MAGAZINE: Marine veteran writes next chapter of his music story

City College home to music evolution of D’Marcus Andrus

DMarcus Andrus

The debut album of City College student D’Marcus Andrus will drop on March 15. Andrus courtesy photo

Will Mauriz, Multimedia Journalist

CityScene, Spring 2021 coverThis story was featured in the debut edition of CityScene magazine.

The musical origin story of D’Marcus Andrus puts him on the streets of Japan setting up flyers for underground rap shows.

He started hosting rap battles and showcasing himself and fellow Marines pursuing rap after work.

From Japan to Korea, the Philippines to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Andrus let his intuition guide him as he expressed, “your vibe will always find your tribe.” 

Known by the stage name Mark X, Andrus wanted to invest more in his personal growth after his time in the Marines and decided to pursue his passions at San Diego City College.

This was a new chapter for the current president of the San Diego City College Music Club. It was a foundation to build on for Andrus, a Radio, TV and Film major, after his military service, growing from his roots in UMOJA and the hip hop community of San Diego.

“With the strength of community, I was better able to coerce with my counterparts in the movement,” Andrus said.

He also is a mentor in the UMOJA program and wants to help encourage future students to pay it forward.

UMOJA, an extension of community and resources dedicated to enhancing the cultural and educational experiences of African Americans and other students, helped empower Andrus.

Andrus wants to make a lasting impact by setting an example for future music students with opportunities like a musical collaborative open forum hosted by the Music Club.

“It’s been an amazing experience thus far,” Andrus said. 

Originally from Louisiana and a current resident of San Diego, Andrus has found his stride again as a student facing COVID-19, redefining what live music looks like. He is not exclusively a musician, but also an actor and creator.

This former Marine and underground rapper found his voice as a student, which could be heard in live performances on campus hosting Block Party events to now collaborating online in the music club.

D'Marcus Andrus
D’Marcus Andrus is known by the stage name Mark X. D’Marcus Andrus courtesy photo

The club organization story began with a grassroots effort by Andrus and a small group of student artists.

What started with a couple of live performances on campus got the attention of faculty and administrators, who enjoyed the positive promotion of live music at City College.

“Our work was our advertisement,” Andrus said. “I am a fan of ‘if you build it they will come.’” 

This led eventually to a music club, and with the additional guidance of Professor Mike Espar, it has grown with members pursuing careers in commercial music.

“D’Marcus brings great energy and inspiration to the club,” Espar said.

But the climate has changed due to COVID-19. Andrus has regrouped from losing his ability to collaborate and share his own music in-person to connecting again in different ways to continue to make music virtually.

“I want people in the music club to have an open community,” Andrus said, “to make an inclusive place for musicians.”

He plans to pursue his education in acting and music eventually in Los Angeles but calls San Diego home for now.