We had the good fortune of connecting with Marlon Richardson and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Marlon, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I think risk is important for anyone’s personal or professional development. Taking risk, naturally, can make anyone uncomfortable but it is within that discomfort where we often find our biggest growth. Even further, we find new things we didn’t believe or know we were capable of. With that said, I think the risk you decide to take, whether in your career or otherwise, relies a lot on knowing yourself, truly and honestly. Trusting in yourself and constantly testing your abilities are important, because it is that confidence that informs how much risk you’re willing to accept In my life, as well as my career, every time I bet on myself, I won, one way or the other. Either I proved myself wrong and learned a valuable lesson, or on the flip side, I proved myself right and the world responded favorably. I took a huge risk when I decided to quit my 9-5 job to become a full time artist and artist educator. Despite all the early adversity and stress, I knew I was doing the right thing for myself. I learned a lot and lost a lot, but still ended up on top, doing what I love and growing in this space. Even in this field, there are still more risk and chances to be taken. The more confident and grounded I become in myself, the more risks I am willing to take. Taking a risk and betting on myself will always be a win/win.
 
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am a proud Hip Hop MC, Producer, Songwriter and Educator. I made it a point long ago to position myself in the world of Rap and Hip Hop, as Hip Hop’s next big Thinker or Philosopher. In the path of KRS-One, Chuck D and others who came before, I’ve always felt my generation of Hip Hop needed a voice to contextualize our society through the lease of Hip Hop culture, knowing where we’ve come from, how this culture started and what its potential is for the future. This has always been a challenge, considering the billion dollar music industry that looks to drown out the more substantive voice within our culture with stereotypical archetypes and tropes of artist who promote misogyny, materialism and violence as is this is all Hip Hop has to offer. I’m here to help in the movement to show the world that we are so much more and what they are being blindsided with, is just the tip of the iceberg in a larger conversation to have about our country. As a Hip Hop artist with a positive message and mission, you’re always fighting against these stereotypes. Society will often think they know you before you even have a chance to speak. Further, society will often try to tell you about yourself to reinforce the direction they want you to move in. Regardless of this. I’m proud to have paved my own path for others to follow and make my mark on the culture and the world.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I think Oakland is an inspirational place. The way the city is built, the skyline and the music are some its more well known characteristics. I actually do have one of my life long friends coming out here. I would love to show them, some of the graffiti murals, take a drive around Lake Merrit, get some vegan soul food from Vegan Mobb, maybe some shopping. But definitely take them to a party so they can see how the Bay Area turns up in the night time. The artist community supports each other, so every party is like a star studded event.
 
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would say first and foremost, my two older brothers. In my formative years, they kept me constantly inspired, focused and motivated, whether from sage advice or their own mistakes. I honestly believe they both saw something in me that I may not have seen in myself early on and helped me develop talent that would take me further than we all could have dreamed.

Secondly, the organization I represent and work for, Hip Hop For Change. When they made me their Education Director 4 years ago, they gave me an opportunity to shape the roll as I saw fit. By fully integrating my artistry, I was able to create pathways an opportunities for us as an organization, but also our local artist community. Salute to all those who support you being your most authentic self.

Website: www.unlearntheworld.com

Instagram: @unlearntheworld

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/c-marlon-richardson-11648324/

Twitter: @unlearntheworld

Facebook: facebook.com/unlearntheworld

Youtube: youtube.com/unlearntheworld

Image Credits
Photos taken by Sarah Arnold Photography

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