Legendary producer Marley Marl is the recipient of the 'I Am Hip-Hop Award,' which he received last night (10/10) at the 2023 BET Hip Hop Awards. The legendary DJ, producer and Juice Crew sound provider was presented the award by Timbaland and Swizz Beatz, which was preceded by a tribute performed by LL COOL J and Rakim.
In his acceptance speech, Marley said that it all started as a dream in Queensbridge projects. "My window faced Manhattan so that's all that I could look at and wonder what's happening with them lights over there," the Mama Said Knock You Out producer remembered.
Marley also mentioned his inspirations who were shouted out in 1986's game-changing Queensbridge dedication "The Bridge."
"I had some people inspire me in my life and they were mentioned in 'The Bridge'- T Tom, Jappy Jap, Larry Larr and Gas. But they weren't the ones who put me on. When I got with Mr. Magic through Dr. Bob Lee we changed the world by becoming the first rap show on the radio," he said.
Marley dedicated his award to the late Mr. Magic, who he made radio history with on Mr. Magic's Rap Attack.
On WBLS I was the first Hip-Hop DJ to rock live on the radio, then brought sampling to Hip-Hop. That changed my world
- Marley Marl
Marley Marl innovated sampling in Hip-Hop by isolating elements from drum samples and reprogramming, creating new drum sequences. His early work with Juice Crew Mc's Roxanne Shanté, MC Shan, Craig G, Biz Markie, Kool G Rap and Big Daddy Kane formed the basis of the mid to late 80's Hip-Hop sound. Marley's 1988 compilation album, In Control, Volume 1 contained "The Symphony" which is widely celebrated as one of Hip-Hop's most iconic posse cuts.
Marley also produced LL COOL J's 1990 album, Mama Said Knock You Out. Marley spoke of the groundbreaking collaboration in his acceptance speech. "Me and LL had something to prove and we proved it. We did well," he said.
Check out Marley's speech at the 2023 BET Hip Hop Awards above.