[SATURDAY SPOTLIGHT] MATTHEW MARKOFF: BEST OF BOTH WORLDS via @TenthLetterMed
Originally Published on April 24, 2017
The Old National Center in Indianapolis has and continues to play host to some of the hottest acts in entertainment. The intimate confines of the Egyptian Room was where I found myself on a Monday night last month. I was covering The LOX Filthy America It’s Beautiful Tour and the energy in the building was some kind of wonderful. One hell of a four hour show! Just two days prior, Young Jeezy dropped through the Circle City and seven days after that, Project Pat and Juicy J was here. A week’s worth of Hip-Hop, and it was so dope!!
I had to know who was bringing this madness in March to Naptown and through good friends and connections I was finally introduced to Matthew “M-Eighty” Markoff. We chopped it up briefly in VIP before exiting stage left through the backstage area, and ending up outside the artist entrance for a smoke break. M-Eighty as I already knew him by, is a seasoned veteran in Hip-Hop with hometown ties to both Toledo, OH and Indy. With twenty-plus years in the genre and 19 Billboard Top 100 Hip-Hop & R&B releases since 2005, his clientele list is a plethora of the game’s biggest artists and recording acts. The Wu-Tang affiliated artist is also the first Guinness World Record holder for the longest freestyle. “While the most recent artist to do so was Chiddy Bang, I was the first to do so for charity.” While I did my homework on him as an artist, I wasn’t aware that he dons several hats in the overall cultivation of Hip-Hop.
Matthew is the President of Holy Toledo Productions as well as the Vice-President of A&R at RBC Records. Twelve years an exec, he’s found balance in wielding two swords. “I’m expanding upon the legacy. With my place in Hip Hop already solidified amongst the great’s when speaking on the totality of what myself, Holy Toledo and my artist networks can accomplish, it’s really about what I can do in the present day.” His most recent promotion Holy Toledo & Anno Domini Nation provides artists who are looking for industry-league promotion and features to albums, mixtapes and the like.
The saying goes without struggle there is no progress. Several up and coming artists hit roadblocks in the race for fame, but M-Eighty can’t recall any that wasn’t of the “status quo.” “Selling myself and my products year in and year out was never an issue as people everywhere I would go would gravitate to my personality, my ability and my power of the sale.” These abilities have allowed him to flourish in the realm of Hip-Hop amongst legendary company the likes of Raekwon, Method Man, Redman and many others. I had to ask him as an artist once myself way back when, where the fuck were you at mentally after a few hours in. He shared a real but funny moment about this quest.
“I only lost around the 18 minute mark (laughs). Imagine that, telling the press you were going to rap for 9 hours and 15 minutes and then losing in the 1st hour. While on stage I had like 6 different water bottles all with the pop up spray tops and tried to take a quick hit of water in between the cadence of two bars and damn near choked. Started coughing a bunch and instead of just stopping and giving up flipped the coughing effects into my next bar like, “coughin, from out the coffin but I ain’t dead yet, so this ain’t no dead man walkin, the crowns bestowed and set, yes yall lets get it poppin!” (A miracle of a transition if I do say so myself. S/O G.O.D for allowing me to rebound from that and not embarrass myself in the media worldwide.) After that though, it was all smooth sailing from there. Not a single hiccup to be had for the next 8 hrs. and 53 minutes until completion.”
Amongst the many accolades and achievements in M-Eighty’s career, besides his dubbed Pimptastic pool with B-Ball hoop in the back of his crib, he would say his best one came from two of his biggest fans in his parents. While most parents wouldn’t understand this thing called Hip-Hop(shout out to the Fresh Prince) his were not financially backing his dreams as well. “While both my parents always provided the best for my brother and I and instilled all the right life lessons and tools, I always worked part time jobs while in school, saved my own money, paid for any minimal studio equipment I needed to make music at home or whatever post production works my projects needed at the “real deal” studios for mixing and mastering.”
Markoff has a joy for what he does, as it’s evident in following him via social media. That feeling was the one thing his parents did provide him during his odyssey in Hip-Hop. “It wasn’t until after my 3rd actual album “The 11th Hour” dropped and my parents were convinced to come see me live at a local show in downtown Indianapolis which was SOLD OUT (700 cap – walked that night $3500+ as a ‘local upcoming talent’) that I truly felt the joy of witnessing the moment I feel they had a “change of heart” as it relates to my art, passion and everything career wise I had accomplished up through that point and since then it has forever meant the world to me as they now get to share in the joy and appreciate each and every stride I make in music whether as the Artist or Executive a decade plus later.”
If sky is truly the limit like Biggie said then M-Eighty wants the moon. Be on the lookout for more from both M-Eighty the artist and the A&R Extraordinaire as 2017 is already off to a Pimptastic start!!