MARVEL ALEXANDER'S PURSUIT OF MANY MANY THINGS, EXISTENCE BEING ONE OF THEM

“What made me remotely popular is saying stuff nobody wanted to say. That’s what I want to go back to doing a lot more of. “

The 6’9 and cheekily funny giant that provides giggles, melodic bars and all around charm has been hard at work to change the scope of his music’s reach.

 Marvel “Matthew” Alexander coined his artist/producer name from Marvel comic’s attire sported as a youngin. He grew up in Hackensack New Jersey a melting pot of cultures but majorly populated by black and Spanish families. While he dabbled in music and eventually geared his attention towards being the class clown, school was the first part of his journey as an artist and producer. He settled in to a music program in college and then transferred and ended up studying business which in hindsight would be helpful to his career and a much more vetted understanding of 360 deals. Not long after he picked up and moved to LA where he is currently still living to pursue his music, full throttle.

 With 3 projects under his belt and a bunch of production credits Marvel is at a crossroads with his craft. He has been releasing his music in a trial and error fashion putting steam behind a project in different ways and watching the blogosphere gravitate to one record over another. It was a sore feeling initially, but as he continues to make music he evolves his plan to make sure it reaches more ears. Even now he is masterminding his next roll-out for another project he already has in the works.

 However, during our time together we dialed it back and spoke about the beginnings of Mr. Alexander, his lyrical humor and the more serious efforts he is doing to be a better artist. Meet Marvel:

What do you consider your style like?

I honestly pride myself in not having a style. I like to be very transparent but also very visible at the same time if that makes sense. My style is “wow I never heard anything like this before.” Every song I want to make even if it’s a trap song I want to do a trap song in a way that’s never been done before. Even with the happier stuff that I have done like, when I sat there and thought about I was like wow the black community and the Spanish community where I’m from are very close together but our music doesn’t blend. It’s never together usually unless they’re doing Hip Hop you know. So I was like how can I blend both? What if I took bachata percussion and put it over trap drums? I just thought of a bunch of ideas that would be cool and haven’t been done before. I feel like I definitely started a small trend with that. I don’t want to be predictable; I love so many different kinds of music I pull from everything.

What do you think has been the biggest thing to develop for you as an artist and producer from your first project to now?

As a producer and an artist the biggest thing that changed between those two projects was my attention to detail. One of my best friends out here is Jameson the singer.  We have been friends since I moved to LA. Just being around him during the recording process, it was really inspiring because I have seen all of the hours and effort and work that he put into just one song. Like me I would make a song in two hours and be done. He would spend weeks on the song then come back and fix it up and add stuff, bring instrumentation, get players to play on it. I looked at that and was really inspired by how much effort he put into each detail and that kind of made me want to go harder and spend more time on records and making them better than the idea I had initially. I developed an idea as opposed to making it and just putting it out.

In each of your albums everything has a nod to something a little bit darker.  You said you always have humor why is this so?  

Yea I have always been funny. Since I was young I was always like the class clown. Being the class clown was an escape of everyday. I wouldn’t say my life was hard but it was definitely challenging. I was always tall and you’d think no one would mess with you but I got messed with the most! You have to think of it from a different perspective, if somebody were to fight me for example and they lost – I’m a monster because I am so much bigger than them. If they beat me they’re hero, so it’s a win-win situation and lose-lose for me. When people are faced with no risk or humiliation they try you all the time, especially when you’re young. When you’re a bigger person people tend to have a bigger expectation in pretty much every situation in life. It doesn’t matter what it is like people are going to hold these unreal expectations for you. My mom was really strict and I didn’t really have a father so going to school and having a good time was like an escape.

You talk a little bit more honestly in your music; in fact you are more serious in your current tape. Was this something you chose to do?

