I got 5 on it is a hip-hop classic drenched in controversy and shady dealings behind the scenes in the making of the track. R&B singer Mike Marshall who voiced the hook joins the show to tell the story of the song and the gift and curse of its success.
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Full transcript below:
Warren Shaw 00:10
What’s good everybody and welcome to another episode of dope interviews brought to you by the mighty 19 Media Group. I’m your host, Warren Shaw. And as always, make sure to rate review, subscribe, and tap in with all of the great 19th media content that’s out there. Shouts to the homies, rich can clothing always keep in 19 media dripped in the latest, but I need to get to the ish. On today’s show. We have one of the music industry’s most iconic people in the r&b space. He is Mike Marshall, famous for singing the hook. And I got five on it but much, much more to his story than that. My dude Mike neezy was good family. How’re you doing?
Mike Marshall 00:51
I’m good, man. I’m just glad to be here still.
Warren Shaw 00:56
I mean, aren’t we all right? So you’re from kind of like the Bay Area, right. And I wanted to kind of start a conversation there. What makes music in the Bay Area and that space, like a little bit different from everything else that we hear out there and kind of mainstream, and like on the east coast and in the Midwest and things of that nature?
Mike Marshall 01:18
Ah, the way I like to think of it. And I tell people we are the last on the map kind of right? You come in from Europe, you pass it over in New York, then you got to go through the south and eventually get out here to the west. And since that’s how it was from the beginning of the America how it started, right? We are the last to get stuff in California, right. So whatever they doing in the north, and in the east, it’ll take a second to get to us. So the way I look at it is like the creativity had to wait a while. I mean, we have our own folks here. But there wasn’t really the hip hop that way, way back. So they had to come from the east side to come this way. So I say that say this. We were raised on funk and soul out here. So we had to separate that into the hip hop, and the rap music. So that’s a noticeable difference between our Ms. And there’s out there. They worked with a lot of jazz in the beginning of it. But we we had soul and funk music, so we can bring that in. And that’s the difference to me. As far as listening hearing mark, because East Coast has always done some was always some old school jazz sampler thing. Or, but man, remember, first thing that was going on here was over an old folk song or an old r&b song. So that’s my opinion, what the differences are.
Warren Shaw 03:04
I mean, I think that’s a well thought out answer, Mike. I mean, that’s like almost like a little bit of a history lesson, I think for our listeners as well, too. So I mean, you know, your breadth of knowledge coming in and question one, so I can appreciate that. What was in essence, you know, when I talk to musicians, I always kind of wonder like, what what did you listen to what was kind of like the soundtrack of your life and people who influenced you to be where you are as an artist. And as a singer.
Mike Marshall 03:27
I grew up as a child of a overly religious, black one. Single parent, I was the oldest. So if she was going to go to church, we always go to church. So in her mind, and the teachings of the Church to I was raised that world music, Devil music, secular music was not something we should be entertaining. So I was raised on gospel music. First 1513 years. And it was so deep and embedded in me, that when I got of age where it was time to try to show who I was, and, and what I was about, I pulled on things from the church, for example, as a seventh grader, instead of carrying a backpack, I carried a briefcase because that’s what the preacher carry. Oh, and I didn’t put my books in and only had a Bible. Maybe a notepad and a pencil, so I wasn’t doing too well in the seventh grade. Okay, so since it was church music, it was Walter Hawkins, and his brother James Cleveland, a lot of gospel stuff. And then there was one guy who I was sneaking to listen to, and his name was Marvin Gaye. So my cousin’s play that along with Michael Jackson all the time. So whenever I went to visit them, I can hear that at their house. So every time I went there, those are the ones that I look for Marvin Gaye and the Jackson Five cuz I knew some of those songs, my cousins will make me sing it, right. So that that those were the things that I grew up on most of it was gospel. And then at 16, I kind of started getting into all kinds of music. And then I delve into rock and jazz and then swung it back to r&b and then into rap. So it started off with gospel.
