Philly’s Mars Parker came on our radar relatively recently, back when he opened for Camp Candle at Boot And Saddle in October. But in the grander scheme of things, we’re a little late to the party — Mars has been active in the Soundcloud zone for a few years now, releasing singles, EPs and full-length mixtapes that explore a variety of sounds and approaches to this thing we call hip-hop.
His latest, Mars Museum 3, finds its focus in a surrealistic tapestry of tripped-out jazzy production and warm melodies that strike a the balance between bars that spit and bars that sing. It’s a comfortable flex zone inhabited by luminaries like the Grammy champ Chance the Rapper, party rocker Future, and local celeb PnB Rock. Mars has the style and charisma to sit alongside those names in due time, and he showed his skills off for us in this week’s Key Studio Session.
The three-song set finds him backed by the three-piece studio outfit Blood Brothers Music Production, who provides deep synthesizer tones and raucous beats, as well as vocalist ALEANA, who lends a stunning, introspective counterpoint to Mars’ verses.
Watch video of the slow jam “Selfworth” and the danceable rager “Little Red Corvette” (not the Prince song, just a nod to its title) via the VuHaus players below, and listen to the entire set care of Soundcloud. A free download of Mars Parker’s Key Studio Session can be found here, and you can catch him live this Sunday, February 19th at Underground Arts with Chill Moody and Voss; tickets and more information on the show are available at the XPN Concert Calendar.