Hustle translates to any arena. Whether on the field or in the studio, MARJAKIM simultaneously applies pure tenacity, diehard diligence, and endless talent to football and music. The New Jersey-born and raised rapper, singer, artist, and athlete introduces himself as a dynamic force whose energy can’t be contained to one passion. Instead, he emerges as an outlier straight out of the gate. Signed independently to his own label We Neva Done Entertainment, he introduces a scorching and sizzling style of his own in 2022.
“When I’m on the field, every game has to be a breakout moment and my best game,” he notes. “It’s the same when I walk in the booth. It has to always be better than my last song. Sports and music are 100% similar. I work just as hard at rapping as I do football. I work out, come home, eat, sit down, and do music all night. This is my life.”
Born Amar Gist, he grew up surrounded by music. He not only witnessed his uncle KayGee of GRAMMY® Award-winning hip-hop juggernaut Naughty By Nature on stage and in the studio, but he also attended music video shoots for Jaheim (who his dad James “Pookie” Gist managed)from the stroller. Music was truly embedded in his identity before birth, and he naturally absorbed it. Listening to everyone from Lil Wayne to Juice WRLD, he initially devoted most of his time to football. He excelled as a slot receiver and found himself on track for an eventual Division I college career. One day, a friend encouraged him to jump on a beat, and Amar unlocked his voice, coming full circle and accepting his creative destiny. His family caught wind of his talent and got behind him with his father Pookie, brother Asante’ Gist, and KayGee, among the producers.
He carefully cultivated a signature sound, choosing the name MARJAKIM in reference to his nickname “Mar” and his middle name “JAKIM”—comprised of the first two letters of his dad’s first name “James” and his mom’s first name “Kimberly.”
“Those beats from back in the day talk to your soul and make you feel good, so I’m mixing those with what’s going on now,” he continues. “I switch it up and rap too. I can go hard, or I can sing for you. It’s versatile.”
“Like That” showcases his dynamic range. His vocals float over a sparse bass thump, echoing on the chorus.
“It shows appreciation to the all-natural girls who take the time to go to the gym,” he smiles. “That’s a mindset I’d like a girl I’m dealing with to have. She’s willing to go to the gym and not just take the easier route for her body. If girls choose to enhance their beauty in different ways, I’m supportive of that too!”
The first official single “Party In The Hills” showcases his instinctual knack for a melody. He volleys back and forth between smooth delivery and an instantly unshakable hook. It might just be the ultimate party anthem of 2022.
Produced by KayGee, “Lit” illuminates his versatility. He leans into an energetic verse with confessional rhymes delivered in a woozy harmonic cadence and melodic sound. It culminates on a punchy and powerful refrain punctuated by his high register.
“Basically, I was fighting everything I was going through in my everyday life,” he reveals. “It was a little bit of adversity as far as sports and politics go. I lost my grandfather around the same time. So, the song was therapeutic for me. I let out my feelings on the mic, but it’s got an uplifting vibe. You can still dance to it.”
In the end, MARJAKIM asserts himself as a champion through and through.
“I was told I couldn’t do both music and football, but I’m my own individual,” he leaves off. “When you listen to me, my message is, ‘Start your own trends and be yourself’. If you want to do something, do it. Don’t be shy. Be yourself, believe in yourself, and don’t be afraid to take chances. Just do it all.”