Hear The Rap Attack: Mr. Magic & Marley Marl That Inspired Biggie Smalls (Audio)

Quietly, as Marley Marl became one of Hip-Hop’s most pivotal producers and Juice Crew creator, he was doubling as a master of transmitting sounds over tri-state radio. Marl and Mr. Magic were at the control switches at WBLS in New York City. Their “Rap Attack” Show (launched by Mr. Magic in 1979) changed history, breaking some of the genre’s most important, and influential records of all time.

The tandem, with Marl serving as assistant before taking on his own “In Control” show in 1988, fanned the flames (and poured some gasoline too) to create The Bridge Wars, kept R&B close in the pocket to Hip-Hop at a critical transition point for both genres.

In his fast-growing Cue Point series at Medium, DJ Stretch Armstrong moves from celebrating a 1987 “Kool” DJ Red Alert mix to his KISS rivals at WBLS, Magic and Marley (which again, ties into the wars). This December 18, 1987 mix shows the contrasting styles from the masters of the mix. These are the same evening mixes that inspired the lyrics (being recited all over the world right this moment) from “Juicy” by The Notorious B.I.G.


This one-hour-plus dub includes Salt-N-Pepa, Public Enemy, MC Lyte and Audio Two (First Priority salute!), with some blends, scratch routines, and jaw-droppingly good breakdowns. Stretch Armstrong points out what makes this great, unique, and timeless:

Unlike most Hip-Hop DJs, Marley was an impeccable blender of beats, playing records simultaneously for minutes at a time, often with scratching on top supplied from a third turntable. To be clear though, Marley didn’t just blend. He cut the hell out of records, on air and on many of the classics he produced. It wasn’t uncommon for Marley to add sound effects and snippets from movies and television, like ‘Woody Woodpecker’ or ‘Star Trek,’ to make a point or add a dose of humor. Overall, a Marley tape was a canvas filled with world premiers of future hits, skilled megamixes of new rap and some R&B, exclusive remixes and live in-studio sessions with guest artists, all assembled and executed with a master’s touch.

Read the full DJ Stretch Armstrong article on Mr. Magic & Marley Marl at Medium.

Related: Time Travel Back To 1987 With This Rare Taped DJ Red Alert Radio Show (Mix)