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The Sunflower

‘Two things can be true:’ Rapper Marrice Anthony on collaboration, complaining and reexamining his life at 30

Photo+courtesy+of+Marrice+Anthony
Photo courtesy of Marrice Anthony

The cover of Wichita rapper Marrice Anthony’s latest album, “2 THINGS CAN BE TRUE,” is his mom’s graduation photo. She died when he was 11. 

Following his mother’s passing, he moved from Detroit to Wichita. At 13, he recorded his music for the first time.

As a teenager, he started looking for inspiration in other artists from his hometown. 

“When I moved here to Wichita, I was looking for Detroit artists to listen to because I realized I didn’t know a lot of Detroit acts,” Anthony said. “I was 15 and I discovered J Dilla and his whole story and whatnot. The last album he put out before he died was ‘Donuts’ and I found out that the reason why he named the album ‘Donuts’ was because he liked donuts.” 

This stuck with Anthony: the idea that he chose a name just because he liked something. 

He continued writing and recording. According to Anthony, he never wanted to get famous. His goal was to make meaningful music that reflected what he liked.

“I don’t have a desire to make Top 40 music but I have a desire for folks to like my music,” he said. “I think that’s what gets lost in the sauce a lot of time with artists is that they’re like, ‘Nah, I’m just gonna make whatever I’m making and it’s like, ‘but people have to enjoy that.’ I take more time now to make sure people get my message (rather) than trying to guide them to get it the way I want them to get it.”

Besides trying to create music that resonates with people around him,  Anthony said his work has undergone one other major change since he was a teen.      

“I’ve got more stuff to write about,” he said. “The downside to that is that my life starts sucking worse and so I’ve just had more things to complain about.” 

Anthony uses his music to “complain” and express himself, but he said there’s been times where he gets frustrated or overwhelmed with the process. He recalls one instance of this in 2019.

“I had like a mini freak-out and sent out some emails to some people in the industry trying to get help,” he said.

One person he reached out to responded with a phone call. 

“One of the things that he told me was that, ‘you know, if this was the 90s we would just fly you out to New York and sign you today but it’s not the 90s, you have to legitimize yourself’,” Anthony said. 

He said this phone call discouraged him because he had been hoping for more help, but the advice he received would inspire him to start his record label, the Cookie Store

That advice, along with J Dilla’s influence, made Anthony attach the Cookie Store label to his work. 

“So then I just went and bought a chef’s hat and apron on Amazon,” he said. “I went and got the logo put on it and then I just went and started playing shows and I just really didn’t describe it. I didn’t give nobody no context or nothing. I just showed up rapping in an apron.”

Anthony was surprised when other artists approached him about joining the Cookie Store, but he accepted their requests and the group grew. They started booking shows together and supporting each other’s music. The Cookie Store now includes 43 members, mostly in Wichita, according to Anthony.

The Store had a significant impact on the career of these artists who didn’t fit into the mainstream.

“We don’t really appeal to whatever people are trying to sell,” he said. “So we didn’t really have anybody with that mindset in our circle before but now we do and that’s because of the Cookie Store.” 

Anthony said this collaborative mindset helped inspire some of the music on “2 THINGS CAN BE TRUE.”

“There’s a song on side B of the album called ‘two weeks,’ that I would not have made had I not been listening to a lot of logan.jpg,” he said. “They just put out an album called ‘Chameleon.’ Anytime you hear a new sound, you’re like, ‘huh, I guess I just didn’t think of it that way.’ It’s like a new language.” 

Originally, he said he wanted to release his album on his 30th birthday. That didn’t happen because  Anthony said he got writer’s block. Still, that milestone was an important influence. 

“Everybody has that fear of turning 30 and wanting it to be a clean slate and if I’m gonna do that, then I kind of have to get out all the shit that I’m mad about,” he said. 

Many of the songs reflect difficult parts of his past. 

Side A and B of the record are distinctly different, something he said was intentional, but also made it difficult to unify. 

“I used each side to inspire the other because I wanted everything to be balanced,” Anthony said. “I knew that sonically, there were two different sounds. One is made on an SP-404 so it’s very analog. One is made on a computer so it’s very digital and has a lot more intricate detail to it.”  

While struggling with piecing together the album, Anthony said he came across the inspiration for the title, as well as the cover featuring his mother’s photo. 

“It’s like three or four o’clock in the morning and I’m sitting– and this was one of those conversations where I’m stressing about, ‘okay, what are we gonna do, we’ve got damn near an album over here and like, damn near an album here. Like, what are we going to do?” he said. “So I just came upon that graduation photo of my mom and a quote from my sister came in my head. My sister likes to say the quote ‘two things can be true.” And this sister, I’m not talking to right now. That’s the one I’m talking about on ‘sofia rose.’”

He released the cohesive album on streaming services, but also put out each side individually. “Side A: PRXTTY” has a photo of his sister, “Side B: So yeah… now we don’t talk,” his dad. His mom, he said, ties the whole thing together. 

“She depicts what it was like before it all went wrong,” he said. 

Anthony doesn’t shy away from getting personal with his music. 

“Nothing’s too embarrassing if you can redeem yourself,” he said. “Nothing is too far beyond redemption. If something bad happened to you or something embarrassing … it’s how you spin it and turn it into something positive.” 

For Anthony, the album was a way to move on to his thirties which are, as he said, “a whole different beast.” 

 “You can look at this as an album of me complaining, like I’ve said, or you can look at this as getting it all out so that I could be a better person.” 

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About the Contributor
Ainsley Smyth, Reporter
Ainsley Smyth is a second-year reporter for The Sunflower. Smyth is a sophomore communications major with an emphasis in journalism and media productions. Her dream job is to travel back in time 30 years and then be a reporter for Rolling Stone. Smyth uses she/her pronouns.

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