April 14, 2016
While the term celebrity has been redefined to include multiple genres in pop culture, the first decade of the new millennium has brought recognition to a star that always existed among the constellations but now has finally begun to shine, the DJ. In 1991, Marshall Thomas relocated to Atlanta, Georgia from Springfield, Massachusetts with a determination to take full advantage of being in the nucleus of the Historically Black College. As a student at Clark University, Thomas’s entrepreneurial education in combination with his passion for music gave birth to DJ Mars.
Mars transformed a hobby into a craft by spinning in the school cafeteria for $75.00 a week, a fee he admits splitting with colleagues DJ Doc and DJ Trauma. From this small partnership the World Famous Superfriends Organization had emerged. Single handedly, the Superfriends reconstructed the business of being DJs by marketing themselves as an interchangeable unit that would lend credibility to any party scene. As time passed, the numbers, strength and authority of the WFSF grew to become the largest organization of DJs in the South East region of the United States.
After studying the style and tradition of the greats DJ Mars perfected his occupation and his career began to soar. An up and coming rap group simply known to the world as Outkast tapped DJ Mars to be their original tour DJ. After gaining recognition within the ranks of LaFace Records in Atlanta, he quickly signed on to tour with Usher. Since that time he has been the tour DJ for artists such as Monica, Kelis, Ne-Yo, Ciara, and Keri Hilson. Mars also finds time to pen a column for Vibe Magazine and doing what he does best keeping the floors packed with people dancing. “The pinnacle of my career for me was controlling a crowd of 300,000 disorderly people in the UK at the V Festival and transforming disorder into a party with my skills. At that point I knew I had it!”. Instead of merely playing remixes, the Superfriends President has done a few of his own. Including a re-edit of the Dj Chuckie hit "Let the Bass Kick". This time Dj Mars brought along longtime friend and super producer Jermaine Dupri to add a little hype to the record.
In 2014, DJ Mars was proud to deliver "The Art Behind The Tape" Book. The first book dedicated to the Mixtape Culture. It is a collection of interviews and artwork compiled by DJ Mars and #theartbehindthetape Team- Bril Ndiaye, Maurice Garland, and Tai Saint Louis. “At its core hip hop is all about independence and self expression. I feel it is my duty as a card carrying member of the hip hop community to tell this story the right way!”
Marshall "DJ Mars" Thomas
Celebrity DJ, Entrepreneur, and Co-Author
5:30pm - 7:30pm
Innovation Showcase - Trep Talks