Reservoir strikes deal for stake in catalog of hip-hop producer Marley Marl


New York-based Reservoir Media has struck a deal for a stake in the publishing catalog of multi-Platinum hip-hop producer Marlon Williams, professionally known as Marley Marl.

The deal includes the 2x-Platinum album Mama Said Knock You Out and its Grammy-winning title track performed by LL Cool J.

Williams has worked with hip-hop icons like MC Shan, Biz Markie, LL Cool J, and Fat Joe, among others.

His biggest commercial success came in 1990 when he co-produced LL Cool J’s fourth album, Mama Said Knock You Out, which features the single of the same name.

The Platinum-certified title track, Mama Said Knock You Out, reached No.17 on the Hot 100 and won the Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance in 1991.

Born and raised in Queens, New York, Williams first became interested in music through local talent shows and neighborhood parties before becoming a DJ.

From there, he partnered with Tyrone Williams to co-found Cold Chillin’, a label which went on to release music by members of the Juice Crew, which included MC Shan, Biz Markie, and Big Daddy Kane, among others.

In 1984, Williams produced Roxanne Shanté’s Roxanne’s Revenge, released in response to hip-hop trio U.T.F.O.’s Roxanne, Roxanne.

Following the success of Roxanne’s Revenge, Williams produced The Bridge by MC Shan.

Williams later had the opportunity to collaborate with Eric B. and Rakim on their debut single Eric B. Is President, as well as full-length albums by Heavy D & the Boyz, including works across Platinum-selling Nuttin’ But Love, Peaceful Journey, and Big Tyme.

He also worked on TLC’s 4x-Platinum-selling 1992 debut, OOOOOOOHHH… ON THE TLC TIP, and continued collaborating with artists Rakim, Capone-N-Noreaga, and Fat Joe into the late 1990s.

“I am so happy they’re going to be the new home for my catalog.”

Marlon Williams

On the deal, Williams said: “I’m so excited to be partnering with Reservoir. Faith Newman and I go back for decades, and I know she and the team truly care about my music.

“I am so happy they’re going to be the new home for my catalog.”

“He has been shaping hip-hop music since its beginning, and we are proud to support all his impressive contributions to the genre.”

Faith Newman, Reservoir

Faith Newman, Reservoir Executive Vice President of A&R and Catalog Development, said:  “We’re honored to represent Marley’s catalog.

“He has been shaping hip-hop music since its beginning, and we are proud to support all his impressive contributions to the genre.”

“Working with Marley is a great opportunity to deliver on that goal by extending the reach of his classic hip-hop tracks and helping to deepen their value.”

Rell Lafargue, Reservoir

Rell Lafargue, Reservoir President and Chief Operating Officer, said: “One of Reservoir’s consistent key strategies is expanding our catalog of evergreen hits.

“Working with Marley is a great opportunity to deliver on that goal by extending the reach of his classic hip-hop tracks and helping to deepen their value.”


Today’s news marks the latest catalog deal for Reservoir, and also follows the company’s publication last week of the financial results for its fiscal Q4 2021 (calendar Q1 2022) and FY fiscal 2022, ended March 31, 2022.

Within those results, Reservoir disclosed that it deployed over $224 million in capital across 110 deals during its first year as a public company, of which 87% were focused on catalog acquisitions. (Reservoir floated on the NASDAQ via a merger with a Special Purpose Acquisition Company in July 2021.)

That $224 million deployed by Reservoir during its fiscal 2022 was a larger deployment of capital than the company’s initial deal-related annual spend goal of $200 million.

In a comment made alongside the firm’s financial results, Reservoir founder and CEO, Golnar Khosrowshahi, stated that the firm’s upcoming pipeline of potential deals “remains robust”.

Khosrowshahi also noted that her company expects to “deploy over $100 million in new capital in fiscal 2023 that will help us broaden and further diversify our portfolio”.

Reservoir’s total revenues (including recorded music and publishing) in fiscal 2022 grew34% to $107.8 million, versus $80.2 million in fiscal 2021.Music Business Worldwide



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