This morning on Twitter, the Godfather of Grime, Wiley, took a hiatus from mentioning how Dizzee Rascal is holding the Grime scene back by refusing to collaborate with him to drop some advice to one third of Marvell, Double S. Consequently Wiley and I went on to debate whether Double should go Solo or not. Unfortunately 140 characters just isn’t enough to argue a point, for either of us, so this blog post will look into both sides of the argument. Whilst writing this introduction, I received the following tweet:
Hopefully Wiley will read this whole blog post and acknowledge that this is very much up for debate.
This tweet is what started this whole debate off. Let’s clear up any confusion though, Wiley isn’t telling Double to leave Marvell. He’s simply advising that he focuses more on solo work. I am assuming Wiley already knew Double S has some solo mixtapes already, and isn’t telling him to start going solo when he already has.
Of all people I would never have expected Wiley to conform what is the “in ting”. This is a man who brought us the ‘Grime’ genre with “Eskimo” in a time when British rappers were a laughing stock. So for him to suggest Double S conforms to what the “in ting in the UK” is, is slightly hypocritical, although his heart is in the right place. Perhaps Wiley is speaking from experience with Roll Deep, although they had a little stint of success with “Green Light” and “Good Times”, and thinks because his own group never maintained their success, nobody else could either.
There is one group out right now who are achieving some success. Krept & Konan at one point had more YouTube views on their “Otis” remix than The Throne’s original. They are maintaining coverage on all of Britain’s major blogsites and in a recent interview between Marvell and I, the trio named Krept & Konan in their top 5 UK artists to look out for. An opinion many artists and fans alike seem to share. So if Krept & Konan can achieve this level of success and appear odds on favourites to become a major part of the music industry in the future, why can’t Marvell?
I completely respect Wiley and anyone else who names Double S as their favourite member of Marvell. There is a reason why they call him the “Flow Farda”. However, to call someone the best in a group, a song, or anything then maybe you’re misunderstanding the difference between favourite and best. All three members of Marvell are brilliant artists. Personally my favourite is Shocka, because I am a fan of his punchlines. Vertex also has his fans who believe he is the best and therefore call him their favourite, and lets face it, without his videos, Marvell might not even be here today.
Each member of Marvell could go solo, and arguably acquire more instant success than they would focusing on Marvell. The problem is that it isn’t a definite, and Double, Shocka and V have all become brothers to one another. Their loyalty would mean that even if one member was unanimously heralded as the greatest of the group, it would take something major to split them up. Even major records deals have failed:
If any one member turned their focus to solo efforts then they would lose one thing that sets Marvell apart from anything else. Chemistry. If you listen to any Marvell track, but particularly “G.R.E.A.T.N.E.S.S”, the trio bounce off one another and sound superb. Most importantly however, I believe the fun of being in a group would not feature in any solo career. Although one could argue that it is purely for the camera, looking at their videos the happiness seems genuine to me. Why fix something that isn’t broken?
On the other hand if you take a look at my interview with Marvell after the release of the “Greatness” EP; I asked them “Has the fact you’ve been on the brink of mainstream
success for so long without fully making it frustrate you?”. Their response was diplomatic in which they insisted “God’s time is the best time”. What if however they live their artistic career on the brink of success without ever making it and slowly fade away? Although I deem it unlikely, it is a definite possibility.
After years of creating music accessible to the masses, the Marvell_music account is yet to be verified by Twitter and they have only 18K followers (Double S, the only member with his own account on Twitter is in a similar position). This might cause concern for the welfare of the future of the group in a time where there are school kids being handed verified accounts for being in a school band. Despite the quality of the music and the videos, the lack of buzz around Marvell and the fact I appeared to be the only Marvell fan debating against Wiley this morning might indicate they are not in the position I thought they were.