Warren Shaw 05:23
I think that’s the foundation for a lot of people. You know, I mean, in general, where we come from you I mean, if you’re black, you started in the church, probably, there’s a possibility. That’s where you came from. Then the last right? How did you how did you break into show business really means like, it’s one thing to be kind of singing gospel in church songs and being influenced by that, but nothing to get a break and then to actually be on the scene and get a record deal. So how’d you land that initially
Mike Marshall 05:48
wasn’t plan like you say it was a break. I was in a after school club called the mixologist. So we were inundated with music. And I played a lot of records when I was in my high school years, we meet in the the guys from that, that mixologist club, one of the guys like to write lyrics, and I was always sing, either I was getting in trouble for it or getting attention. But I had eight da D, so I was always humming or singing, even when I didn’t know it may call that disrupting the class. So my buddy invited me over to try to sing on the song. I didn’t know what that meant. I had no idea but I was gonna go over and listen to this music that he had. Well, he didn’t have music. He had the lyrics. So he showed me the lyrics, and said, we need some music for that. So this is around 85 just graduated from high school and I’m at Laney College, taking a piano class. Because I liked it. Yeah, my grandmother had one I learned how to play it by ear, but I wanted to learn a little bit more theory. So I came home one day, because I live with this guy, right? And we’re struggling. And I have been working on a on a group at school, which is basically the baseline from I keep forgetting by Michael McDonald. But don’t Don’t, don’t don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t don’t don’t don’t do don’t do. Don’t, don’t do. I keep forgetting. But I put his lyrics over that after I turned it into a group. But that’s what the base of it was from the baseline. I keep forgetting by Michael McDowell. That’s what the rumors baseline is. So I did that. And then we charted it, because that was the first part. So we need to hook part. So that’s how we got to Dun, dun, dun dun, dun, dun, dun. And that’s the hook part of rumors. So we did that. And a guy from Vallejo heard it. That’s a long story how I got to him. But he heard it. He liked the new one to invest in. So he he offered to take us to the studio and pay for our studio time to record it. So we did that long story short, the radio liked it in the south, Terry, a recent payday broke the record, and then it swung back this way because they wasn’t gonna play it here. That’s just how the Bay Area works. From here, and the rest of the world, they’ll know nothing about you and ain’t playing it. You’re not gonna get him on the radio out here. That’s the way it was back when I was still kind of like that. But yeah, that’s how it was. So we had to wait for that to swing back. So we didn’t know it was doing that. So we didn’t even know was picking up energy and all that it was just a song that we performed at the talent shows and at gigs, where we were DJing at and stuff like that it was never meant to be a chart charting song. It was just something, some vinyl, we can have to play in our own parties that I can go out there and see because I like to see.
Warren Shaw 08:47
That’s That’s crazy, Mike, I mean, so you’re telling me rumors was just kind of like, hey, we just did this thing. And it became this thing
Mike Marshall 08:58
took off and the barriers started liking it. And the guy who took us to the studio. He got to hear a Pittsburgh because now he’s bragging to people about the song. But now they plan it out as money being generated. This is not something that me and my partner knew about. But he was a little older than us. And he kind of was. So he realized that there was money being generated for us. So he came back to us to try to get us to sign a 10 year deal. We didn’t know anything about that. All we knew is that all the stuff we had read about Michael Jackson and France, we knew that we did not want to sign with anyone for 10 years. That kind of how the breakup kind of started after the song kind of took off. For this. You would think that with all that momentum with it, it could have went even further but there was internal turmoil.
Warren Shaw 09:49
I mean, it happens, you know, unfortunately, does he we hear that with a lot of groups and things of that nature. So in no time a social club didn’t didn’t reach its full potential potentially but you You kept going kept pushing, and I’m going to fast forward, you know, roughly 10 years later, walk me through just briefly. How did I got five on it kind of come to you? How did someone say you know what that’s to do we need to sing the hook on this situation.
