A while back I had a stellar conversation with one of Atlanta’s brightest, rising acts Marco Plus. His diverse styling of music is unlike anything the world has heard before. Yes, one could hear shades of Outkast and a number of other Southern staples, but Marco shines in a realm all alone. In this conversation, we covered his inspirations, workflow, creativity, and what is his “why” in this game.
It’s interesting that this new generation of musicians and creatives alike have a real sense of identity, especially at such a young age. Marco will continue to push the boundaries of his art and develop into a more-regarded name in the game. Until then he’ll be stockpiling more music readying his Cinematic career with the imprint. Get to know this shining wordsmith below.
Brick: A lot of artists are scared to drop full-length projects, especially at that up and coming level and you dropped 3 last year, correct?
MARCO PLUS: Yeah
Brick: Explain why you want to take that approach or do you feel like the people are deserving of these full projects?
MARCO PLUS: Honestly bro, it’s because remember back in the day when music was like fast food, you know what I’m saying? So me making the music that I make, I’m not really noticing that I’m just blowing everyone out of the water with full-length projects because people would rather drop EPs and stuff. I don’t really gage it, like I’m not trying to out do everybody with dropping music, I just do it. I don’t know why I do it, sometimes I just don’t want people to complain either, so I try to make it as cohesive as possible while giving people enough songs to the point of me making them in like 1 year. I don’t really know, bro, I’m not going to lie.
Brick: I feel it.
MARCO PLUS: It’s just spurts of energy like Michael Jordan getting 16 points in a row, that’s how the music is made. Sometimes I don’t record nothing, you know what I’m saying?
Brick: Out of the 3 that you dropped, do you have 1 that you lean towards that you’re the proudest of or do you feel that they’re all at a similar level as far as taste?
MARCO PLUS: To me it’s definitely the last one I dropped, tha souf got sum 2 say, it was Sparco
but then I keep going back as people keep tapping into it and it’s a real body of work, so then I’ll play it back and it sounds crazy like I’ll listen from not my perspective and it’s still a lit project.
Brick: So you feel like that was the one that caught the attention of the industry and and the fans so far?
MARCO PLUS: Yeah, for sure. That got me all types of eyes on me and deals and everything, it’s kinda crazy.
Brick: Hell yeah. It’s a definite adjustment, I’m sure. When you’re dealing with the noise of life and when the worlds too loud, where do you escape to? What do you do?
MARCO PLUS: I roll up weed, but I roll up weed all the time. I don’t really know, that’s really a great question. I don’t think I got nothing that I do, for real.
Brick: That should be your homework after this interview. Find something that you can escape to, because I feel like you’re only going to get busier and it’s only going to get harder from here on out. I feel like your skill level is going to grow as well, but now is really game time, so you need to keep that mental level. Take time for yourself. Was music always the mission? Was it always that easy to pick up?
MARCO PLUS: Yeah, not going to lie. I’ve been rapping my whole life, since like 4 or 5 deadass. My mom and my auntie was writing my raps when I was like 4.
Brick: How old are you right now?
MARCO PLUS: I’m 24, I turn 25 in November.
Brick: Word, so like 20 years of rap.
MARCO PLUS: Yeah, I’m a vet in this thing, man.
Brick: There we go. So your families pretty supportive of the dream and the music in general?
MARCO PLUS: Yeah they are. It’s kind of in my family, though, my mom always wanted to be a singer. She sings really well, but she had me and my siblings so she couldn’t follow her dreams, so she wants me to follow mine.
Brick: Good mom.
MARCO PLUS: Yeah, bro. My grandparents been in the music business and all that stuff, my grandad used to run a little hometown label back home. I was born in Pensacola and I moved up here at 6 months old so I never lived out there until age 18-20, but other than that I’m in ???. My grandad had a whole label down there and all that stuff, he had ??? with like Gwen McCrae and all types of old artists, but he stopped and then moved up to Atlanta. It’s crazy, this was kind of my thing to do.
Brick: Hell yeah. Has there been a moment so far in your career, whether it’s been in the past 6 months or whatever time limit, where you’re like “Wow, I’m really doing this shit.”? Like dreams are being realized and things are moving in that direction?
MARCO PLUS: It be hard for me to feel for that. The other day it really hit me, like damn I’m really doing this. I don’t know if everybody know, but I just signed a deal so that just hit me one time the other day, like I’m going to New York for the 4th time this year.
Brick: It’s time, that’s fire. It doesn’t feel real to a certain extent, I’m sure, but it’s what you were meant to be doing. You’re exactly where you’re supposed to be right now, you know?
MARCO PLUS: Exactly, because it always felt right, but now it’s happening. That’s the thing people don’t understand, I always knew this would happen, but it’s weird as fuck. Shit’s crazy.
Brick: I feel it. Are there any interactions with artists or industry people that have reached out saying they fuck with you, someone that you grew up listening to?
MARCO PLUS: Really the people I signed to, Cinematic. I literally had Jonny Shipes since like, I’m not going to lie, I had to re-do 8th grade from homeschool ‘cause my mom got mad that I got kept back, it was a long story. I kind of grew up on Cinematic, you know what I mean? Just like going to the building to meet Shipes while I was there and that’s just crazy. Meeting JID was pretty freaking crazy too, like going to his house and actually making music with him, that shit was insane. It’s always insane after, you know what I mean? I don’t really react when I’m in the moment of it all, but it takes like a week for it hit for me.
Brick: Hell yeah, that’s what it’s all about, bro. If you’re reacting in that way that means you’re living in the moment so that’s good, you know what I mean?
MARCO PLUS: Facts.
