Did Russell Simmons Blackball Marley Marl?

Last week I received a book in the mail to review, called The BeatTips Manual, by Amir “Sa’id” Said. I haven’t finished it yet, since I’m also in the middle of reading How To Wreck A Nice Beach, but one of the first sections I checked-out were the interview transcriptions at the back. One in particular – an extended discussion with Marley Marl – contained some quotes which put a very different spin on the Marley story. According to Marley, he had been working on stuff for Biz Markie‘s second album when he severed ties with Cold Chillin’ over financial disagreements. In order to spite him, the label didn’t give him credit for producing Biz’s smash single ‘Just A Friend’, so Marley took another track that he’d made for the Diabolical and remixed his favorite song from LL Cool J‘s Walking Like A Panther – ‘Jingling Baby’. Of course we all know how much of a classic that turned out to be, as it spear-headed LL’s resurgence and resulted in the two of them creating the classic Mama Said Knock You Out album.

But here’s the interesting part – Marley claims that Russell Simmons was dead-against the project from day one. He believes that Rush didn’t want to deal with Marley on any level because he viewed the Juice Crew as competition, and therefore Marley was the enemy. He thinks that Russell only allowed the release of ‘Boomin’ System’ just to spite them, because he thought it would flop, but after it blew-up and the promotions department leaked ‘Around The Way The Girl’, Def Jam had no choice but to release the album. Marley then says that without the success of that album – which went on the sell over two million copies (not exactly that ‘6, 7 million’ that he claims, but still impressive) – Def Jam may have lost their distribution deal with Columbia. But here’s the real kicker…Marley insists that he never received a cent from the album! Even though he produced the entire thing, he states that Def Jam sent so many lawyers at him that the case was tied-up in the courts forever. As if this wasn’t bad enough, he then declares that Russell ensured that no one would ever offer him a label deal in the industry again, which led to his decision to step away from producing for an extended period after 1995.

There may be a touch of paranoia at work here as to the extent of Rush’s hate for all things House of Hits, but it certainly provides an interesting contrast to the numerous stories claiming that Marley took credit for other people’s beats and the other assorted claims from disgruntled Juice Crew members…

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10 Comments so far
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Interesting piece, maybe this explains why a dope song like Booming Systems had one of the worst videos to go along with it.

Comment by Drlrockwell 08.31.10 @

I was always skeptical of the Juice crew cats saying they produced stuff Marley got credit for..where were the beats after he left? Kane’s beats were terrible and Biz fell off shortly after that…It’s like JayZ claiming he produced Aint No Nigga knowing damn well Jaz-O produced it…Those cats couldn’t loop a drum let alone make a track….

Comment by dlp 08.31.10 @

I believe it…

Russ wouldn’t even signed nas…

Nigga a hater for real…

Comment by paychexx 08.31.10 @


Comment by WORD 09.01.10 @

Yeah something ain’t right,Marley told EGO Trip magazine back in ’98,that DJ DOC had produced,”Just a friend”for BIZ..but used his beat and was credited for it.Doc of course fired back in the next issue claiming he had in fact made that beat,I mean..Marley claims to have lost a Beat Reel in the same studio that Ced Gee,Scott La Rock and KRS used to record-Criminal Minded.
And Bobby Bobcat has said he was under credited for his work alongside Marley on LL’s albums,I doubt seriously he never recieved any bread…I just don’t see fans ever getting the truth.

Comment by R.Jones 09.01.10 @

wow that sounds crazy i know niggas is shady in the rap industry,,so anything goes
marly ,Marl.
made,,,the beat for check out my melody and eric b for pres.
he really was black listed ,
peace to the True and living.
Ghetto Vader

Comment by Ghetto Vader 09.01.10 @

Mama Said Knock You Out definately did 6,7 million worldwide

Comment by TheR879 09.02.10 @

Yo something just dawned on me regarding the Russell vs. Marley thing that I wished to be enlightened, if Marley was weary of Russell’s shadyness from being dead against him working with LL to the contoversial release of the single The Boomin System (in attempt to make it flop) and not receiving a cent on Mama Said Knock You Out, then why would he still work with LL on the follow up 14 Shots To The Dome (even though it flopped)?

Plus, what was up with taking care of the paperwork before producing the album? Especially as this was around the time all the sample clearance problems started happening

Comment by Kevin 09.02.10 @

There is no way “Mama Said” did 6-7 Million. That’s Insanity. Vanilla Ice did 7 million that year , Hammer 10Mil LL probably did 2/3 max.

Comment by Extra Mannish 09.02.10 @

rush never paid shit to marl.

Comment by garofalo 09.07.10 @

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