Marlo Smith, New York rapper and previous TuneCore “Heat Seekers” contest winner in April 2020, joined DJ Paul and Odalys in a new episode of Mafia Radio to discuss his grind as an independent artist, his upcoming album, legends in the rap game, the drill scene in New York City, and a shared love for Kanye West, despite the controversy surrounding him.
The rapper is proudly independent, with distribution through TuneCore, a relationship that has resulted in its own rewards, not to mention, the fact that Smith maintains complete control and ownership of his music. Speaking on the independent distribution platform, Smith said, “I have a relationship there that’s super genuine, and they really care about taking my craft to the next level. And they also have a lot of reporting stuff, backend analytics, to show you where your fans at, where that money coming in, all that stuff that you need.” Smith is not missing out on a cent, saying, “They just added TikTok a few months ago, after it started blowing up like crazy. Even Instagram now, when you doing the stories.”
While Smith grew up in Florida, the history and energy of NYC runs in his blood and shines through in his music. Veteran artists still heavily influence the genre today, and DJ Paul took this into account, asking Marlo how he feels about younger artists not necessarily remembering or respecting their elders.
The rapper told DJ Paul that at the end of the day, it’s disrespect. “Even if it wasn’t in rap it would be disrespect because you’re taught to respect your elders,” Smith said. “You come from somewhere; It’s ignorant to think that the thing you’re doing is the only thing that’s been done.” Smith carried on mentioning that whether young artists believe it or not, they are still standing on a foundation that OG rappers built.
While discussing trends and influences in rap, Odalys mentioned the rapid growth of the drill scene in New York. According to the rapper, there isn’t a place you can go without hearing drill music, and he believes the late Pop Smoke took it to an entirely different level. DJ Paul chimed in and mentioned the movie he starred in before his death, Boogie, set to hit theatres on March 5, and wondered about the type of influence he would’ve had on the rap community if he were still alive today.
The Mafia Radio hosts and Marlo clearly believe he was about to take over as an actor as well. “I see a lot of 50 in him,” Smith added.
DJ Paul went on to talk about his love and respect for Kanye, as both an artist and as a fashion icon. The hosts brought up Kanye’s importance to the fashion industry and the quality of Yeezy shoes.
“Yeah you can work out in them, step out in the club in them,” Smith added. “Them things is serious.”