Each week, Poor Scholars digs a little bit deeper into the catalog of an infamous “one-hit wonder” by listening to their other “top hits” on Spotify to explore what exactly went wrong. This week, Poor Scholars’ Scott Phillips breaks down the other songs — and legal issues — of Mark Morrison.
“No matter how good I do in this music game, there’s gonna be people out there that always judge me as a criminal,” — Mark Morrison, 2002, for the “I Love 1996” TV documentary.
“Return of the Mack” is an absolute jam; nobody can take this much from English R&B artist Mark Morrison. “Return of the Mack” has opened a new season of Entourage and sent many dance floors — both trendy and seedy — into grinding frenzies. Mark Morrison reached No. 2 on the Billboard (fucking “MMMBop” had to ruin everything…), released a double-platinum album — also titled Return of the Mack — and seemed to be a rising star in the mid-90s.
So what the hell happened to Mark Morrison, you ask?
The man has so many issues it would make DMX proud.
A breakdown of Morrison’s legal issues:
- 1993: Fined 50 pounds by Leicester magistrates for obstructing a police officer.
- 1997: Fined 750 pounds for threatening behavior in April. Convicted for attempting to bring a firearm aboard an airliner for which Morrison served three months just as, Return of the Mack, began rising up the Billboard charts.
- 1998: Morrison failed to appear in court on charges of possessing an offensive weapon, choosing to instead fly to Barbados. Morrison was arrested and remanded into custody upon his return to the United Kingdom.
- Later in 1998: Morrison was incarcerated in Wormwood Scrubs for a year for paying a lookalike to perform his court-appointed community service for him, while Morrison himself went on tour. Morrison said of the community service lookalike fiasco: “It had to be done. I’d made an effort to do those hours. I done like 30 percent of those hours. Then they expect me to go clean up a high school. Alright, go topple the parks in the evening; next day high school kids watch Mark Morrison. They humiliated me.”
- Also in 1998: Morrison was banned from driving for six months and fined £1,380 after twice being caught driving without a licence.
- 2002: Morrison was arrested on suspicion of kidnapping and car theft. Morrison was released on bail but a policemen was later arrested on suspicion of taking a bribe from Morrison in return for his release. Morrison failed to appear in court to face the charges and a warrant was issued for his arrest.
- 2004: Morrison was arrested after a fracas in which his platinum and diamond medallion was stolen.
- 2009: Arrested for an assault charge.
So, in a nutshell, there is your answer: Mark Morrison didn’t release an album between 1996’s Return of the Mack and 2006’s self-released Innocent Man because the dude was always getting arrested. That’s a 10-year layoff!
Return of the Mack isn’t The Chronic, Mark Morrison. People don’t have 10 years to wait for the sequel to a song we only drunkenly remember the chorus of when we’re looking for love at 3 a.m. at Big City Tap. I’m sorry, Mark, but America moved on.
The other “top hit” on Spotify
“Innocent Man” featuring DMX – I earlier referenced DMX’s legal issues — and linked to the legendary “Legal Issues” section of DMX’s Wikipedia page. We WILL have an article on that eventually but I read it aloud to friends at least once or twice a year — as a comparison to Morrison’s own legal woes, but I never expected these two titans of felonious hip-hop to get together on a comeback track!
Even though this song and video are an awful rip-off of the superior “Locked Up” by Akon this song isn’t really that bad — if you can get through DMX’s half-assed guest verse.
I miss you, X.
“Innocent Man” and its’ remixes, are Morrison’s only other “top hits” on Spotify, even though he released other singles in Europe such as “Horny” off of Return of the Mack. It’s really a shame, because if it weren’t for Morrison’s legal woes –including his incredible attempt to hire a lookalike to do his community service — he likely would have released an album a few years after Return of the Mack and hopefully sent everyone scurrying back to the dance floor.
But at least we still have the title track to pump us up late at night when we’re desperate and looking for love.