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MARLEY MARL (Buy CDs by this artist)
In Control Volume 1 (Cold Chillin'/Warner Bros.) 1988
In Control Volume II: For Your Steering Pleasure (Cold Chillin'/Warner Bros.) 1991

Old school rap producer Marley Marl (also, for a while, a New York radio DJ) was an early studio powerhouse, making solidly entertaining records with Heavy D., Biz Markie, Big Daddy Kane, Roxanne Shanté and others. As would later become commonplace for mixmasters, he put his own name (but not his voice) on a couple of albums. Volume 1 is a collection of collaborations with various MCs, including all of the above-named, as well as M.C. Shan, Master Ace and others. The album's diversity is to its credit, but Marl gives too much play to second-string rhymers, leaving the LP's few highlights (such as the Biz twigging Barry Manilow in "We Write the Songs" and Shanté playing cute word games in "Wack Itt") adrift on a sea of verbal boreplay.

[Ira Robbins]