Best known for his ESPN Sports Center anthem “Greatness,” North Carolina emcee Mark Steele imbues a gritty, fervid sound that has been long lost since the late ’90s, early 2000’s. Bred into the culture since the tender age of 15, he has already collaborated with some of hip hop’s top names, including his mentor and former college professor 9th Wonder, Rapsody, Raheem Devaughn, Big Pooh (of Little Brother), YMCMB artist Cory Gunz, and more.
Steele’s 2014 debut album Sumthin For The Wait boasted his hit “Not Like Y’all,” which was featured on ESPN’s morning debate show First Take and played throughout the month of March 2014 in celebration of March Madness. Soon after Steele’s ESPN hit “Greatness” (from his History Repeats EP) ran its course, Steele released the highly anticipated album, Almost Time (2016), which proved to be the most important album of his rising career thus far.
With production from Grammy award winning producers Carvin and Ivan, the project’s lead single “Big Dreams” was featured on Ebro’s Beats 1 #DiscoveredOnAppleMusic segment, and the album’s Rapper Big Pooh-assisted single “Ain’t Real” aired on Dr. Dre’s The Pharmacy (Beats 1).
Steele continues to build anticipation for his next album today with the visual clip of his braggadocious freestyle over Jay-Z’s Volume 1 classic, “Imaginary Player,” one of ten razor sharp, minute-long freestyles on Steele’s new mixtape, Before A Minute. Hosted by DJ Wade Banner, Before A Minute serves as a prelude to Mark Steele’s forthcoming album It’s Been A Minute, available October 12th.
It’s Been A Minute will serve as the full-length follow-up to Steele’s stellar 2016 sophomore album Almost Time, and features No Malice (of Clipse) and production by Khrysis (of The Soul Council).
Look for Steele’s refreshing sound to push the culture forward, on his way to becoming a leader of hip hop’s new generation. Pre-order It’s Been A Minute here.
Follow Shamika Sykes on Twitter & the ‘Gram!