeps at its core the G-rated lessons that listeners can learn from.  We are bringing this new genre of music to schools, businesses, churches, after-school programs, and households worldwide.  Our goal is to reach millions of kids worldwide and plant seeds that will reap benefits for generations to come.  I’ve been listening to music for decades and I can honestly say that my songs are some of the greatest music ever created especially from an educational perspective. 

There are no curse words, negative imagery, or drama on the album.  It’s something new that you have to experience to understand.  I will eventually put out four albums total all the way to The Syllabus – Senior Year. 

For more: Go to social media handle @SyllabusAlbum or TheSyllabus.com.