No’el’s Corner: Sitting Down With Hip-Hop Journalist & Artist On The Come Up, Rob Markman

Welcome to No’el’s Corner where I get an inside scoop on what’s coming up in the music scene. First and foremost, I want to say thank you for taking the time to answer a few of my questions. I’m here with Rob Markman, New York based hip-hop journalist and head of artist relations at Genius. Rob Markman has worked with MTV, Complex, XXL, Vibe and more and is known to be one of the most respected voices in hip hop journalism today. It’s great to get an opportunity to be able to discuss your intro into the hip-hop industry and to see, throughout the years, how impactful your journey has been for the hip-hop culture. For the JetlagTV Universe, let’s get this interview rockin’!

No’el: You released your debut EP Write To Dream under the record label, Write To Dream/ EMPIRE. Could you tell me and the readers more about the label, and how you plan to further expand your progression on the label?

Rob Markman: Most fans didn’t realize that we put out the Write To Dream EP independently. We distributed through EMPIRE, and they are amazing partners. Ghazi and Nima took a chance on me early and saw the vision and I’m forever grateful. Still, I knew going in that I had to put in a lot of leg work. Write To Dream wasn’t just me stepping out as an artist, it was me stepping out as a label owner, a marketing strategist, a publicist, an art director, an A&R and a damn secretary. It was more than music for me, so I established Write To Dream Entertainment as a label and a brand that will exist way past the first EP. All the work you seen was put in by me and my manager Hovain Hylton— that’s it. It was A LOT of work. As of now, I’m the only artist under Write To Dream Ent., but eventually I’d like to build a staff, sign some artists and producers. That’s a little while off though, I’m still in the midst of establishing myself as an artist.

No’el: Your debut EP, Write To Dream was extremely notable for myself, being able to capture the true essence of that classic hip-hop sound. As listeners, can we expect that same raw, classic New York energy for your album?

Rob Markman: Honestly I don’t know when a full-length album is coming. I have an idea for a second EP, and yesterday I came up with a dope concept and title for my debut album. But for the first half of 2018, I’m going to be dropping singles and experimenting with my sound. I’m having fun creating on a single level with “Believe Me,” “’96 Roc” and “Long Flight Home.” I’m sitting on three more singles that will be coming in Spring/Summer. I’m from New York, so my music will always represent the city in some way, but I’m also experimenting with new sounds. Write To Dream has a very specific sound for a reason, because it fit the story I wanted to tell. I have a single coming out called “Boring” which is very New York with the story that I’m telling, but it sounds nothing like anything on Write To Dream. I actually wrote and recorded it for Write To Dream, but sonically it didn’t fit with the rest of the project.

No’el: With your second EP in the works, and with the recent releases of “Believe Me”, “’96 Roc-A-Fella Logo” and “Long Flight Home”, can us hip-hop heads get more insight on what’s to come on the EP as far as the theme or the message you’re trying to convey?

Rob Markman: Know that in anything that I do, my fans will be able to find inspiration. My goal is still to inspire folks to get out there and live their dreams. Every day I wake up excited for what the next 24 hours will bring, I’m really living a dream. I want my listeners to feel that and then go out and win. I’m going to keep representing that Write To Dream/Right To Dream attitude.

No’el: That’s super dope. In this generation of music, we need more role models to set the example that anything is possible and that they can achieve their dreams by turning them into reality. In the song Long Flight Home you rapped “Asked A Couple Rappers Bout A Feature, Brothers I Thought I Was Tight With, All I Got Was The Runaround…” Can we expect any major collaborations as far as music producers and features on your upcoming album that will excite and have the fans of hip-hop imploring others to listen?

Rob Markman: Yeah that line was true. I got a couple of: “Yo send me the track,” “Yo I didn’t get it,” “Yo send it again.” It’s all good though. There are a few collaborations happening now, but I learned a real lesson last year. This is my mission, this is my dream and it’s up to me to make it happen. Nobody owes me shit and the fact is very few people care. That’s not to be on some pessimistic shit, but artists got their own shit going on. They have their own projects they’re working on, they have families to take care of, crews that they’re responsible for. I get it. The last part of that line was “All I got was the runaround, I gotta learn to work the vice grips” — meaning that it’s on me. No one has to give me shit, I have to learn how to exist as an artist on my own. What, am I gonna quit because I didn’t get a feature? Hell no! That’s not why I got into this anyway. That being said, me and Styles P and my boy Cris Streetz have a song coming. Cris is on the come up like me, but Styles is a living legend, he didn’t have to do that. And he KILLED IT. I’m very grateful.

No’el: Shout out to Styles P. for that. Something more to anticipate. But the consistency is greatly noticed with your music. As we await your second EP, can we anticipate a release date soon?

Rob Markman: Yes, my second EP will come later this year I’m sure.

No’el: Lastly, this is a question everyone still ask me today and I feel like its a great way for the readers to get to know y’all beyond this interview and its always tough to answer. But I want to know your G.O.A.T. list! “Top Five” in the music industry, dead or alive and how they’ve molded and influenced your sound today?

Rob Markman: You mean Top Five MCs? In goes in this order: Jay Z, Nas, B.I.G., 2Pac, Scarface. I’m say this though, Kendrick Lamar is in my top 10. Pusha T has made his way into my top 10 too.

No’el: I truly appreciate you taking the time out to answer a few of my questions. It was an honor and a privilege to be able to discuss music and to become more acquainted with each other through this interview, so I thank you sincerely. Check out Rob Markman’s SoundCloud, where you can listen to his new tracks, Believe Me, ’96 Roc-A-Fella Logo and Long Flight Home. Link provided below!

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