Carrying an uncanny resemblance to the Notorious B.I.G, decked out in all black and rocking Big L-reminiscent frames, if you bumped into Mississauga based rapper Marlon Souler on the street you might assume this soft spoken giant would be pleasurable throwback to 90’s hip hop.
But since his arrival on the Toronto hip hop scene in 2011, this philosophical cat has been making big waves with his sullen, contemplative sound—something much different than what the mostly 90’s obsessed hip hop mainstream has to offer.
Anticipating the release of his upcoming, debut mixtape Black Mirrors, White Lighters, I got a chance to talk with Souler about his musical influences, clever lyricism and thoughts on the culture surrounding Toronto’s depressed and OVXO obsessed hip hop scene.
BB: Today, an artists’ online/ Youtube presence is considered only as important as their musical output. How would you describe your vision of your sound?
Marlon Souler: It all depends on what my mood is, really. It’s all about how I feel when I write my music, but at the same time I don’t like to write music when I’m happy. There’s no reason to. I watched an interview with Dallas Green and he said that he doesn’t make music when he’s happy; he likes to do regular shit. It’s when he’s depressed that he writes his music, because that’s when he needs to get his emotions out. Whenever I’m feeling down, whenever I have a question I need to ask, whenever I ask someone a question and they don’t respond like I thought they would, I ask the public. I’m very vocal about situations.
BB: People might peg you as someone whose sound has been influenced by T.O.’s sombre scene (The Weeknd), but yet you mention Alexisonfire in “No Good” which leads me to think that you might not be who people expect?
MS: I think hip hop is my least listened to genre. It’s not that corny shit, like “hip hop is no good now in days,” because there is some dope ass hip hop music coming out. I just find my inspiration elsewhere. I like listening to things and getting chills. I listen to Flyling Lotus, Vybz Kartel, Popcorn, Aidonia; I even listen to some rock like Alexisonfire, Three Days Grace, Holly Springs Disaster—I listen to some ridiculous shit. And I listen to this because I like that music. I like listening to things that I can actually feel. I don’t like listening to things that sound monotone and nobody sounds like they really give a fuck about what they’re saying.
BB: In year you say “Still Got Goonies that’s addict to explosives.” Can you explain that line?
MS: I feel like sometimes, because of the crowd that I associate myself with now (I associate with a lot of Caucasian people), people like to deem me as ‘soft’ because of it. But really, if you check my background, it’s nothing like that. I still have all my old homeboys, the homies that I grew up with, you know RNM, who are ready for whatever. It’s just basically saying: don’t think because I might switch up my crowd now and then—because I do have friends who have all different types of styles and with things to say—that I can’t still beat your ass. It wasn’t meant to say I was ‘gangster’ in anyway, because I don’t associate myself with being a gangster. But it will happen if it has to happen.
BB: On “Infiltration” feat. Kody you say “New school hip hop is boring, and old school hip hop was corny” Who are you listening to right now?
MS: Who do I listen to? I listen to a lot of Curren$y. Curren$y is my dude. I’m a hippie man. I listen to all that shit: Curren$y, The Jets, I listen to old Wiz Khalifa because his new shit is kind of left field.
BB: Did you listen to O.N.I.F.C. ?
MS: I wasn’t a fan man. I’m such a huge fan of Kush & Orange Juice, Flight School and Deal or No Deal that when I listened to his new album and I felt like he went totally where I wasn’t expecting. Even though I respect that and I like that about an artist, I couldn’t grasp that.
BB: Your music has been compared to some of Toronto’s most successful acts like The Weeknd and Drake. Do you find that everyone in Toronto, or hip hop for that matter, is trying to replicate this sound?
MS: Somebody told me that Toronto is one of the most depressed cities in the entire world, and I think The Weeknd incorporated that into his music so well that people took that sound and ran with it.
IX: Are you concerned about becoming a hipster rapper?
MS: Yo, honestly? (laughs) I don’t care what people label me. I just smoke a lot of weed and I make music, and that’s it. Whatever they label me, they’re going to label me.
BB: Any full length albums, upcoming projects?
MS: I’m working on Black Mirrors, White Lighters right now. That’s going to be my independent tape. It’s going to be probably nine tracks. I want to make songs that you can’t press the skip button on or else you’ll miss a part of the story. I’m looking to put that out for May 24 weekend.