After teasing fans with his “Imaginary Player” freestyle video last month, North Carolina rapper Mark Steele is back with his full-length album, as promised. Steele lives up to his reputation on It’s Been A Minute, a beautiful 12-song project that explores self-worth, homelessness, religion, and more.
It seems the upcoming rapper was sleeping in his car for at least 6 months at one point. On his song “Big Dreams II” featuring singer Montana, he says not even his own mother knew. “I kept it low, I ain’t even tell my moms/I guess she’ll find out on the day she hear this song/Is it wrong that I spill it in my verses/Living out God’s plan, admitting I was nervous/to, bust out the leash, I had to break my lease on purpose/and find out just because your homeless, you ain’t worthless,” he revealed in a heartbreaking moment over Mary J. Blige vocals. Elsewhere on the album, Steele continues to push himself, teaming up with Clipse rapper No Malice on “Grace Of God” to pay homage to a higher power and reflect on just how much he’s been through. “How we make it here? How we still alive?” he sings on the hook. “How we make it through? How did we survive? How we blessed to see another morning rise? How we still alive? Grace Of God!”
Now, we can also enjoy a “Grace Of God” visual that hilariously puts their acting chops to the test. After getting run over in a previous music video (“Surprise”), Steele travels through a portal to a place where No Malice’s nerdy alter ego is working as a tour guide at the Chrysler Museum of Art.
Steele told Billboard, “There’s usually two type of people in the streets. The person bringing the action, and person caught in the middle of the action. Either way there’s a large number of people from our neighborhoods that don’t survive it all…This song and video represents that story. Starring two survivors that lived to tell it. Only because of God’s Grace.”
As for No Malice’s verse, Steele hit social media to say “The big homie @nomalice757 completely BODIED this!!”—and he’s right. Watch “Grace Of God” up top and be sure to cop or stream the album here. Needless to say, fans are loving it:
“🔥🔥🔥Album is a monster!!” – @reallyfoster
“Concrete Pillow is one of my favorite joints on the album” – @big_o_popamericaent
“New project is 🔥🔥🔥” – @thesinopsis
“Best rap I’ve heard in a long time Lyrics on point!” – Kevin De Champ