Naming himself after the infamous don of the Dixie Mafia, Carlos Marcelo, this young rapper from the Dirty South paid his dues in the underground scene before hooking up with Master P's No Limit empire. His autonomy with the tight-knit No Limit camp differentiates Mr. Marcelo from the countless other Southern rappers that were acquired by the label's swelling stable of artists. Rather than being an official No Limit Soldier, Marcelo remains true to his own label, Tuff Guys, but enjoys the mass distribution and promotion that comes from an affiliation with No Limit and its parent label, Priority. As a result of this partnership with Master P's label, Marcelo's Brick Livin was released on No Limit.
Though still young, Marcelo wasn't new to the rap game when Master P sent him to the studio to record Brick Livin. He had originally released an underground record with one of the pioneering Southern bounce producers Devious D, titled P' Poppa. Following the local success of this record, Marcelo left for New York and performed some shows at the Apollo before eventually returning to the South just as the area began to become a hotbed for up-and-coming rap labels such as No Limit, Cash Money, and Suave House. Like almost every other ambitious rapper in the South at this time, Marcelo quickly started his own label with his business partner, Doe Doe, and released the first Tuff Guys compilation independently.
Eventually, this record fell into the hands of Master P, who liked what he heard and signed Marcelo to No Limit. One must keep in mind that this took place around the same time that No Limit began to struggle in the face of immense competition from other labels such as Cash Money that were eclipsing the one unprecedented success of Master P's label. This mutually beneficial collaboration between the two resulted in Brick Livin, an album that once again drew attention towards No Limit. The album brought together Marcelo's Tuff Guys camp with some of the No Limit camp along with some of the South's best producers, resulting in a fresh update of traditional Southern rap motifs. ~ Jason Birchmeier