INTERVIEW: Anthony Marshall

Anthony Marshall Interview (by DOKool)

Lyricist Lounge
Lyricist Lounge 2

The Lyricist Lounge, founded by Danny Castro and Anthony Marshall in 1991, has been the springboard of development for several of today’s Hip-Hop all-stars. Some of the Lounge’s participants include the late Notorious B.I.G., Eminem, Mobb Deep, Lord Have Mercy & Rah Digga (both of the Busta Rhymes’ Flipmode squad), Mos Def, and Foxy Brown to name a few. All of these groups have since signed with major labels such as Bad Boy, Interscope, Loud, Elektra, MCA, and Def Jam.

With the Lyricist Lounge rolling through several major cities in the states on a coast to coast tour featuring Erick Sermon, Scarface, and Killah Priest amongst others, a scheduled stop in Philly gave my man DoKool a chance to sit down and build with Anthony Marshall…

What got you into hip hop, what was the first thing?

Anthony: What got me involved in hip hop is just nature; it was just natural progression for me to get into hip hop. It was in my blood, my family was into soul, reggae, this was just the music of my time, and it was just second nature.

When did you and Dan come up with the idea for the Lounge?

Anthony: We came up with the idea in 1991, we were just two young kids about 15 years old, and we were pretty much : we had someone who was showing us the ropes. We had a mentor; he was Charles Thompson, who got us into the industry. And it just started off that way.

And it started in Manhattan, going great until : I’ve read that New York’s Finest broke it up?

Anthony: No, I think it was always going good, that may be the spin on the story, at the end of the day it was all good, we just changed with the times, things got hectic :

And then it went mobile.

Anthony: Yeah : it was years later until we started touring in 98, but after 7 years of touring locally, we thought it was a good idea to take it nationally : that was the same year our album came out (LL Vol 1) we were well received, came out, did our thing, and it was beautiful.

When was the pinnacle, when do you think the Lounge really got established?

Anthony: When the first album came out in 98, that’s when we first started to establish ourselves naturally, and when the TV series came out : it reinforced what we were trying to do nationally : between 96 and 2000, we really came out.

Whose idea was the TV show?

Anthony: It was all of us as a group, Danny and I always wanted to be in TV, we had some new partners who came in and saw the dream, they helped us out a lot. Wordsworth had a lot to do with it.

Do you wish there was more hip-hop? There was lots of comedy, only 2 or 3 freestyle sketches, and then the freestyles at the end :

Anthony: More rhyme sketches, less corny comedy, and put the people who really know the culture in charge to make the shit work, and it coulda been right.

Were you guys in charge of the show? Who was in charge?

Anthony: MTV and their people was involved. We did the best we could as a group, look for us next year, we’re gonna try to get it back on the air.

I’ve heard there’s a new sketch comedy show on MTV?

Anthony: Scratch and Burn, it’s full of shit : it’s a fuckin : poor excuse for a hip-hop comedy show. No, I mean, it’s what it is, but that’s television, what can you do : you be the judge.

As far as the LL albums, two of them, are there plans for a third?

Anthony: Volume 3 : look for it Summer 2003, packed with artists that we worked with, the Wordsworths and Talibs, and we’re definitely looking for new artists so send us material.

Between Vol 1 and Vol 2 : Vol 1 had a lot of unsigned hype, Vol 2 was more known artists :

Anthony: Volume 3 we’re looking to balance both and give people a mix of both.

And the tours :

Anthony: The tours, consistent, this is our 4th tour, this is our last night : Scarface, brought on Geto Boys and Bushwick Bill : Redman showed up in LA, Keith Murray showed up tonight, and we’re just ready to go home and start the new tour

Yeah, the Club Series. What is the Club Series?

Anthony: Club Series is an inexpensive club night that kids can go to and check out for $15; they can go and see Bootcamp Clik, Das EFX, Big Daddy Kane, MC Lyte, Killah Mic, it’ll be whole lot of shit to look forward to, at an inexpensive price.

Once a month?

Anthony: Once a month.

In every city?

Anthony: Yep.

Hard stunt to pull off.

Anthony: It is, but you know what? We gotta fucking do that shit

Any plans to go international?

Anthony: Yeah, international in March, we’re hosting a panel at the Meenham (?) convention in France in March.

As far as : you’ve seen so many hip-hop phenomenons, anyone who you’re proud of? Who is it that you tell all your friends that you knew it first?

Anthony: I don’t know, I think we’re most proud of ourselves for sticking through everything, we saw it first in us that we’d be doing what we’re doing, we’re proud of everyone, we tell our friends :we’re talking about us, cause this takes a lot to do, and we’re doing it : but of course, the obvious people like the Talibs and Mos Defs and Eminems, those are people we didn’t have to say “look out”, because everyone knew, it was obvious : it wasn’t like we were first, their mothers were first.

Anyone who you were disappointed with? Was on tour, didn’t hit it as big as expected, maybe the community missed out?

Anthony: I think one group : people got it when they performed, but they broke up as a group, they were called Infamous Syndicate, and one of the girls, Shauna was on Ludacris with ‘What’s Your Fantasy’, she was just hot as fuck :

At the beginning of the show, you said that you’re accepting demo tapes : how many on average each night?

Anthony: 15 per show.

Are you always on the lookout while you’re touring?

Anthony: Always, that’s why were here.

Thanks to Anthony for taking part, and to C Zawadi Morris for the hookup

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