It’s always a beautiful thing when an entertainer uses their platform for good, and to enhance the lives of others. But when a person’s creative and socially conscious identities are one in the same, it yields something remarkable. Memphis has that kind of gem in their homegrown rapper and activist, Marco Pavé. The local hero has been an advocate for his community, championing causes such as literacy for at risk youth (Books on Beale program), and speaking on other social issues at various colleges as well as TEDxNashville and Memphis events. Marco’s platform is focused on his love of music, and how art can heal. With his new EP, Perception, Marco hopes to reach new audiences and continue the conversation of the importance of a compassionate society. The EP dropped today, listen to it below.
About Marco Pavé:
Memphis native Marco Pavé sits at the intersection of hip-hop, arts communities, technology, and local activism, harnessing the power of music to transform his city. From rapping in the third grade at his North Memphis elementary school to performing at SXSW 2014, Marco’s experiences coming of age as the youngest of four in a Muslim household with a single father render him a unique storyteller and observer of social reality. He reflects the bourgeoning energy of the New Memphis Movement, a loose collective of artists, activists, non-profit professionals, and cultural entrepreneurs working to improve the city with and through art. With a high-energy music and performance style that belies his laid-back demeanor, Marco appeals to a diversity of rap enthusiasts, from purists to radio lovers to hipsters.
“I make music for everyone. I like to cross genres, Rock with Hip-Hop, Hip-Hop with Dubstep, etc. But what I love most is to just drop straight on a beat, telling a deep ass story that will make people think” – Marco Pavé
In 2012, Marco threw his energy squarely into music, honing his skills on the open mic scene at weekly events like The Word and the HypeLife Local Artists Showcase. The momentum from the open mic scene yielded opportunities to open for rappers Skewby, Haystak, and Waka Flocka, solidifying his position as a rising star. This work led to an invitation to Los Angeles in summer 2014 to record an EP with seven-time Grammy nominee Haskel Jackson. While in Los Angeles, Marco also collaborated with multi-platinum producer Ezi-Cut and TDE engineer James Hunt. The Memphis-to-LA connections were perhaps the strongest: Grammy-winning producer and Memphis-native Carlos Broady also became a collaborator, in addition to long-time production collaborators Kenny Wayne and TayTaythePro. The resulting EP, Perception (November 2015), is representative of the best of the Memphis hip-hop sound from past, present, and future. The EP’s first single, “Cake,” produced by Carlos Broady, was released in January.
Marco’s rap bona fides are bolstered by his community activist work. He is involved in a number of community improvement initiatives, from literacy campaigns to calls for neighborhood investment. Marco created “Books on Beale,” an annual benefit concert that promotes literacy in Memphis and surrounding areas. 2013’s concert featured over a dozen local acts and brought together over $20,000 in resources. For his efforts, Marco had the library at Crosstown Arts’ Storybooth, which encourages literacy and academic success for at-risk students in the North Memphis community, named for him. He was also chosen by Memphis mayor A. C. Wharton to create a song, “Dividends,” that focused on several key issues affecting Memphis. Featuring DJ Quinn Raynor, “Dividends” was profiled on several blogs for its direct critique of urban blight and other social ills that negatively affect vulnerable populations in the city. His new series, “Memphis Through My Eyes,” expands on themes explored in “Dividends,” allowing artists and local activists to talk about their vision of Memphis through documentary storytelling.
Whether telling his own story or that of his hometown, Marco brings dynamism and charisma to his music and activism. He is invested in the dreams of local artists and the collective push for a better city for all residents emerging from the New Memphis Movement.