Photo: Johnny Louis / Contributor via Getty Images and Jason Koerner / Contributor via Getty Images
  /  10.10.2023

As 21 Savage’s DJ for the last five years, Marc B has helped make unforgettable moments, but he rarely lives in them. The FYM talent is always looking toward the next show and opportunity. But, on Drake’s “It’s All A Blur Tour,” he was inspired to live in the moment thanks to his mother and Drizzy.

“Only a few people look like me in the world, and my mom is my twin. I have not seen Drake hug anybody all tour. I think he saw her and realized, ‘Either I know your son, or you look just like somebody I know,’” DJ Marc B told REVOLT.

In this installment of “Tour Tales,” 21 Savage’s longtime disc jockey discussed how deejaying for the Atlanta-based rapper and Druski differs, changing his style on the “It’s All A Blur Tour,” and what’s in store for the future. Read the exclusive chat below. 

How has your onstage chemistry with 21 Savage evolved over the last few years?

Even before 2019, we’ve gone from having a free-for-all onstage, where all the homies were out there with two or three people on the mic, to it being me and him, nobody else on the stage. Then it went from me deejaying to me learning playback. I am learning Ableton, and Savage wants to perform on live tracks without vocals. Deejaying is cool, but anybody who deejays knows it gets to a point where you max yourself out unless you want to start deejaying behind your back or scratching between your legs. In the new generation, if you have a touring artist and he continues to get bigger, eventually he will get to a point where there won’t be so many live things onstage as far as a DJ. Everybody shifts towards playback, so I’m excited to learn it because if I learn it now for Savage, I know there will probably be other artists I can run into and help them with it, too.

What’s the difference between playback and deejaying?

Playback is more like producing and engineering. It wasn’t too far off with me already knowing how to produce and engineer. It’s like learning a new program. The real reason you’d rather go from playback to DJ is because of redundancy. So, if I’m performing in front of 3,000 people and the DJ messes up or the song scratches, it’s likely to be okay in the situation where it’s a smaller crowd. When you’re in front of 10,000 or 20,000, and the song messes up, you can’t just say, “Well, we’re good. Just plug it back in, and we’ll keep it running.” It’s way more attached to those moments, and you don’t want to have a f**k up, period! I have two computers. There’s a press play option that’ll have it run through the whole set. If one computer goes out, the second computer automatically pops back in. That’s why a lot of people use playback instead of deejaying. All of this is really connected, too. Once you start playback, the lights are connected to the computer from which you’re playing the music. The video is connected to the computer you’re playing the music from. When you press play, the video, lights, and everything is queuing. That’s why it’s more important to use playback.

One of the best shows of the year was Savage’s Birthday Bash. Did you know Drake and J. Cole were going to come out?

Yeah, I knew everybody would come out because Savage approved the set, but I made the set. So, I’ll figure out who sounds right here. How can we get him to do a thing with Cardi, and then Cardi brings out Latto? That’s more of a me and Meezy thing. We’ll come up with ideas that he might like and he might mess with. Then, we’ll shift it towards what he likes. I knew everybody who was going to come out. If you actually watch that show, all the artists coming out smoothly was the best thing to me. I didn’t want a part in the show where there’s a 10-minute pause, and J. Cole was supposed to come out but didn’t have his mic.

How did you and Meezy conceptualize 21 Savage’s part on the “It’s All A Blur Tour”?

So many ideas were just pitched between what Savage and what Drake like. I don’t know if Drake came out with the intro. I think he did. Savage said, “I want to come out to some R&B.” The set was more designed towards songs Savage liked and the order he liked. I would’ve made some changes. Once he says, “I like this order,” it’s like, “How do we make his time sound seamless and then make sure it’s a vibe?” I really commend Savage a lot for saying, “No, I don’t want this song; I want to do this song. I want to do this here.” It was fire to me.

Drake hugged your mom on his way to the stage at one show. Did he know it was your mother?

No, but in another way, yes. Only a few people look like me in the world, and my mom is my twin. I have not seen Drake hug anybody all tour. I think he saw her and realized, “Either I know your son, or you look just like somebody I know.” When he saw her at that moment, it was only right that he just leaned in and hugged her.

Performing on a huge cube during the “It’s All A Blur Tour” differs from any other stage design 21 Savage has rapped on. Did that cause any complications?

To be honest, nah. You had to get used to it. I liked how they set it up because by setting you up in the middle of the arena, you take advantage of all the seats you couldn’t get if you had a traditional show. You can circle the whole arena. I don’t know how returning to some traditional stage will feel.

This tour has brought out all of the celebrities. Who have you met?

I like to stay to myself a lot and really let my work speak for itself. But what my mom showed me [by] her hugging Drake is sometimes, you just have to shoot your shot. Regardless of whether it’s a hug, a handshake, or saying what’s up, you must do it. We were just in Miami; I met DJ Khaled. I met Tom Brady; that’s the GOAT. That’s my favorite player of all time. So, I definitely had to get a picture with him. I met Devin Booker and Kevin Durant. All these people are cool, but I’d rather them meet me in a situation where I have my own product. I’m blessed to have met them and shake their hand, and hopefully, God will let me circle back around, meet ’em again, and they’re going to be like, “Oh, I’ve seen you before.”

You and 21 Savage seem to have a close friendship and were seen hitting up one of Usher’s recent shows.

Hell yeah, we were out there. That was cool as hell, man. I can’t wait for him to do the Super Bowl, bro. I really value me and Savage’s relationship. I’m really appreciative to work with anyone from Savage, to Druski, to whoever else wants to allow me to be in their vicinity and help them musically with whatever they have. I’m just super blessed.

You deejayed for Druski when he was on Chris Brown and Lil Baby’s “One Of Them Ones Tour.”

Yeah, I did, and I deejayed for him on his own tour.

What’s the difference between deejaying for a comedian versus 21 Savage?

There are different cue points. It’s more like deejaying the club. You want to get everybody lit. You want to get everybody turnt. But Druski has certain things he goes to during his set that might be musically [oriented]. So, it’s not too much different from the basics of deejaying. But, from what that artist might want to do, it’s completely different. Savage says, “We have 45 minutes, so we’re playing 45 minutes of music.” Druski says, “I got an hour, but we only might hit music in three different points of that show.” I love Druski, man. That’s the homie, bro. I’m blessed for him to give me that opportunity to come on his show. I feel like he’s the most lit comedian out of our era, and he’s going to be even bigger soon.

How has your production evolved?

I don’t send beats out or pitch things because I’m more underground-based. I like working with underground artists and artists who appreciate your opinions. Let me send you some beats. So, I’ve been structuring this new series called “F**k You Mean?” It’s basically a mixtape series surrounded by people I like and people I’m interested in. I produced the whole tape. It’s like a mixtape series but like mini-albums and mini-EPs. Then, I pick the artists I like, and we’re doing the production. Around the end of this year and starting next year, I will start dropping some of those, and then we’ll get on some new vibes.

What do you have coming for the rest of 2023?

We have hella different projects coming up. I’m throwing parties in Atlanta called No Sections. That’s a duo with me and my brother Dos [Dias]. We’re a DJ group, so we’re about to start dropping music with that and doing more parties. We got FYM events, man. So I’m coming up with Engineer Day, Producer Day, DJ Day. The latter is a day where I bring DJ Drama, DJ Scream, or someone else, and then they’ll tell their story in front of dozens of DJs for free. We have some days coming up with that. And then my artist 2Hitz is dropping some music, man. I’m appreciative of them because they just let me start this label. 2Hitz coming with heat. Then, we’re probably going to go on tour again. I’m just super blessed, man.



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