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A prosperous 50th to legendary DJ Marley Marl

W.A.T.E.R. 17 Special to the AmNews | 10/4/2012, 3:30 p.m.
A prosperous 50th to legendary DJ Marley Marl

"Is it live? Or is it Marley Marl?" Mr. Magic often asked as his DJ performed on-air.

Marley upped the ante on turntable techniques, displaying his wizardry on the radio each weekend. He remained at BLS after Magic's departure, introducing new turntablists Pete Rock and Clark Kent in 1989 on his "In Control" show.

"All you other DJs are a bunch of jerks / Marley give 'em an example of how a DJ works," MC Shan implored on "Marley Scratch" in 1985.

"Marley schooled a lot of us on a lot of things," reflects Witch Doctor. "He made the average DJ want to be on the radio."

As a music producer, Marley sculpted a unique sound that captured the essence of hip-hop's golden era.

In 1994, he hosted "Future Flavas" with Pete Rock at Hot 97. In 2002 he switched to Power 105.9, and in 2009 came full circle back to BLS. It was supposed to have been a reunion with his former sidekick, but Magic suffered a fatal heart attack just weeks before they were to go on-air.

"It could've easily been the other way around," Marley somberly stated at Magic's memorial service, alluding to a near-death experience of his own. "I never thought I would've been standing over his casket, when just two years ago he could've been standing over mine."

"He's the heartbeat of hip-hop, one of its supreme gods," contends Witch Doctor. "He's been a part of hip-hop for over 30-some years. Without him, I don't even know where hip-hop would be right now. Hip-hop was like a plant, it was already growing. He added fertilizer and all of the other stuff to make it bigger, to what it is today."

Marley can be heard on WBLS every weekday at noon and on Friday and Saturday from 9-11 p.m.