Mike Marshall 10:14
Okay, so the guy who took us to the studio, his name was Jay King. Okay, Jay King, that tenure thing? And we told him no. So he told us, okay, I’m going to go find some other people change the name. And keep moving on with this if you guys don’t want to do it. So we told him, okay, he didn’t really care, we didn’t really know what that meant. So he started a group called Club nouveau. Okay, now, club maneuver didn’t have any songwriters, because the only songwriters were me and Marcus in the circle. So they had to kind of go off into stuff that I had did. Now, while while working with that Jay King Guy, one of the breakout, we were working on doing a follow up to that song, as he made that clear to that we would need a follow up. So we were working on other songs. So the guys who worked for him to produce for him for this new group, in the future, we had met, and I had introduced him to a couple of the songs that I was trying to do. So after we broke up, that group came out. And the producers produced a lot of stuff that sounded like my stuff. One of those songs. From a time like social club, my group was called thinking about club nouveau competence. And their song is called why you treat me so bad. So that baseline for why you treat me so bad is the baseline that I have to his producers. So they created this song. So why he means a bad is out. And the song completely we’ll call jealousy is that those two songs mirror my two songs, rumors, and thinking about you. So they go on and do their thing. I go and do my thing, which is I get depressed because now I’m not in this group. But everybody in the Bay Area who knows me is actually what happened. And I didn’t have any answers. fatherless kid. three other siblings are younger than me. I’m pretty much dad at the house. This is causing me shame. So I get into drugs. So I’m doing drugs and not doing too well. I’m not fully out there totally. But I’m not doing what I’m supposed to be doing. One of my buddies from high school, ethnic Gilmore, his name is Tom Capone. He was working with some will say some street people. And the thing back then where you would if you were a street, Hustler, and you have money, you need some place to invest in the music business is a great place for that easy way to wash money. So they were taking their their runners and the people who move dope for them finding who had talent, and putting them in the studio to do records. One of those groups was these two kids from a group called the loonies. So Tom was producing at the time, and he had produced for a lot of people in the barrier. So artists knew and so they were coming to him to do songs for. So I ended up working for Tom, doing hooks for these rappers who needed hooks in their song because again, out here, there was a lot of funk and r&b covered songs for rap. So those songs that sing in it, that they would try to replicate that in the in the hip hop. So that’s why a lot of songs from the Bay have singers on them, even though sometimes the thing is not so well. It’s supposed to remind you what, where that song came from. And as their especially their new telling that song. And that story that they’re doing. They’re using the singer. So they they came to tell these young kids, no, it’s the loonies and they wanted to Tony to replay that music, but why you treat me so bad. Tom knows that I wrote thinking about you, and that I have this issue with club Nouveau, because that song is mine, and nobody knows it. So Tom says, Why don’t we do the song, you sing a new hook on it? And then we can get published in this timeline. Let’s do it that way. Because I had learned at that time that that was the way to go. Whereas I didn’t know that. So I was like, Okay, so the kids come in, and they got this idea about I got 500 bucks a week. So I took the hook, I did it, they had just struck, Cadence wise, and Melody wise, so it kind of fit into the space where they had it. And that’s how I got five one came to beat.
Warren Shaw 14:16
That’s, that’s a wild story. But at least some baton was like willing to pay pay it back. Yeah. The real deal was and was like, Yeah, let’s kind of do it this way.
Mike Marshall 14:25
Yes. Thank God for top. Right, big up. Big up, Tom.
Warren Shaw 14:28
So what what was your initial reaction when you met the loonies and just kind of like, collaborating with them, and again, then seeing what the success of the song was after after release and really kind of just went worldwide?
Mike Marshall 14:42
What I do remember about that session, is that the idea that the kids had, it sounded like it was a good idea because it was about weed and the theme of it was you can get high if you ain’t got 500 and I was pretty much I was out In a world now we go go get high this afternoon, you need five on it, you need five on it cuz we don’t go to the fencing. If there’s 20, there’s four of us. That’s how we go to 40. Because I ain’t got 10. And I ain’t got 20 Yeah, I got five, two or three, we can make this work. That’s how he was moving. So they, once they showed me the words, and I put it down, once I walked out of that booth, and was listening to it in that room, I turned to tone. That’s a tempest. This is a hit. First of all, the theme is timeless. And that melody people already know. And it’s a haunting melody, which is why Jordan used it right. And that’s why for the very first thing I say, on the song is creep on, man. That’s because when he, when he, when it’s playing like that, the way Tom produced it, that’s a very haunting melody, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom.
