While most of his Texas peers are in back-to-school mode, Houston's latest lyrical prodigy, Young Marqus, is celebrating the upcoming release of his new mixtape, the DJ Mustard-hosted CLAE (Creating Legacy All Day Every Day).
The teenaged spitter built a strong buzz over the past few years with his early mixtapes Respect Me and H-Town Sponsor. With CLAE, featuring the Fight Club-inspired lead single "Tyler Durden," as well as guest appearances by YG, Problem and Kirko Bangz, the 14-year-old looks to fill a void in his hometown hip hop.
“Right now [hip hop is] missing originality,” Marqus said. “A lot of guys in the game lack talent and I come up in an environment where talent is everything, so I feel like I’m bringing originality back to the game."
Ever since the Geto Boys put the Lone Star State on the map in the late '80s, Houston has operated with a level of autonomy that has helped even underground artists attain longevity and influenced Young Marqus to dream beyond the border.
"I’m a real rapper and I have something to say," the 14-year-old continued. "That’s why I look up to the greats like Pac and Biggie, because I feel like they were real rappers... You’re always gonna be inspired by the culture where you’re from. Guys like Scarface, Fat Pat and Big Hawk, some of those elite rappers from Houston definitely influenced me, but people like Nas, Big Pun and Canibus also inspire me to talk about some real stuff. My mom and people around me were always listening to all different types of MCs, so that helped make me more well-rounded lyrically.”
He considers himself so well-rounded, in fact, he feels wise beyond his years, too.
"Honestly, I feel like I relate to adults more because of my music and the stuff that I’m talking about,” Marqus said. “I also relate to teens because that’s my age group, 'cause I still like to talk about things like sports and clothes, but ultimately I really want people older than my generation to respect my music.”
The Source magazine named him "the future of hip hop," and having already received co-signs from Lupe Fiasco, B.o.B (both of whom he has toured with) and most recently DJ Mustard, YG and 1500 or Nothin’, who produced a bulk of CLAE, Marqus is making good on that title. But like many of his role models, the ambitious rhymer is already looking at the bigger picture.
“I was really thinking about writing and producing a couple of my own movies,” he said, citing one of hip hop’s most venerable voices as the standard he’s holding himself to. ”I look up to Ice Cube a lot and I watched how he did it, going from rapping to acting to directing his own movies. That’s the type of impact I want to make for my generation.”
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(Photo: John Ricard / BET)