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HomeChristian Hip HopFormer Interscope Rapper, Gang Member Marz Shares Christian Testimony

Former Interscope Rapper, Gang Member Marz Shares Christian Testimony

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Zlatko “Marz” Hukic didn’t know if Christians were allowed to rap aggressively.

Chicago gang life engrained aggression into his nature. That passion poured into Marz’s music so fluidly that Geffen/Interscope Records signed him to a contract. After committing to a relationship with Jesus Christ and leaving the label, he battled whether or not to switch his style up to fit stereotypically gentler Christian music.

His hip-hop identity crisis ceased on what began as a typical Sunday at church. A man who Marz never met before greeted him, shook his hand and asked him a question which most people will go their entire life without being asked.

“Man, I hope you don’t mind, but I have the gift of prophecy,” said the stranger. “Can I tell you what God just told me about you?”

Marz cautiously obliged.

“I hope you’re not weird,” he thought.

His wish was granted.

“God told me he picked you because you were aggressive,” said the stranger. “Stop doubting the songs you’re doing and just do them.”

The answer blew Marz’s mind and left him countering with his own questions. The stranger hailed from South Africa. God interrupted his visit to Marz’s church with a vision that lifted a burden off the artist’s shoulders which he bore since he became a Christian.

This officially paved Marz’s path back to the streets.

Gang Affiliated

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Marz went from Gang-banging to signing a lucrative deal with Interscope Records

Raised in Chicago, which Marz referred to as the “the gang Mecca,” he became a member of the gang Blackhawk Park Assassins by 12 years old. Marz told Wade-O Radio every block or couple block radius is claimed by a different gang in much of the city.

In his 20s, he returned to his home in Humboldt Park, Chicago—“One of the worst neighborhoods in the city,” said Marz—from a stint in England with a music production engineer who never seen gangs. The engineer kept starring at people, forcing Marz to warn him that crossing the wrong gang member could put a bullet in him. Marz said where he lived in Humboldt Park, one gang claimed his side of the block and another ran the block across the street.

“Depending on when you came home at night where there was parking,” said Marz. “You could get shot just for parking on the wrong side of the street.”

The engineer asked why there were so many gangs, but Marz couldn’t answer his question. When one is raised in any culture, he or she perceives that culture as a way of life. Marz grew up in gang culture.

His family life helped him embrace this gangland. Marz described his father and uncle as “aggressive” and “dominating.”

“My pops is in his late 60s, early 70s and he will still punch you in the mouth,” said Marz.

The rapper also became familiar with guns at an early age.

“It was nothing as a kid to play with an AK-47 or any number of guns,” he said.

Marz survived gang life in the city now known as the murder capital of the United States. However, escaping the hood for a life in the entertainment industry didn’t put him out of harm’s way.

God Swap

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God used a Crip from Compton to spare Marz’ life.

The first book Marz read was The Satanic Bible. He also practiced witchcraft and voodoo. His worldly religious paths led to worldly desires.

Marz hungered for money, power, status, women, cars and fame. His record deal fed him all of that, but he only became hungrier.

On a stadium tour opening up for Korn, his hunger peaked.

“All my dreams appeared,” said Marz. “They came true, and I was miserable. That was the single most miserable time of my life. I was like, ‘What the … what’s going on? Why do I feel like this?’”

God began to make him long for more in life. He possessed a plan for Marz. That plan involved a relationship that Marz formed on tour which saved his life.

On Insane Clown Posse’s nationwide Bizaar Bizzar Tour in Arizona, Marz befriended a bodyguard. This bodyguard, a Crip from Compton, Calif., doubled as a hit man.

He kept in touch with Marz following the tour. After Marz signed with Geffen/Interscope, he moved to Los Angeles and the bodyguard became one of his closest friends. Marz even received an invitation to his wedding.

What followed the ring of the wedding bells was the ring of the bodyguard’s phone. Someone tried to hire him to kill Marz.

God spared Marz’s life through the friendship. About four years later, God cured the hip-hop artist’s emptiness. Marz swapped Satan for Jesus, surrendering his life to Christ.

 

A tour with Tech N9ne and Paul Wall succeeded his spiritual awakening. The Holy Spirit instantly influenced Marz, making it difficult for him to rap his drug dealing, women degrading-infested lyrics.

“We would be doing songs about how we were dealing,” said Marz. “Even though that’s what was happening at the time, I would get done with the song and be like, ‘Yo, that’s what I used to do. I’m not going to deal no more.’ And my guys are onstage looking at me saying, ‘Dude, what’s going on with you? What are you talking about?’”

When Marz returned from the tour, he began reading the Bible and attending church. Convicted by the teaching, he quit music. The couple of Christian rappers he heard prior made him want no part of such music.

“Lord, please don’t tell me to do that,” prayed Marz. “I’m just going to quit. I give my life to you. Whatever you want me to do, just do not make me do Christian rap.”

A year and a half of learning about God after quitting music, he started writing again. He nearly wrote 70 songs and prepared to select the top 19 for his album “Revelation.” During the writing and selection process, he wrestled with whether or not his lyrical aggression was appropriate for a Christian’s music.

“Some of the songs are kind of bold,” thought Marz. “They’re kind of fierce. I’m really declaring something that’s very ballsy. Is this even Christian music?”

That’s when the South African prophet paid Marz’s church a visit. The artist played “Revelation” for his pastor. The record wasn’t scattered with stereotypical Christian music, but that’s part of the reason why Marz’s pastor approved of it.

“The people who you’re speaking to,” said the pastor, “you need to speak in a language they understand.”

The rest of the church had Marz’s back as well.

“Basically what they said was, ‘You just go,’” said Marz. “’We’re trusting God. And if we see that something is wrong, we’re going to help pull you back.’”

That’s when Marz became a modern-day Moses.

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David Daniels is a Wade-O Radio news editor, Bleacher Report breaking news writer, The Geneva Cabinet campus editor and God Hop founder. He’s currently a Communication major at Geneva College and lives in Pittsburgh. Follow him on Twitter @TheRealDDaniels.

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