Maradah was born in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1982. He joined the Army in 2001-04. After that he moved to Houston, TX in 2005. Maradah started rapping in the military and that’s when things started to take shape. Hip hop heavily influenced him in the military and made a passage way for him to channel his emotions during those years. Maradah really go to the next level until he linked up with Indeanel in 2016. Indeanel helped him grow as an artist and produced some great songs for him. He ended up making those bars of fury take shape and alligned substance into a great album type of feel when making records. Prime the Beast has helped evolve Maradah as well. Fast forward to 2018 and Maradah Just dropped the mixtape, “Nothing To Lose (Hosted by Tha Advocate), and as the bif homie says, “hopefully it helps me get to where I want to be!”. Its the start of February 2018, a few weeks after the release of NTL and we had a chance to chop it up with Maradah, it went a little something like this.
1. Peace Maradah! What’s good your way?
Peace. Man, everything is good at the moment. It’s 2018, and I’m kicking off the new year with a fresh mixtape and an album to follow. I’m excited for the opportunities that are ahead.
2. Dope! For starts, how did you come up with your name?
My artist name has a lot of etymology to it; however, I still keep it Hip Hop. So, here is a rundown of my artist name’s origin. In the year 657, The Maradah, were an extremely powerful army of special forces soldiers that were dispatched by the Byzantine Empire to combat Islamic extremism during that time. The leaders of Islam in various regions of Syria were forcing Christians and other religious groups to pay a protection tax or else get run up out of town. The Byzantine emperors sent The Maradahto join with other groups to combat this aggressive Islamic front and liberate any and all people under oppressive rule. They were successful in doing so for several decades. Being that I served in the U.S. Army and fought overseas in Iraq in demo and explosives, many of my comrades found the name to be suitable for me. They just would call me, “Maradah,” like, “Yeah man, you’re Maradah.” I think they meant “Marauder” as in “a person who pillages or raids”. Maradah is now the name of a desert region in Syria named after those fighters. Either way, it’s all love — both terms apply to me. Moreover, I loved the Tribe Called Quest album, MidnightMarauders. So lyrically, I am pillaging the industry and laying waste to the mumble rap mutation that is destroying what was built long ago.
3. We have been vibing out to your mixtape “Nothing To Lose”, and it is really a solid project man! Its almost like an album. Tell us how this concept came about and how the songs came together?
Yo, I gotta express my respect and gratitude to Tha Advocate for granting me an opportunity to let my songs be heard on a few of his recent Digital Dynasty mixtapes. I believe that there are artists who function really well as just that…artists, while others are able to operate in multiple realms of business and self-promotion. I’m a traditional artist that embraced the foundation of HIp Hop, long before it went “viral”. To be the age I am, with the lyrical style I possess, it can be easy to overlook an artist of my calibre in this new generation of throwaway autotune rappers. All of that only inspired me more when crafting this project. “Nothing To Lose,” was pulled from the deepest and innermost parts of my being, while I poured my soul out on wax. Each song is carefully calculated and surgically executed. I worked closely with Exodus de Alexandria on this project for the beats and made sure that my energy was 100%. For me, the day-to-day frustrations of my job, to the personal and heartfelt matters of my family and dating life all played a part in helping me create “Nothing To Lose”. All of those verses where I mention “empty pill bottles,” and scream out my nonchalance toward life or death…it’s real and from the soul. Each song represented a chapter in my life to a book that is still in progress. This was just volume one. I needed the project to reflect my journey from young adulthood to manhood. Every struggle has a name, and every setback is an opportunity.
4. There are so many dope songs on there. Which is your favorite and why?
I appreciate the compliment. I have a lot of favorites on there — the emotions and passion have such a long range for me. However, if I had to narrow my list down to absolute favorites, I’m going with “Are You Ready?” and “Nothing To Lose” — honorable mentions go to: “Why?”, “Soul Cry” and “Bring The War”.
5. We saw the big homie Advo co sign this project. How did you get the Digital Dynasty creator on board for this one?
Most definitely! Advo made “Nothing To Lose” even more interesting and fun to listen to. The interludes and inserts that were rolled into the project made it cinematic and meaningful. I was fortunate to link up with Advo through the back channels. The homies Prime The Beast and Indeanel were also receiving music production from Exodus de Alexandria at Trialcase Records, so when Advo’s mixtape series was brought to my attention, I had to send over my work and see if it got approved for the mixtape. The songs that I submitted for a few of his recent Digital Dynasty mixtapes were accepted, and the rest is history.
6. You, Prime The Beast and Indeanel have a really dope chemistry. Any chance we can see a group album from the 3 of you?
No doubt, the lyrical and studio chemistry is dope and brotherly. Indeanel is the older emcee on the block, so we get to listen to him preach to us about the music industry, how Hip Hop’s changed over the past 15 years, and the importance of staying true to the game. Prime and I just feed off of each other’s raw energy in the booth, and the bars are constantly high level. We challenge each other to write the hottest verses possible within the time frame of the studio session. We just bar out and kill beats. It would be dope if we linked up and worked on a project. With our collective minds, anything is possible.
7. We heard you are cooking up your debut album, “Handcuffs Off”. What can we expect from this type of record and how will it differ from “Nothing To Lose”?