Warren Shaw 15:51
So, so let me stop you right there. So the creep on in part, you added that part base, because you thought the melody was like, a little bit haunting? And that’s what kind of came to your head when you
Mike Marshall 16:01
got Yeah, yeah. Instead of saying my name at the beginning, like I was normally saying, that came out of me, just like that just creep on me. I even started doing like this, because I was like, Oh, this is kind of spooky. It’s all good. But yeah,
Warren Shaw 16:14
that is my that’s a wild one. So the song becomes a smash, it does what it does, then they do a remix. Do you think that was just gonna be kind of natural, like, you know, we’re gonna get a remix with like, I don’t know, like eight people on it. And then people have remix, the remix and things of that nature as well, too.
Mike Marshall 16:33
I was out of the loop. So I don’t know what those people were doing. Because that wasn’t my group. And it wasn’t challenge group. It was kind of like, work for hire. So I wasn’t really in the loop when they were doing it. But every time I heard the new thing from it, I liked especially the remix, it was dope. Yeah, it made sense. Because that was a phrase from here. So we should put it on the map of the whole world to see and let them see more than just a loan. And the loan is one unknown at the time. Yeah, so they kind of got a stamp of approval. With all those people that they had on they had 40 And what’s that guy’s name? The real topper one who was doing that? real gangster music spice one. When I started spice one was on I was like, okay, they’re trying to be serious about this 40 is big, but spice one at that time was you know, really on street level, and everybody knew his stuff. And I mean, so him on there, 40 on there, and all the other people out on there. It worked out it was a representation of the band. I’m definitely about that.
Warren Shaw 17:38
So I have five on it again, like you said it’s a it’s a cultural phrase really at some point. I mean, I remember even being in college and I didn’t necessarily smoke I didn’t do those things so to speak. Somebody gave me a ride Hey man, I got five on my gas or whatever it is like it really catchphrase you know I think within our community so to speak. I want to ask something like and you can you can choose not dancer, whatever if you want to, but has a song been kind of like a kit, a gift and a curse for you? In some ways?
Mike Marshall 18:07
Oh, yeah. Yeah, sure. It was the song. Yeah, because the anger I had about what club nouveau would did with that original man only got worse. When I got fired when it took off. And I wasn’t being compensated the way that I was agreed to be compensated. The manager of the group precincts agreed to pay me one thing that only pay me something else. And when I complain about it later, his lawyer Evers, I think it’s out Evers. This dude sends me a letter and pretty much in a nutshell says, that’s, that’s wack that you want to ask for more money now that the song is taken off. I’m the one who was in the studio saying it was going to work. Those gangster assholes were only in there to get the record out so they could sell it and watch some money. They didn’t believe in a song like I did. So to say that I was coming back later, when the whole hook is my voice and what they didn’t know and I tried to tell them over and over again. That music is mine. I made that music up. You remember a guy called Malcolm McLaren? Are you old enough to remember Malcolm McLaren? Not quite. Maka, McLaren was from the East Coast and he was doing stuff where he was scratching over beads and piecing together different loops of different songs to make a song like there’s a song called buffalo girls, to Buffalo girls go around the outside round the outside. You know it? That’s my clan, that kind of shit. Now in that song, there’s a break where he has this voice goes. Ba ba ba ba ba bop bop bop, bop, bop, bop, bop, bop, bop, bop, bop, bop, bop, bop bop. And may have an HD ad. That locked in my head like to hear more. So, I will be doing that walking around until I turned it into what the baseline of I got 500 is right now and that’s what I hum to those guys who work for Jay King for club nouveau. So the melody that is on why you treat me so bad. And then I got five on it is originally from me. I, I made that melody. So all that stuff had me, you know, feeling like I wasn’t being treated, right?
