Born and raised in Harlem, New York, Skizzy Mars is unlike any NYC rapper you’ve seen in a long time. The MC recently released his highly anticipated album The Red Balloon Project earlier this month, which features G-Eazy, QuESt and Phoebe Ryan. Less than a week after its debut, the project has already made its way to No. 4 on the iTunes hip-hop album chart. His wide array of musical inspiration allows his sound to reach different genres of music. With spacey synths with traditional instruments, the rising rhyme slayer is turning heads. Pay attention. —Emmanuel C.M.
Name: Skizzy Mars
Hometown: Harlem, USA
I grew up listening to: I went through some phases growing up in terms of the music I listened to. When I was in like fifth to seventh grade, I listened to a lot of Good Charlotte. When I got into eighth or ninth grade, I got into more of a sophisticated alternative music if you will, so like The Killers and Animal Collective. Then once I got into the latter years of high school, I discovered A Tribe Called Quest, Kid Cudi and Kanye West. Those guys really molded my desire to become a rapper.
Man On The Moon is definitely one, but I’ll say Kanye West’s Graduation was life changing. The main thing was Kanye, I was even a big Shwayze fan, ’cause I was like this Black kid who went to school with all white kids. I went to this Upper Eastside private school (The Browning School) that cost like a shit load of money. It’s not even the one percent, it’s the .1 percent. I never really fit in until later. Dudes like Cudi and Kanye showed me that a dude like me could be a rapper. When in 2000, it couldn’t have. A kid like me who likes skinny jeans and wearing bright colors and doesn’t give a fuck could be a rapper? So that’s mainly what it was, inspirational, and the music obviously was a classic.
I think I’m the only rapper that’s gone to my school. I always wanted to be a sportscaster. I love sports. I wanted to be a SportsCenter anchor or agent, so my whole life, I studied to do that. I was great at English. I loved theater when I was 17 going on 18. I got early admission to a college upstate, so I was fully planning on going to school for four years and I released a song called “Douchebag,” which was my first song I released on the internet, and a lot of blogs posted it. It was cool. It was very satisfying. Then I released two more songs and I got more blog love. Then I got a publishing deal, which got some money in my pocket. My school that I went to, which is called Union College, they were generous enough to let me go to school for 10 weeks and experience college then take some time off. I haven’t been back since. I knew when I got that bread, I don’t want to go to school and learn philosophy. It was the first thing in my life I could really focus on and was motivated to get up in the morning to do.
Most people don’t know: I listen to music 80 percent of the day, not my music. I’m on the blogs. My diehard fans might know this about me but general people may not know I’m a huge New York Knicks fan.
My style’s been compared to: Nobody, honestly; I think any recording artist’s sound is a combination of what they grew up listening to. So of course I’m going to sound like a little bit of ‘Ye, a little bit of Drake. These are the dudes I grew up on. I didn’t grow up with 2Pac or Biggie, I was born in ’93. So those are my 2Pac and Biggie. ‘Ye was my Tupac, Jay Z was my Biggie, so I’m going to sound like all those artists combined. Any artist is like that. As far as the music I’m making now, I make a conscious effort to create new sounds every time I make a project. So I really honestly don’t think you can label it anything.
My standout records and/or moments to date have been: I think The Red Balloon Project. It was an EP I released on Feb 3. It was my first iTunes release. I think that was the beginning of great things and a big step. I previously released two mixtapes Phases and Pace. But I think The EP was a pivotal moment in my career
My goal in hip-hop is: To be honest with you, my goal is too big to articulate. I want to change what music is. I want to blend genres. I want to actually eliminate genres. I want to work with people I grew up listening to. I want to create classic, timeless albums. Like I can still put on Late Registration by Kanye and it will still feel like it was released yesterday. I want to take everything that this music world has to offer; awards, cars, everything.
I’m gonna be the next: I’m going to be the next kid to revolutionize music. I’m going to be the next guy to be the most consistent artist since Kanye West. I will never release a bad song. I’ll be that dude. You can count on me. My ear and my team and people around wouldn’t let me. One thing I don’t get is when artists release records that I don’t think are great songs, like don’t you have people around you? I don’t have yes men around me. My name is Skizzy Mars, but I’m miles to them. So dudes will tell me what can be better. It’s an extensive process. I’m not saying I’m never going to mess up, but as far as consistency, that’s what I’m about, that and timeless music. Hopefully I will be playing in arenas because that’s the goal.
Standout: The Red Ballon Project
“Pay For You” Feat. G-Eazy
“Way I Live”