Marz explained that he used to enjoy heavy metal at an early age but that was eventually lost to a budding passion for hip-hop.
As he was aspiring toward a hip-hop career for himself, Marz sought out an internship at a studio.
“To get in there I called every day and bugged the receptionist until she told me to come in,” Marz shared. “I had no experience but made a fake resume. The boss pulls out a stack of resumes from people with experience going to school for engineering. ‘Look at all these resumes…you know how many of these people have ever called me back? None of them. Why are you so persistent?’”
Well, apparently Marz had all the answers and his persistence paid off. He became an intern, and from there, his life would change forever.
While working on his own music in the studio, the singer from world-famous band Ministry ( Al Jourgensen) walks in.
“He’s in the big room and I’m in the side room. He looks at me and says, ‘What’s up?’ then asks someone who I was. They told him, and he said, ‘Have him come back here’,” Marz explained.
Jourgensen says, “Hey man, I’m trying to hire a new engineer. Will you engineer this album for me?”
“I’m not an engineer man,” Marz protests.
“That’s alright we can figure it out together,” said the singer.
During this whole exchange, Marz said Jourgensen is shooting up with a crack pipe next to him. He offers him a certain amount of money a week, and Marz agrees as long as he can also deal drugs from the studio.
“That first night of knowing him, I thought he was going to be dead by the morning. All he did was smoke crack, hit after hit and shooting up. In the morning, I said, ‘You’re going to die if you don’t stop’. Except, that was a normal night for him,” revealed the rapper.
Further along in the recording process of the album, the singer makes what Marz calls a “heroine” decision. He asked Marz to play guitar in the band.
“I was noodling on the guitar and he was shooting up on the couch. Without even opening his eyes, he asked who was playing,” said Marz. “Then he asked me if I wanted to play guitar in the band. ‘I said sure man’ brushing it off and he said, ‘alright man you’re in’.”
He continued, “I didn’t think he’d remember but when we were done with the album he asked me to learn all the songs for the tour. Now I was in Ministry doing world tours, and all this just kind of happened.
The album he engineered was called Filth Pig and it wound being their highest charting album despite being a commercial failure because of the change of sound for the group. Nevertheless, Marz had his first taste of stardom and learned a lot on the road.
In a weird twist of irony, many years later and now a Christian, he played a show in a spot that he had toured with Ministry but this time he was doing ministry.
After his stint with Ministry, Marz headed out on his own to pursue rap and road the wave of nu-metal with his own band, also called Marz.
“I had a band and the music got me signed. The label hooked me up with ICP and I had to pay $1000 a show to go on tour with them,” he said. “The first show I did with them was rowdy but I fit right in. My rowdiness was a little bit different. Three songs in, the opening act stopped playing and came backstage. The bass player’s head was split right open because at the venue they had big glass ashtrays and someone threw one on stage.”
He continued, “I had jumped into the audience so many times at those shows to handle situations like that. Every time I would be violent back, they would respect and started liking me. After five or six shows, the leaders of ICP, Violent J and Shaggy, approached me and told me they liked what I was doing. They told me about their side project Dark Lotus. ‘It’s really dark, it’s witchcraft and black magic’, I was in. They weren’t even into that stuff. I wanted to go hard on it because I never wrote in that genre.”
For the uninitiated, ICP does what is considered “Horrorcore” rap. It is extremely graphic and violent with lots of dark imagery. Dark Lotus was going to push that boundary even further.
It has been circulated around that the guys from ICP consider themselves Christians. Take what you will from that statement, but Marz said he never really experienced anything to confirm that.
“The only time ICP ever mentioned God was when I recorded a blasphemous and vulgar verse, and the guys in Twisted (affiliates) said, ‘You’re going to have to rewrite. I’m not going to Hell for this album’. And J from ICP said, ‘No way bro. We’re gonna keep that’.”
Marz continued, “There’s no way I will try to judge another person’s walk. If they have come to God, I pray that it’s true and I will continue to pray for them. If it’s true we need to start seeing some fruit.”
During this period of time, Marz was also doing tours with another world-famous rock band, Korn. Guitarist Brian “Head” Welch is more known now, as the guy from Korn who got radically saved. Marz remembers when that happened.
“When Brian became a Christian I thought he was crazy. We thought he was in a cult. ‘They brained washed him, look at this’. When that happened with him, I went to visit my mom and the landlady found out Brian was a Christian. She said to me, ‘You know what, you’re going to become a Christian too. God is calling you and your actual calling is in Christian music.’ It’s crazy how she was right,” he remarked.
Even when Marz became a Christian, he wanted nothing to do with Christian music. Briefly after, he went to a Christian concert and said it was awful.
Then after a period of time, the songs just started flowing out of him and his fate was sealed. Since then, he has also discovered many talented people in Christian hip-hop. That first experience, however, had left a bad taste in his mouth.
Marz said artists like Tech9, Paul Wall, and the members of Korn respected his decision to leave secular music and become a Christian rapper because they saw the transformation was genuine.
To read about how Marz came to God, go back and read part two of the article.
The emcee said that whether you are a Christian rapper or rapper who is Christian, there isn’t a right or wrong. “I just pray whatever their calling is that they're listening to the Holy Spirit. I’m trying to stay in alignment with the Lord.”
Marz said he makes songs that are very overtly Christian. Then there are songs that aren’t so explicit.
“I had a guy who didn’t notice it was a Christian album until the sixth song. I didn’t do that on purpose, I’m just trying to be an artist.”
As of right now, Wake the Dead EP is out now. There’s a new album coming this fall called Thrive.
His main hope for the record is that his walk is so genuine that everything else just spills out from that and it brings God glory and edifies the body.
“My mission is I love going to the streets. I pray my music can bless believers and edify the body and strengthen you in your walk. I also heavily lean to going to the world and going to the places that I once was. I’m looking forward to doing prison ministries,” he said. “I honestly believe God loved us while we were sinners. My message to nonbelievers is, if you’re a Blood, God loves you. God loves strippers, God loves drug dealers, and God even loves killers. He loves you too much to leave you where you’re at. He loves you in all that mess and all that dirt. He wants you to have an experience of who you actually are in Christ.”
Lastly, Marz wants to encourage people in the church to action.
“A lot of times in the church, if you feel like you have a calling for God, do it. Advance the kingdom, stop half stepping and stop doubting. Whatever it might be for the Lord, I encourage you to do it,” he said. “First ask yourself, does it line up with scripture, is it from the Lord? We need to advance the kingdom in the world boldly.”
If you started with this article, be sure to go back and read the other two parts.