Warren Shaw 20:28
No, I I’d be tight because the fact of the matter is, is like you got screwed over twice on the same situation. That is, that is an unbelievable, do you still talk to the artist, at least at all in any capacity? Are you still? Yes,
Mike Marshall 20:47
I am. I talked to yuck. I talked to y’all more than I talked to numb. But when the movie came out, I saw that he was sitting next to him. I didn’t realize it was him until after critics walked in front of me as the movie was ending. And we kind of got into it. And then I could see that the person sitting next to me when the lights went up was numb. So yeah, I I’m on good terms with him. But I haven’t talked to them in years. But now, Chris six, I don’t talk to him. I don’t talk to I talk to Tom Capone. But yeah, I’m not really connected to him. But you know, I’m a singer. And that’s a circle of rappers and producers. I really was an outsider from the beginning. And I was in my addiction. So the youngsters looked at me as just a crackhead. Although I didn’t miss any work ever. That wasn’t my thing. But yeah, just the fact that I did. I think they heard about it. And they just, you know, you don’t know somebody if you hear that. That’s what they doing. And you go and judge them. And that’s how you go move with them. So they, they’ve never, ever from the conception of the song had me come and perform that hook to the point where now when a song is being performed, there’s a whole nother thing going on doing a hook on it.
Warren Shaw 22:08
Mike Marshall 22:10
back. And I’m like, people mostly know, my voice from that song. And they might not be able to say any of the rap. But they know that hook.
Warren Shaw 22:22
I can’t I carry on you, Mike. I mean, that’s, that’s that’s, that’s real talk right there. I mean, you should have been to the summit and find out what we’re talking about Mike Marshall, let’s take a quick break. Man, I want to dive into so much more. Quick break. We’ll be right back. And we’re back with r&b Legend Mike Marshall, make sure you’re following him on social media at Mike mi z. I love that social, by the way. So let’s transition a little bit, you know, great stories there on you know, the situation with I got five on it, and so forth and so forth. Where has your musical journey taking you since that time?
Mike Marshall 23:00
Well, after I got five on it, I started, I needed something else to do. And I didn’t want the attention to be on me. I didn’t know that that was the thing that was bothering me. But me being up on stage by myself a lot of anxiety. So I got into a band, because they needed a singer to go on a tour that they had already booked and they lost their lead singer. So I know some people who were in that group, and they’re from Berkeley. So they call me the group is the MO fashion. So they called me and I joined that band and went on tour with them. And after that tour, they invited me to do an album with them. As I was writing with them for the different songs that we did. So we did that project. And right when that project is done, and we’re getting ready to go and promote it. I run into a woman who was from the Bay Area but who had lived in Germany and was back visiting a producer name one drop Scott, Scotty Roberts. And he knew this lady named Laurie. Laurie glory. That’s her stage name. I can’t remember her last name. But she was in Germany, working with a black guy over there who had a studio. And he was working with one of those groups over there. I thought the power he was working with them. So you know, yeah, little attention. So she came to the studio where I was at, and she was telling us about this new song that was over there. That was super popular. And she heard it was from the states and she was trying to get in touch with the people. And you know, he’s ignoring her for about an hour. She kept talking about this. She was like what’s wrong and she starts singing it. And we look at each other because one drop Scott is also the guy who helped play the music on the replay of why each other. I got five on it. So we both laughed. And we like you know, that’s us who did that? Right? And she was like, No way. And I’m like yes, I sang it for she’s like man I can get you work in Germany, they raid both that song it has gone to number one there and they cannot get in touch with the artist. That’s like really. So I looked into it and I went over there to promote that record because the young kids could not get into couldn’t leave the States at that time for whatever reason. So I go over there and I start working for BM BMG. I got a record deal and I’m trying to write songs to to get a single, they don’t accept any of my songs, or write 70 songs. They even hired me to start writing for in sync, and a couple of other groups that were over there on BMG areola, you