Yo, how’s it going? I’m Marko Stat$. From UpTown Chicago
When did you first start getting into music?
Music has always been very intriguing to me. Especially hip-hop. Growing up, my family was never into music. My mother passed away when I was 3 and my father was an education-oriented man. He believed in always being politically correct. Unfortunately, after the passing of my mother, my dad was forced to raise both me and little brother by himself. While he spent every day at work, me and my brother was primarily raised by the Television, Hip-Hop, the Streets, and even some babysitters that would come and go. This caused me to rebel and feel a lack of love from my family. I fell in love with Hip-Hop after my babysitter started to play artists like 50 Cent, Nas, and Michael Jackson all over the house. I was around 5 years old at the time. I didn’t really start making my own rhymes til about 12 and it took me until I was 17-18 to take myself serious.
Talk to us about the meaning behind the name Marko Stat$
My mother was an African American immigrant from Brazil. I never really knew her cause I was so young when she passed. Her middle name was Maria. I wanted to come up with a male alternative name to honor her with my artistry. After thinking of Mario, I shortly settled on Marko. Before I even decided to rap I would tell girls my name was Marko when I didn’t want them to know my government name. I just really like the name and I think it’s a good representation of both me and my mother. -STAT$ has multiple meanings. I truly believe the meanings are never-ending depending on how you look at it. A lot of the times in my music I’m rapping from the perspective of a “Statistic”. Somebody who was told they wouldn’t be shit in life. Or somebody that was set up for failure. I believe many people see me and a lot of my people as Just “statistics” so I really wanted to tell their story with my music. I believe that everybody’s circumstances made them who they are. Also “statistics” go hand in hand with “numbers don’t lie”. Or in other words “THE TRUTH/THE REAL”. I believe my music is coming from a real place. In the future I want people to be able to go back and listen to my music and use it as a Guide to learn about the struggles of Mankind in this day of age.
You’re very vocal about being from Uptown. Is that reflected a lot through your music as well?
Yeah, I try to put it in there every now and then. There’s never been a Hip-Hop Artist to come out of UpTown, Chicago and reach the masses. The closest has been Young Pappy (R.I.P.) I used to go to school with him and was able to see his Growth. Uptown is a unique place because of its diversity. Us Northsiders grew up around all different kinds of people which makes our perspective a little different compared to a South, West or Eastsider. I believe in the near future we will have a renaissance for Hip-Hop artists in this part of town. Every perspective of Chicago is needed in our culture.
Last year you posed a question, ‘When you listen to music what attracts you more, lyrics or melody?’ When it comes to you and your creative process, what are you more geared towards?
I really enjoy Melodies. It’s the first element of a song that catches my ear. I usually still try to keep a balance between melody and lyrics just because I feel like the lyrics can be just as intriguing when recited the correct way.
With that being said, what’s your take on the current state of hip-hop we are in right now?
The current state of Hip-Hip is crazy. There are more artists than ever before and it can be overwhelming. I feel like there’s a cycle of mediocre music that is being promoted by the media and the labels. At the end Of the day, most labels don’t truly care about our culture, they just want money. If a certain type of music is bad for the culture THEY SIMPLY DONT CARE as long as it makes money. So they sign Artists that they can easily take advantage of, give them all the resources in the world and then milk them for all they got. The cycle repeats. Kids who grew up listening to this watered down music now want to do the same thing and this provides more artists for labels to take advantage of. This also makes our music less authentic and ultimately even causes others to degrade our culture the same way we degrade our selves. On the bright side, I also feel like in the midst of this there are more awoken artists than ever before who are willing to defend our culture and keep the realness alive.
Halfway through this year, you put out ‘BEE-4 I FLY AWAY’ Talk about this project.
After battling with depression from not being where I wanted to be in life. I decided to make a whole project dedicated to giving me a sense of hope for the future. In this project, I’m mostly rapping from the perspective of my future self. (Higher Self) I’m telling myself that everything is going to be ok because, in the long run, I’m going to be successful. Other people can relate to this story as well and I’ve gotten numerous messages from fans pertaining to how this project also gave them that same hope.
My favorite song from the project is the opener, ‘Power’. What was the message behind this song?
I’m glad that you enjoy “POWER”! It’s so different from previous tracks that I’ve made. I did a lot of experimenting with the project because I’m still finding myself every day. My favorite track on the project is “Moving Forward II” (Track 2) because it gives people a sense of who I am and what I represent.
Aced Space basically produced the entire project and majority of your project. How important has Aced been in terms of your creative process?
Aced Spade is my brother from another mother lol. Me and him click so much on a music level and he’s helped me develop a lot of style with his crisp production. He understands exactly what I’m trying to do with my music and I also understand his vision. We both listen to each other and see the greater purpose. His beats are like presents lol gift wrapped. I can see both of us changing the landscape of music in the future.
As 2017 comes to an end, did you have the year you wanted? And what could we expect from you in 2018?
This has been one of the best years of my life. I’ve gotten to do shows in Chicago, Atlanta, Philadelphia, and Notre Dame. Plus I’ve traveled to Los Angeles and Las Vegas to have fun with friends and network. All of these experiences have given me more hope and motivation for the future. In 2018 I plan on dropping the most music I’ve ever dropped in a single year plus I still have some visuals from my “BEE-4 I FLY AWAY” project lined up. It’s gonna be so lit! Follow the journey @MARKOSTATS (Twitter & Instagram)