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Hip-hop musician/rapper, Martell Webster, has a lot on his mind and for his first single for London Tone Music and the last one of their 52x52 campaign, he releases his rage at celebrity tabloid culture and what he sees as the relentless slamming of talent and how, more often than not, stories are simply made up to boost sales. It’s way too mean-spirited for Martell, who remembers what inspired the track, Exposed. “It all started as I was listening to a beat my producer, Charles Hopper, sent me. While listening, I picked up one of my wife's People magazines and there was an article about Amanda Bynes. I was like, ‘Man, this shit is crazy’ and wondered how true the story actually was. That's what inspired the song. We can't allow others to determine our realities. I've been a victim of that and I had to work my ass off to change the perception. “
Martell feels fortunate because he grew up around music. It was everywhere. He recalls, “Music has been in my life ever since I moved to my Grandmother’s house when I was four. Her son played the electric guitar and had jam sessions at his house next door, so I would go over there and watch and play for hours. My Aunties would bring vinyl over and I would hear nothing but soul music all day. Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, The Stylistics, Al Green, Smokey Robinson. I loved it man. Hip hop got introduced to me through an older cousin: Kris Kross, Jay Z, Scarface, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, Tech N9ne, Nas, Mac Dre, E-40, Tupac and Biggie. Straight hardcore shit, but it was part of my upbringing, so it didn't really faze me.“
Growing up in Seattle during the 90s, Martell was also influenced by that scene as well. “Seattle definitely had its roots with Jimi Hendrix, Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden and I still listen to them today. That music is the soul of Seattle. Jeff Ament (Pearl Jam, Mother Love Bone) is a good friend of mine. I was completely blown away when I found out that he was a fan and had followed my career. He’s a great dude and a freak athlete as well!"
It takes one to know one. The career that his friend, Jeff Ament, has been following is Martell’s professional basketball career. He’s a well-respected 6’7’ swingman currently with the Washington Wizards of the NBA. Drafted right out of high school, Martell has also played for The Portland Trailblazers and The Minnesota Timberwolves.
As far as his hip-hop career is concerned, Martell gives high praise to producer Charles Hopper for inspiring him to make music. “ I've known Charles for 10 years. He taught me how to work with Pro Tools and build instrumentation in it. He also taught me how to make beats with the Motif Keyboard I was using at the time. I never knew how much fun making music was until I was introduced to Charles.”
When they were ready to go into the studio to record, Charles introduced him to producer/engineer, Geoff Ott at London Bridge Studio. “Geoff is a great guy and a blast to work with,“ Martell says, adding, “We completely lost track of time because we were having so much fun.“