The Winners Circle is a rap duo consisting of Starks, who hails from Massillon, Oh, and Marcus Eugene (also known as Biz) who grew up in Johnstown, Pa. Although they didn’t begin making music together until 2011, the 2 were originally introduced by mutual friend in 2009, when the idea was first proposed to do a joint mixtape for a clothing boutique. With both being from blue collar cities and being superb athletes (Starks a Division 1 football player, and Marcus a Pro basketball player), the chemistry rang through the music and the Winners Circle was born.
Starks was named after the county in which he grew up in (Stark County) in Massillon, Oh. He first began recording music in middle school, where onlookers and listeners were usually left thoroughly impressed by the youngin’s advanced delivery and wit. While rapping may have been Starks’ strongest passion, it seemed he was poised to take a different route to stardom, as a football player. Starks went on to become a HS football star at Massillon HS, one of the most storied HS football programs in the nation. His successes on the field earned him a full scholarship to play Division 1 football at the University of Toledo, where he was a starting safety as a true freshman. As time went on he grew weary of the sport he once loved, coupled with having to balance life back home and school he decided to walk away from the game and pursue his first love of making music. He moved back to Massillon and recorded and released his 1st mixtape “Iron Man” and follow up mixtape “The Winners Circle” (where the group name was derived) , which got the approval and attention of the music fans all across his hometown, including MMG recording artist Stalley, who would later recruit the duo to join his “Blue Collar Gang” movement. Starks uses his unique voice and delivery to tell stories and give the perspective of people faced with the obstacles of coming out of a town like Massillon.
“I’m just trying to give my city and cities like mine a voice. It aint no easier out here than it is in a big city, I’m a witness to that. Naw scratch that, I lived that. Everybody got they own grind or they own hustle. I don’t care if it’s a 9 to 5 or you in the streets, you gon’ be faced with setbacks and obstacles like everybody else, hopefully my music help em’ push through that.” -Starks
Marcus Eugene (aka Biz) was born and raised in Johnstown, Pa, a blue collar town 50 miles outside of Pittsburgh and home of the biggest US natural disaster next to Hurricane Katrina. ME first started recording verses in high school as a hobby with friends. He grew up artistic and would use his creativity in art and music to clear his mind. The flood city native’s first love is the game of basketball. Standing at 6’6 inches tall Marcus was a city star since the day he began to play. He went on to play at a Division 2 college where he left as the schools 4th all-time leading scorer and an associated press All-American. On top of music he still plays professionally in Europe in places like Luxembourg, England, and most recently France. ME started recording solo projects after his first season overseas. He released 2 mixtapes “Been Nice” and “Ruff Draft” and found he had a knack for wordplay and storytelling. An attribute that legendary producer/rapper DJ Hi-Tek was immediately drawn to and now also acts as a mentor to the group. Reluctant at first to embrace his love and talent for music, Marcus’ motivating factor was the city in which he learned his way.
“I grew up in the projects in a dying city…that’s a hard situation to come from. We’re missing a lot back home, but number one thing we missing is HOPE. I’m trying to help give some of that back. Show the kids it’s possible. I already captured one dream, and this music next in line.” – M.E.
Their debut project, titled “Winners Circle” is set to release late May exclusively through datpiff.com, with appearances set by Stalley, Nipsey Hussle, Rockie Fresh, Curren$y, BJ the Chicago Kid, Kendrick Lamar, Boldy James, Mally the Martian of Street Fam, J Beale, and is hosted by non-other than hip hop legend, DJ Hi-Tek.