Marlon Craft is a New York rapper who is slowly building his way to fame. He is all about spaces for New York artists to collaborate and come up with new material.
His song “Gang Shit" tells the story of three Americans; a cop, a KKK clan member, and an incarcerated black man. Starting with the cop, Marlon writes from John's, a city cop, point of view. He explains that the cop is scared while doing his job and that this is how he puts food on the table for his family. He chocks it up to being part of a gang, the NYPD, and sticking by them.
Next, he writes from the point of view of James, a KKK member, who says his family has been apart of the terrorist group for four generations. Marlon writes about James' racist opinions and goes on to say that if he admitted that how they live is wrong then he'd have to admit that all the privileges he has are due to the murder, rape, and enslavement of black people in America: "There's nothing in it for me to not treat it as a lie". He says he does it all for his gang, the KKK.
Lastly, Marlon writes from the point of view of Marcus, an African American man incarcerated for armed robbery, which he says he didn't want to do. He talks about being born into a gang just because of the block he grew up on. He says that when the world doesn't give you anything, you end up taking it. He discusses that his crimes put him in jail, while the others (the KKK member and the cop) are free to be home with their families just because of the color of their skin.
Marlon Craft allows Marcus to go into how similar these groups are. They all want to be heard and they're "all on some gang shit, loyal to what [they're] taught" but he is the "only one in cuffs for it". Even if he gets out a better man, he's still stuck because he know has a record.
In the music video, we see each of these characters talking about their points of view, and while they chorus, "America: whole lotta gang shit", runs, we see the cop and KKK member sitting down to dinner with their families, but Marcus' family eats at the table without him.
This song screams the political message that we don't treat everyone equal in this country; and while it talks mostly of skin color, it also discusses prejudice based on religion and ethnicity. There is an issue in America where we all grow up just repeating what we're taught by our communities. It's time to question and to understand what's right and what's wrong and admit to our country being separated by all different types of gangs, no matter what we call them. Marlon Craft's song puts into words America's problems so creatively and poetically. It reminds us what rap music is; a voice and a platform to shed light on the struggles we face.
On top of Marlon's deep and moving message, and the amazing music video to go with it, the music and beat itself is dark and edgy. As you walk down the city streets, it will make you feel ready to stand-up for the change that needs to happen in America and all over the world.
You can learn more about Marlon Craft here:
About The Curator - Lili Gelfand
A born and raised New Yorker, Lili Gelfand grew up watching old movies with her father, a producer, director, and writer for film and television. Growing up, Lili got to experience set life constantly. Her admiration and love for the art deepened as she studied Film Production in Boston at Emerson College.
After graduating, she followed in her father’s footsteps by beginning a freelance career in the entertainment industry. Lili has worked as a writer’s assistant, wardrobe/stylist assistant, script coordinator, and associate producer for Bravo, Comedy Central, and BET.
Lili’s passion is music in film. She plays the piano and the ukulele and constantly listens to movie scores and soundtracks. Other passions include babysitting, decorating her apartment, and playing the Sims.