Brick: What do steaming numbers or monthly listeners mean to you? Is it something you’re concerned with? I know to a certain extent you have to be worried about that in this current world, but what do you think about numbers and how that correlates with peoples attention or talent level?
MARCO PLUS: I don’t think it equates, but I do feel like it matters for an artist like me whose music is good, you know what I’m saying? I feel like I only gotta want this to get bigger, I can’t wait til the point where I’m at like even 50,000 monthly listeners on Spotify. We’re doing this shit organically already as it is, I literally just signed I haven’t gotten any super marketing or anything, I’m still doing this myself. My streams are still from me and what the hell my team does.
Brick: It’s impressive at that level for sure.
MARCO PLUS: Exactly and I feel like everything speaks for itself, but I do feel like it matters just because I’m trying to be the greatest. I’m a great rapper I be in like a bag where people think it’s underground, but I’m trying to be the biggest thing ever so yeah it matters to me. I’m trying to be like J. Cole and have 30 million Spotify monthly listeners, you know what I’m saying? Like I’m really trying to be that.
Brick: Aim for the stars, bro. J. Cole didn’t even know J. Cole was going to be J. Cole.
MARCO PLUS: Exactly. I remember a tweet where he was saying how he had 600 followers.
Brick: Wild shit. I saw J. Cole with JAY-Z and NERD on The Blueprint 3 tour right when J. Cole came out and he did “Lights Please” and it was crazy. That was, shit, 2009 and now he had Dreamville Fest and you can hear everyone sing every word. I think there’s a possibility for anything, bro, your talent level is there and now you’re getting the co-signs, you got the deal, you got the team behind you that actually knows what the fuck they’re doing which is mad important.
MARCO PLUS: Now I just gotta put in the work, for real.
Brick: Exactly. I think getting signed was a favorite part of this year for you, is there anything else that kind of stuck out in your mind that you thought was right?
MARCO PLUS: Freaking tour, man. It was super crazy and I just feel like it prepared me for the next tour I’m trying to go on, you know what I’m saying? As good as I preformed on that tour, I’m trying to do way better. That was a crazy experience, just even like Grip asking me to go in tour with him was crazy.
Brick: I think that tour was a great look because it made sense of you, Chris and Grip to all be on the same bill. I kind of categorize you guys in the, I don’t want to say the traditional aspect of rap or hip hop, but you guys really take your art seriously. It’s a difference between the kinda lackadaisical styles and then you guys really wanting to, like you said, be the best. I can feel that hunger in Chris.
MARCO PLUS: Wiley from Atlanta too, he’s crazy.
Brick: Yeah, bro. I feel like there are a lot of kids who just want to half-ass it and it’s really easy to tell who is really here for their career. Who are some other peers who you admire? Was it Jiggs from you project?
MARCO PLUS: Yeah from my project, that’s my brother, man.
Brick: You said he was a fire rapper?
MARCO PLUS: Yeah that’s one of my favorite rappers for sure, but also one of my great friends. That’s the crazy thing about all this, all my friends are great rappers. From Jiggs to like my friends back in ??? like Smiles ???, Silky Southern. I don’t just co-sign people who are like alright, these people are actually great. It just happens they’re my friends too.
Brick: That’s good to keep the talented people around, but I don’t think you’d be around them if they weren’t focused and working on their craft as well.
MARCO PLUS: They’re real hard workers that’s what kinda matters more
Brick: What do you want to do after music? What’s kind of the goal for you? Music could be apart of your life until your dying day, but what do you want to do when you hang the mic up? What are the goals for the family, your community, how do you want to give back?
MARCO PLUS: This is my life, man. I know all these artists be tryna rap til like 50, JAY-Z rapping right now and he’s like 52 or 53. I might be out here rapping til like 55 and it ain’t going to be all super serious and stuff like that, but you know poets back in the day like Gil Scott-Heron, stuff like that. I plan to be with this mic forever, but also I don’t plan to just be a rapper. I plan to win many Grammy’s and sign a few artists who turn out to be even bigger than me, you know what I’m saying? Like how Wayne had Drake, it’s just a matter of time. I’m tryna do movies, I’m tryna write books, I’m tryna do everything, man. I feel like that’s really how I started wanting to rap a lot was reading a lot of books. I used to read a lot, I used to write a lot, I went to City Hall for writing. Besides rap, creative writing is going to come back into my life one of these days for sure.
Brick: The MARCOS PLUS children’s books would pop off. I feel like that would be a fire realm for you to resign in, to be honest.
MARCO PLUS: Yeah, man. Not even talking about super non-fiction autobiography books, I’m talking about fiction books, like chapter books.
Brick: Hell yeah.
MARCO PLUS: I ain’t going to lie, I want to switch the game up like how Kobe Bryant was making those books before he passed.
Brick: Right. So you really want to lay some groundwork for other people if they want to seek out the information it can be there. You want to pave that lawn for people, that’s important especially for a young artist like yourself to do.
MARCO PLUS: I’m trying to make those connections too and just learn everything I can learn right now while I got the chance and the freedom too, like you said, I’m only getting bigger.
Brick: Exactly, it’s only a matter of time. I appreciate you taking the time. The last question I have is, what are your top 3 projects of all time from the city of Atlanta?
MARCO PLUS: ATLIAN, Urban Legend, The South got Something to say.
Brick: Fire. Is there anything else you want to add? Anything else you have coming up?
MARCO PLUS: MARCO PLUS new music coming soon, Backseat ??? new music coming soon, Smiles ??? demo out now, Silky Southern Shadow Work out now, Lowkey ??? working, Elon ??? working, Vincent rocket ominous ??? about to come out. Everybody working, man.