VALIDATED: Growing up, what kind of music was played in your household?

LEON MARIN: During the duration of my childhood and adolescence, my mother and family would play a barrage of Reggaeton, Old School Music, & Pop Music. It was through my siblings and peers in school that I heard Hip Hop Music, Reggae, and other genres besides the music I had already heard through family.

VALIDATED: Tell us about your neighborhood growing up and how it influence you?

LEON MARIN: Growing up was very tough for me. I was harshly bullied, my father and great grandmother passed away, my mother had to raise me by herself which I consider nothing short of absolutely amazing. My neighborhood was extremely violent at the time and completely devoted to different factions. Often times you would witness arguments, fights, and gun shots we'd hear from our windows. It influenced me to work harder because I no longer wanted my mother, and myself to live in these conditions. However, it wasn't all bad. I've met some great people along the way that have kept me on track to becoming a good man and an even better human being.

VALIDATED: Name the hip-hop artists that have influenced your flow?

LEON MARIN: Eminem definitely helped me understand syllable rhyming, rapid flowing, bar structure, and being yourself on records. Jay Z helped me to understand flowing, being patient with an idea, and constructing more ideas from one idea. Nas influenced my story telling, lyrical ability, style on music, and wordplay. I can't possibly name everyone because there are so many. But those are three to begin with.

VALIDATE: What can fans expect from your latest/upcoming project?

LEON MARIN: My latest two projects are extended plays with 5 tracks each called "Transition" & "No Formalities". Both have tons of story telling, witty lines, amplified emotions, and more. My latest project, "Lucid Dreams" will be releasing on Sunday, September 30th. On that day, people can go to any service provider they'd like and download it.

VALIDATED: Where are you from and what's the story behind your rap name?

LEON MARIN: I'm from Brooklyn, N.Y. and the story behind my rap name is that I wanted to be authentic towards my life, my brand, and who I really am. My rap name is actually my name.

VALIDATED: With the recent passing of hiphop greats like Sean Price and Prodigy what are your thoughts on their impact on the culture with albums like "The Infamous" and "Nocturnal"?

LEON MARIN: To be honest, I never really gave Sean Price's music a listen. I absolutely have to do that soon. I wasn't the biggest Mobb Deep fan either but I knew the hits. I'm definitely willing to expand my music catalogue. God bless them.

VALIDATED: Can you recall the moment you fell in love with hip-hop and what inspired you to pursue it professionally?

LEON MARIN: The moment I fell in love with Hip Hop was when I started hearing Tupac Shakur's catalogue of music. The raw emotion, the stories, the passion was amazing. I started pursuing it professionally at age 17.

VALIDATED: What's your earliest memory of hip-hop, the culture?

LEON MARIN: My earliest memory of Hip Hop is sitting in my sister's boyfriend car when I was a child and hearing Biggie Smalls song, "Juicy" and seeing how crazy everyone was going in good way repeating the lyrics.

VALIDATED: Name your top 5 most slept on indie Brooklyn rappers. 

LEON MARIN: My top 5 most slept on indie Brooklyn artists are Life Breeze, Philmoore Rich, Roy-Al, Ty Cuff, and Bakeman Global.

VALIDATED: How did the Jimmy Fallon opportunity come about and what was the experience like?

LEON MARIN: The Jimmy Fallon opportunity came about through my sister. I would often go to her job as a child growing into an adolescent just to hang out with her at work. I told her that I wanted to rap and she would make me freestyle rap about items on her desks, paper work, candy, etc. One day, she told me that her boss' son was in The Roots band and she was interested in hearing some music. Long story short, she gave my music to The Roots and they had a segment on Jimmy Fallon called "Ready, Set, Flow" where contestants have to freestyle rap about three words of the shows choosing live on the show. She recommended me, and the rest is history.

vALIDATED: HOW DIFFICULT IS IT TO CREATE YOUR OWN lane while trying to stay true to you and your brand of hip-hip?

LEON MARIN: It's not difficult because there's only one YOU. What makes it difficult is when you try to be someone else. But creating my own lane and staying true isn't difficult for me.

VALIDATED: Tell us about other ventures you're currently working on. 

LEON MARIN: I'm currently working on more music, doing more shows outside of New York, and creating merchandise for my brand.

VALIDATED: Where can the fans support you and your music online and social media?

LEON MARIN: Fans can gO to www.LeonMarinIsHipHop.com and all music, visuals, social media, etc., are there.

Troy Hendrickson