know, when artists are having success in the States, Germany or London will license the song over there and then they’ll do their own push, the artist gets a portion of the money, but a lot of it’s going to the new country because they doing it. So I was over there. doing that. I saw I left that band, because I got this opportunity. So I went from the fans to over there as a writer trying to be an artist. And then masterpiece find me funny, sent payment for the cover he did thinking about you offline. He has a cover of that he also has a cover of rumors. So when I reached out for his folks he had put aside was ready for me. So I got that money while I was in Germany, so I need to come back to the states to deal with it. But I’m an attic one of the reasons why I was going there is because I can get away from the crap that was here. My naive acid I think that there was drugs in Germany. That’s that’s that’s not true. Drugs everywhere. Over there, and I’m trying to do music, it’s not working, I get that cough. Master P. So I come back. But now you give me that kind of money that science to an attitude. I went through it and then I realized what had happened. Either more difference. So I took a bad turn and I was I was coming out there pretty fast. Um, crack cocaine, or anything like that. Then I ran into a guy who asked me if I wanted to get so he told me about a drug his therapist had given him Cardwell future. So he started sharing his drugs with me. And turns out I was depressed because I started getting so happy I started writing again, started dating again, started working in the field of marriage, and I get married and started working with a guy Andre Nikitina our dream he did my first my second solo album, my career. In 2000 learn first off my day it was 1986 so 2004 I do love lies and life which is a cover which is which is a play on the name for flub noodles was was love my eyes and light bye think. Anyway, I was trying to hurt. Anyway, I did that project with him. It had a couple of songs on there that the producer Nick Reese life that he was going through when I doing the Cassina equip Phil and a bunch of other artists and he’s nervous as we were in high school he friend he’s like Michael, come on tour with me. Now you just got married April trust me about a year with me and I’ll make sure you safe and you stay with and when gets your feedback I get to do 15 years on his backup if seven albums ran into the artist equipped up from San Francisco I still get hired by the people, but he is my partner. Okay, I keep it. So friendships.
Warren Shaw 29:10
So your career is still moving. You’re still making music. Before we let you gotta hear you’re from the bay.
I gotta ask.
Warren Shaw 29:19
Are you a big sports fan? I’ve seen some stuff on the social looks like you might be into the wars a little bit. Talking a little bit about that and your sports fandom before we let you ride out.
Mike Marshall 29:28
Okay, but since I’m from the Bay, it doesn’t make sense for all the teams that are going on with the Raiders designers, the Giants and the sharks and of course Sacramento its northern California team I got here 61 to 65 they want a championship at 72 or 73 and they know how much I lose a bit at the Warriors warriors they all meet us down to realize or the district determines if they win I’m a big fan of all turning around so people Baron Davis son so happy and proud of the words
Warren Shaw 31:11
that’s what a lot I’m happy for you deserve all the greatness and sunshine you can get it wherever you can get it as well. You’ve paid your dues in this game. You continuing to be an inspiration you can still you still got the vocals yeah everyone it better than some of these young cats for sure. So I’m happy for you, Mike, and I’m really proud of so much man. Any last plug before we let you get out of here?
Mike Marshall 31:38
Yes. First thank you Warren and my IG is the mic Leesy th e MIKEMEECY. And then all other things that you need to know about me history music, all the album’s all the links articles and all that stuff is under Michael Marshall. usa.com Check it out.
Warren Shaw 31:59
Yes, sir. That that’s like a Wikipedia I was on that thing. Oh, my God. There’s a lot of great stuff on there, Mike. Sharon, that is all the time we have for today. I want to thank the talented and gracious Mike Marshal Mike niZi for joining us and giving us of his time and we’re just really walking us down memory lane and how the music industry has worked and how was treated him and how he’s overcome and it’s still here and so doing great things. I’m your host Warren Shaw thanks so much for tuning in to dope interviews make sure you rate review subscribe do the whole nine This is now that this has been another dope interview thank you again Mike Marshall and we’ll catch you next time