New York native Marlon Craft has been holding it down for years and years, reppin’ the city he loves in a most unwavering manner. And he still does, all the while expanding his artistry in a way that remains authentic. Craft’s official sophomore album, How We Intended, touched down like a spaceship re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere. He’s been here before, but things have changed.
How We Intended is a long time coming in the career of one Marlon Craft. The Hell’s Kitchen, New York native has forced people to take notice with his thoughtful, bar-dense lyrics coupled with a decidedly East Coast Hip-Hop aesthetic balanced out with a touch of jazz. The album, found on all streaming services, sees Craft entering into an elite space in the modern landscape of emcees.
Funhouse Mirror, How We Intended’s predecessor, was a pseudo major label release via Same Plate Entertainment, a subsidiary of Sony. Before that, Craft made his bones through numerous mixtapes and EPs, touching down in 2015. His 2017 mixtape “The Tunnel’s End” was widely heralded as a classic album even though technically it is not. But it was these that but him in orbit high above the pedestrian bars in most popular Hip-Hop.
The other side of the Craft’s talents include the incorporation of politically-charged lyrics that differentiate him from his peers. He often tackles racism, classism, police brutality, inequities in wealth. His song, “State of the Union,” garnered him headlines and a coveted slot on Ari Melber’s popular show “The Beat With Ari.” The visuals, perfectly executed, came as insurrectionists (code word for domestic terrorists and white supremacists) bum-rushed the Capital looking to murder and kidnap politicians, among other terror-related matters. The depth and maturity of “State of the Union,” is a microcosm of why he’s collided back with the Earth.
Marlon Craft, the son of a jazz musician father and former basketball player, is one with the soil. “Hoodie Weather” and “Get Off My Yard” and others songs remain in orbit in a world where streams barely last a day or so. Craft talks to Chuck “Jigsaw” Creekmur about his career that seems to elevate at the same time his music is grounded in his native New York City.