In Matthew, the 5th Chapter, the Bible speaks about us being salt and light:
Matthew 5:13-16King James Version (KJV)
13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven
Most don’t take that scripture to heart , in its entirety. However, it is the first thing I think about when I reflect on the work of Macro Anthony, better known as Marco The Poet.
Salt is a gritty substance that, when handled, leaves residue, yet has the ability to preserve. Long before it was the gentrified Bronzeville area it is today, Marco’s salt was ingrained during his upbringing in the Ida B. Wells housing projects in Chicago. Crime, gangs, drugs and all the other vices that go with isolated areas of poverty were daily occurrences that helped shape his outlook on the improprieties of the world (racial and otherwise). In addition his home life was balanced on a delicate web as his family rose every day with the simple goal of survival. This “salt” has made him speak out brazenly against racial injustice and be an advocate to erase the lack of attention and resources given to mental illness within the African-American community. Hence, he became a “light” to guide people and resources to deficits within that community.
In the midst of his curing process, Marco would obtain tutelage from two people who would help him hone his artistry: The late Dr, Albertina Walker who – like Marco – was a member of the historic West Point Baptist Church and the world-renowned “Queen of Gospel”. Marco would also come under the wing of Mama Brenda Matthews, a powerful preacher of the Gospel and fellow poet who mentored him and, in my humble opinion, helped to give this dagger of a poet his sharp edge.
Marco despite his upbringing, was never detoured from his mission. Alabama State University, would be the ground on which his passion for Civil Rights would be ignited and his “light” would shine through his inspired lyrics that do not glorify poverty, but shed light on it so that the listener would gain knowledge and perspective of its truth.
I should probably tell you that I like Marco’s work because while he is a product of the church, he doesn’t’ just speak from the church’s perspective, but from life itself. His zeal is felt from the moment he approaches the microphone until the time his delivery incites snaps and cheers from his audience. If you’re tired of candy-coated, surface lyrics, I invite you to listen to this wordsmith. He is certainly a purveyor of truth-to-power messages that bring light to deep, dark places.
His dynamic collaborations with artists like Jason Shepard, Maurice Griffin, Ryan Booker and others have rendered incredible pieces of outstanding skill and production which, in 2012, garnered him a Stellar Award nomination for Best Spoken Word CD Recording of the Year. Its no wonder his work is celebrated. He seems to put every ounce of himself into every recording such as this introduction to The Urban Notebook:
J Shep’s Urban Notebook: Intro & Interlude (feat. Marco the Poet)
While shopping for his music as “Marco the Poet” or “Marco Anthony”, I would strongly recommend that you listen to “Her Diamond“, which speaks of every woman’s inner-woman, “Him First“, a pledge of allegiance to God of sorts, “OMG“, a very modern narrative which I actually wouldn’t mind including in a Praise & Worship setting. Definitely not to be overlooked is his newest gift, “Flaws and All“, which we featured in an article written about Heather Cooper.
“Flaws And All” – Marco Anthony (feat. Heather Cooper)
Please allow me to also share with you another new song with Peculiar People. I actually feel as if Marco reached to the depths of his soul for this one.
“The Journey” – Peculiar People: We Are (feat. Marco the Poet)
Having experienced only a portion of this man’s enormous ability, please know that he is not one-dimensional. While music is his passion, he has served as an Assistant Pastor, Youth Pastor and Mentor. I am proud to say that he is named in the ranks of professional educators in Chicago’s Public School System. His passion for youth not only keeps him relevant but also productive. Anthony also partnered with the By The Hand Club for Kids to go into the deepest parts of the city and provide poetry sessions and guidance to youth during the night hours when crime and violence was at its peak. This poetry group helped to procure millions of dollars to sustain itself under Marco’s tenure. A great accomplishment for most, but just small steps for a man who intrepidly does with his life the things he speaks with his music.
I am always amazed with the fluent power of spoken word. As a songwriter, I was always taught that the message had to be perceptible – even if you took the music away. Marco’s messages are just that powerful. They stand alone without any fluff.
The salt that made and preserved him is the same salt that he uses to share the triumphs of life through Christ. The light that he sheds comes from his strong convictions and experience and have made him a Renaissance Man. Marco the Poet – An Artist You Should Know.
Marco’s amazing pen has the ability express common sentiments poetically. “This Woman Here” is a work of art for every man who loves a woman. Enjoy.