Freeport, NY-based rapper Marcel Allen is an adept storyteller and skilled wordsmith who loves to flex his lyrical muscle over lavish, laid-back, sample-driven instrumentals. Moving like a seasoned vet, he’s never hard-pressed to exaggerate a punchline or force a metaphor that doesn’t belong. The self-proclaimed HOTTEST IN THE CITY was introduced to music by his father at an early age. He’s been utilizing his ear and knack for words ever since. His music combines traditional rap elements with flavor from the new era effortlessly.
With his debut album ‘EBONY GODDESS’ out now, I recently chopped it up with the endlessly ambitious artist. He readily digs into his new project, connecting with Thelonious Martin and Jacob Rochester, and much more with a consistently reflective, insightful attitude. Read up.
“I want people to listen and see the artistry in full effect—top-tier hip-hop from the production to the lyrics to the visuals.”
The album is finally out. How are you feeling?
I’m feeling great, bro! I’m also feeling a little relieved that it’s finally out. It’s been a long time coming, but I’m glad to finally see it out as a body of work that people can listen to and live with.
What was the process like while working on this album? Did you do anything differently compared to past releases?
I took the same approach to creating this project with past releases. The only difference with this was Jacob and Thelonious both live outside of NY, so a lot of music was shared through the group chat. They would send me 5 or 6 beats a piece, and I would jump back in the chat a month or two later with some new joints. We did this until we had about 20 tracks to pick from.
Talk to me a bit about your relationship with Jacob and Thelonious. They’re responsible for producing a lot of your music.
Yessir! Jacob and I have 2-3 joints out before this album. Thelonious and I only have one prior, but it was my first release, ‘Mad At The World.’ It’s a very organic relationship, though. I met Jacob in LA in 2016, and we’ve been tight since. I bought the ‘Mad At The World’ beat from Thelo in 2015/16. I didn’t know him, but Jacob connected us once I told him that he produced the song, and we’ve been building since then. The project was initially Thelo’s suggestion after I hit him to get some new beats.
What were you listening to while recording the album?
A lot of Young Thug, Gunna, Boldy James, Mach-Hommy, and Westside Gunn. I also found myself running back a lot of hip-hop classics just studying how they put together their project.
The album title and cover art look pretty personal to you. What was the thinking behind that?
It definitely is. I want to give a big shoutout to my guy Julian Alexander. He drew all the single cover art as well as the album cover. Last summer, my grandmother passed, and I thought it would be a great way to honor her by getting a picture of us drawn for the album. Julian definitely took it to another level, though. Bro did an amazing job.
The video for ‘4EVASTACKIN’ is crazy. How’d you link with Boldy James?
I appreciate that love! The whole song and video came together very organically. My manager really just DM’d Boldy, and he liked the beat and said sure. A few weeks after we got the verse, we asked if he was with doing a video, and he was down, but he was leaving in a few days before going to LA to record Bo Jackson. So we went to Detroit for literally one day to do the video. Shoutout to my guy Nick Bruno too, Concreature gang! It was fire though he showed us nothing but hospitality and love.
Can we expect more visuals from the album?
For sure. Trying to finalize the ‘SALT!’ video with Havoc and maybe one for ‘HATE TO SEE IT.’ I have some tricks up my sleeve for the deluxe edition too!
I can’t wait to see what else you’re cooking up—this album puts your artistry on full display. What do you hope listeners take away from it?
Just that. I want people to listen and see the artistry in full effect—top-tier hip-hop, from the production to the lyrics to the visuals. I also want them to see this as a foundation point and know that I can only grow from here.
How are you feeling about the reception so far?
Man, all the love is amazing!! I can’t be anything but grateful.