Local Artist Spotlight: Marley The Messenger


Marley The Messenger has something to say, will you listen?

In September 2023, Marley became the Teen Music Maker monthly series instructor at the Tower Road Branch. Teaching wasn't his intended career path, but it has become his call to action. You might have previously caught him leading workshops at Guitar Center”, MCing hundreds of local events, or performing in his natural element on a stage.


Growing up, the High Springs Branch was his hangout spot for wandering around the stacks and exploring the catalog. Marley started writing poetry in middle school, and in 9th grade was introduced by a friend to Hip Hop culture. He'd been listening to the voice of Hip Hop through rap music before realizing that "Hip Hop is something you live...within Hip Hop culture, rap is just one of its many practices. There is also break dancing, graffiti art, Djing, and many other elements, and expressions of this beautiful culture."

In his early years, Marley used the stage name "The Messenger" and tried to impart the right things people needed- until he realized that he felt like his expectations were limiting him to the point that "The Messenger" and Marley Montano felt like two separate entities. In redefining himself as "Marley The Messenger," the human being and the artist seemed to merge together in a new way that he describes as a better representation of all that he is both as a professional, and as a person.

Marley performing live

As a performer, freestyle is one of his favorite art forms- "It’s a spiritual experience that can both show you, and transport you to another dimension. For me personally, it’s a meditative and therapeutic activity." The voice itself is an instrument that can impart deeper emotions and impact in both simple lines or in elaborate poetry with music. For Marley The Messenger, Hip Hop has called to him as a "voice for the voiceless with important political and social messages." 

KRS One ("knowledge rains supreme over nearly everyone") has been one of his longtime musical inspirations, and someone who he's had the opportunity to open for and freestyle with. Marley also performed for years as a duo with DJ Robzilla, a local beatbox professor, and they incorporated freestyle and a DJing lesson into their live show. 

Worth Doing Right Song Cover

One thing Marley noticed quickly as a performer is that people responded to his honesty and authenticity. Although much of his work is spontaneous, he is intentional in including topics worth talking about in his flows. His song "Worth Doing Right" was inspired by his grandfather and his advice to consider what in life is worth putting energy into. For Marley The Messenger, our local music scene is a community that is benefiting from a lot of talent and love. He commended organizations MusicGNV and Upbeat GNV for the support they provide for the local music community and expressed hope for continued growth and investment.

For teens interested in learning about music from Marley The Messenger, join us monthly for our Teen Music Maker programs. No experience is needed, and laptops with Ableton music-making software are provided for recording and creation. Headphones are recommended, and limited USBs storage drives are provided free for those wanting to save their work.

View all program dates for Teen Music Maker through our event calendar.

Learn more about Marley The Messenger on his website.

Thanks to community partner MusicGNV for connecting the Alachua County Library District to local artists for this blog series! Read past editions here about Sky Luca$MADWOMANIsrael Jones, Jernie and Purple Kloud.

Photos used with permission by the artist.

Check out these recommendations from Marley The Messenger:

The Creative Act: A Way of Being

Rick Rubin

From the legendary music producer, a savant at helping people connect with the wellsprings of their creativity, comes a beautifully crafted book, many years in the making, that offers that same deep wisdom to all of us. 

"I set out to write a book about what to do to make a great work of art. Instead, it revealed itself to be a book on how to be." -Rick Rubin 

Many famed music producers, however brilliant, become known for a particular sound that has its day and then ages out. Rick Rubin, on the other hand, is most famous for something else: for creating a strong safe space where artists of wildly different genres and traditions can home in on who they really are and what they really offer. To surprise themselves, and thus the world. Rubin's true art is for helping people get out of their own way and commune with the powerful creative signal that is their birthright. Over the years, Rubin has thought deeply about where creativity comes from and where it doesn't, about what it takes to strike a deep nerve within ourselves. Perhaps above all, he has learned that being an artist isn't about your specific output, it's a relationship to the world. Creativity has a space in everyone's life, and everyone has the opportunity to make that space stronger. Indeed, it may be our most important responsibility. More than five years in the making, The Creative Act is a series of meditations that illuminate the path of the artist as a road we all can follow. It is a beautifully generous offering of the wisdom gleaned from a lifetime's work spent in the service of exhilaration and transcendence, distilled into a timeless classic that puts those feelings within closer reach for all of us.

Access the e-book and audiobook through our digital collection.

Music is History


Music Is History combines Questlove’s deep musical expertise with his curiosity about history, examining America over the past fifty years.

Focusing on the years 1971 to the present, Questlove finds the hidden connections in the American tapes- try, whether investigating how the blaxploitation era reshaped Black identity or considering the way disco took an assembly-line approach to Black genius. And these critical inquiries are complemented by his own memories as a music fan, and the way his appetite for pop culture taught him about America.

A history of the last half-century and an intimate conversation with one of music’s most influential and original voices, Music Is History is a singular look at contemporary America.

Access the e-book and audiobook through our digital collection.

The very best of KRS-One


I'm still #1 (5:08) -- Jack of spades (4:47) -- Sound of da police (4:16) -- You must learn (live from Caucus Mountains remix) (extended remix) (5:29) -- Outta here (4:29) -- Love's gonna get 'cha (Material love) (6:37) -- Black cop (2:59) -- Duck down (3:45) -- Ya know the rules (3:49) -- We in there (3:29) -- Rappers R.N. Dainja (4:03) -- Step into a world (Rapture's delight) (4:50) -- MC's act like they don't know (4:41) -- My philosophy (5:37).


Here are some of the world's best DJs, those famous for solo scratching, competing in international DJ battles, playing for rap artists, or just rocking parties with the most insane records ever dug up. Check out dynamic performances and interviews with DJs Qbert, Z-Trip, Mix Master Mike (of the Beastie Boys), Rob Swift and the X-ecutioners, Cut Chemist & NuMark (of Jurassic 5), DJ Craze, DJ Shadow, The Bullet Proof Space Travelers, Babu (of Dilated Peoples), KF Krush, DJ Premier (Gang Starr), and others, along with "old-school" innovators like Afrika Bambaataa and Grand Wizard Theodore.

Documentary, 92 min

By Sofia on December 13, 2023