Amani Marshall Earns Senior Spotlight

Montclair High School senior Amani Marshall records podcasts focusing on the geographical influences of rap music for his four-week internship.

Amani Marshall hopes to represent a new kind of music history with his Podcasts.


amani marshall
Photo courtesy of Gabe Friedin.

When it comes to rap music, Amani Marshall is your guy. The Montclair High School senior has been a part of rap music and rap culture for years now, and there are few his age with a more expansive knowledge on the subject. The Career Internship Program at Montclair High has allowed Marshall to use his passion to record his own podcasts, using the software Audacity to make it happen throughout the four-week period of the program.

What makes Amani Marshall’s podcasts unique is his mindset. His comments in between songs are not simply stating the name of the song and the artist. They have a focus, one that Marshall defines as “thinking about where the music is from, what is happening in those places and how it influences the sound and lyrics.” Prior to the recording, he creates a playlist from his voluminous music library to give himself an idea of the geography. He will then play the songs and record it similar to a radio show, speaking his mind on the aforementioned criteria into a microphone in between each song. This way of looking at the music is essentially a music history lesson, with Marshall’s opinions and ideas mixing in with the facts.

At Montclair High School, Amani Marshall was an important member of the Center for Social Justice, a small learning community within Montclair High School with a strong emphasis on the impact of social movements on history, humanities, literature and the arts. Being a part of this community has an effect on his style of commentary for his podcasts; much of the rap music Marshall plays were social movements in their own ways. The albums were cries for help. Each song individually expresses the immense struggles of living in the middle of poverty, drug dealing, and gang violence throughout the country. Marshall says the music was a way out. Coming from areas such as New York, Atlanta and Chicago, the artists shaped their own styles that became trademark sounds of their cities. These styles are what Marshall focuses on during his podcasts.

These podcasts are currently being posted on Soundcloud, but Marshall hopes to find a way to put them on iTunes.

This fall, Amani Marshall will be attending Occidental College in Los Angeles. Although he is not planning on majoring in anything music related, he is excited at becoming a part of the music scene at school. “At Occidental they have a radio station that is open for students to sign-up for,” said Marshall. “I want to try and do that as a continuation of what I am doing now.”

The Montclair Dispatch is proud to have supported the Montclair High School Senior Option Program for the past 3 years. You can learn more about the four 2016 Senior Option students by reading their article here.

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