“Nothing To Lose” which is a solid first mixtape, actually wasn’t my first project to be released. I currently have a fully finished and published album on Amazon called, “The Time Is Now,” which was released right before “Nothing To Lose”. K Lion did the artwork, and it has some dope material on it. However, I decided against pushing it any further. I might pull the record, but it is out there at the moment. Nevertheless, I leaped well beyond that album with “Nothing To Lose”. My new album, “Handcuffs Off” will be a strong declaration of war against any and everything that has ever held me back. I have been handcuffed by post-war stress, employment-related issues, family drama, and even my own self-restrictions in life. This record will go even deeper as volume 2 of my life’s story. I am also going to be experimenting with different types of beats to add more diversity to my overall sound.
8. What is your ultimate goal in this music industry?
If the universe favors me to the capacity of emerging from the underground and going a bit further to the surface…I’m down with that. The artists that I am sonically compared to: Mystikal, Scarface, Ja Rule, DMX, Sticky Fingaz, and Xzibit…are doing great things. They inspire me to get on their level of achievement in Hip Hop and push out my best work for the world to hear. If a major label is interested in signing me, the terms have to be right, but I will strongly consider it. There are very few rappers out there with the energy and delivery that I have. However, if I remain underground…I am grateful and honored for that as well.
9. The game has changed so much. If this was the 90’s and early 2000’s you would be heavily sought after. It’s not saying you are out dated, its saying the game is ass backwards. They are signing mumble rappers with no flow who just rap about doing drugs. How frustrating is this to a dope emcee like yourself?
I have often pondered on how things would have gone had I launched my music in 1998 or even as late as 2004. Rap was still going strong, and autotune was a developing sound in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. Many artists were happily employing the use of TalkBox artists similar to Roger Troutman to create authenticComputer Love-esquevocals. T-Pain stepped in the game and made autotune bearable, but when Lil’ Wayne got his hands on it…our current nightmare was birthed into existence. If walking into a museum and destroying priceless art is a felony and a desecration of irreplaceable work, so is the use of autotune in our current music. It is blasphemous to make songs with garbled, unintelligent, and hideous vocal parts that strip away a song’s potential to be great. If I had a shot to make music in the late 90’s to early 2000’s, I would have been going up against my biggest rap idols. I immediately would have been compared to Mystikal, DMX, and Ja Rule. It would’ve been a rough time for an artist like myself. However, in 2018, I face an uphill battle to get my music out there. To a lot of younger rappers, I probably sound outdated and old school. To true Hip Hop heads, I remind them of the aforementioned god emcees that actually spit bars and told things how they were. No matter what, Handcuffs Off! Frustration is not even the correct word to describe how I’m feeling when I see artists like Desiigner, Migos, Young Thug, Lil’ Uzi Vert, Lil’ Yachty, and other artists receiving awards for their garbled version of rap music. It’s an abomination, man.
10. In the mid 2000’s Houston was controlling the game. Since then a lot has dipped off. What’s current sound in Houston?
Houston will never change from the foundation of traditional Hip Hop groups like The Geto Boys to the more cult favorite Screw’d Up sound that has resonated within these streets for over 20 years. There will always be the traditional emcees that remind the rest of the world that Houston does have dope lyricists. However, the Screw music culture is so rich in H-Town, you’re not really respected if you don’t recognize or infuse that sound somewhere in your project. A lot of rappers from the mid-2000’s have dipped off and vanished. We still have Slim Thug and Z-Ro putting out hard-hitting music. Scarface is back at it dropping gems and keeping this city’s Hip Hop presence alive. To Houston’s bragging rights, we claim a Top 10 all-time greatest emcee with Scarface. So, that is what inspires me to keep things going and to not give up. Houston needs to do a better job in supporting its own artists. This is the only area that needs improvement.
11. Texans or Cowboys (laughs)?
As a child, I grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas. When my family and I moved to Houston, it was the Houston Oilers and then the Houston Texans. Both teams made this city fantastic in the sports world. The Cowboys are America’s team. I have love for them as well because of the recognition they bring the entire state of Texas. To a lot of people’s surprise though, I am a die hard New York Jets fan!
12. We can tell you craft your bars to perfection. You had a lot of clever barbs like, “No Way I’m Gonna Let You Eat When I’m Starving, Hit You With The Rocket…James Harden”. With that said … two questions (laughs).. for one are the Rockets gonna take care of Golden State when it’s all said and done this year? Two where do you want to go lyrically, or as an emcee, to challenge yourself on this mic?
Yeah, I do spend quality time either at home or on the spot in the lab writing the wittiest and most clever bars that my mind can conjure. It’s vitally important to me that those double and triple entendres are heard throughout my songs. I want people to go back a few times and hear something they didn’t hear earlier or catch the multiple meanings in each listening. With Harden and the Rockets having a good run, it is very much possible that they sweep all over Golden State and drop that hammer! Golden State has a ridiculous line up. It’s going to get serious.
13. Outside of music, what’s life like for Maradah?
I can’t complain. I’m alive and well. I’ve been blessed to make it this far. Hopefully, I’m blessed to go further. So I can’t complain.
14. Any hobbies or anything interesting you are into that the readers can get to know?
I love going to the movies. I go so much that people ask me if movies are good or not. I’m a huge Marvel’s fan. Can’t wait for Black Panther and Avengers Infinity War.
15. Lastly, before we check out. Who are your top 5 favorite rappers, DOA?
Wow. That’s a very tough question. There’s like so many to choose from and I have a lot of favorites. It’s impossible for me to narrow it down to 5. So all who paved the way for hip hop are my favorites.
16. We look forward to hearing “Handcuffs Off”. Keep us posted and let our readers know where to check you out? The floor is yours!
The mixtape just dropped and you all need to go check it out. Get ready for my new album that’s going to drop this year. Believe me when I say nonstop. Kick it with me on instagram @maradah. The time is now, because I got nothing to lose, so the handcuffs off!