I feel like everything I do whether it’s like funny serious or sad it’s a dynamic of me. With this project I wanted to be a little bit more serious because I didn’t want to be a joke rapper. It’s funny because a lot of the stuff I rap about, that people found hilarious I never thought was funny. Like on So much love when I said “I got me a Mexican she made me tostadas” I never thought that was funny. People think it’s hilarious and now I am kind of seeing the humor in it. When I wrote it I had no idea it was going to be funny. So I was like let me take all the shadow of a doubt of humor out of this [The pursuit of Existence]. No disrespect to Little Dicky because I like him as an artist and the lane he is in and like Lonely Island but – I never want to be those guys. I like their music, it is extremely entertaining but I didn’t want to be looked at in that light as an “entertainer” I am not a comedian I’m just funny.  I just wanted to establish myself as a serious rapper early. So when I do it later, when I’m on a bigger stage they can be like he’s been doing this for a while. I am going to go back to funny stuff, that’s just who I am. Next project will be light-hearted.

Are you looking to work with more producers? Or do you like using your own beats better?

I hate to say it but it is just a vibe. If someone makes a beat for me and its fire and I love it, I am going to use it. That’s how I operate. I don’t really have a bunch if producers that are like “yo man check this beat out.” Usually when I get a beat it’s because I ask for it or I give someone an idea and I ask someone to produce on it. A lot of people don’t work on my pace, I hate waiting for people. A lot of times my beats that I use are beats intended for other people that just took too long. That’s why I am happy I rap because being a producer is really hard.

What is something that you are struggling with?

The biggest challenge for me is creating a bigger audience. That’s the hardest part, for everyone really; especially when you are doing it alone. It’s hard to grow on it without the help of others like for example a co-sign

As an artist what do you see your biggest change in from beginning to now?

I have no idea – haha. I definitely look more into connecting with people after I put out my last project don’t die yet. Like that wasn’t all the way me. A lot of the records I did were to get notoriety and a lot of the records didn’t represent me. I put out a project before don’t die yet {life before death] and it just didn’t do anything. No blog wrote about it, it didn’t reach too many people, it was a dud. It really hurt me because I felt so good about it. It didn’t touch anybody and it wrecked me to think about it. I was like you know what my next album is going to be different, I know all of these big name people and they are genuinely friends with me and we have never done music. I figured I am going to put everyone I know all on this project and blogs will have no choice but to blog it. That’s what I did and it worked. I didn’t send that project to not one blog and it was on every blog. After seeing that it kind of disappointed me that it worked that good.  I was disappointed in don’t die yet because I felt like I sold out. With this project [Pursuit of Existence] I was like I am going to do it by myself.

 The difference between this project and the last project a lot of the people I didn’t really know that well. With this album crystal is probably one of my best friends and bad bad is also some of my best friends, I love all of them to death. To me that wasn’t really just a feature. The results were as I expected it didn’t do as good as don’t die yet. Like don’t die yet the response was instant, people were buying the album it was crazy. I couldn’t believe it, it was like surreal.

 Is this something that’s becoming an issue?

… Good music doesn’t always win and that is just an unfortunate fact. I think the thing is with me, I need a co-sign. It is very necessary especially in Hip Hop. I don’t want to be an underground artist, like I will be independent or I will sign to a label if the deal makes sense.

 Like 360 deals aren’t bad – 360 deals make sense, a lot of sense. Let’s say you have a brand and someone or I put $100,000 into your brand. From that brand you therefor can make t-shirts, you can make lipstick, you can make all these things from the money that I invested in. it’s not really fair that I am only able to collect from one part of your brand when I am not developing just this one thing.

 Let’s say ASAP rocky is a nobody before I find him and I throw a million dollars into his career. From that he is able to make t shirts, he’s able to go on tour, make appearances he’s able to do all of these things form his music which I invested in. so it’s kind of unfair to not be able to collect off of everything. Business wise it makes sense, but we all know the music business feels very different apparently from regular business. I feel like 360 deals are fair it just depends on the percentages. Like no you are not getting %50 of anything. The money I am making doesn’t equate to the %50 I’m making. What makes 360 deals unfair is if I go and manufacture my own clothes and you don’t contribute at all to it, you don’t deserve any of that money because I did that by myself. There are some gray areas. 360 deals can be fair - if people approach uneducated musicians and try not to take advantage of them.

 What do you hope for with the Pursuit of Existence?

I just want people to like it and enjoy it and listen to it. I want it to reach as many people as possible at the end of the day. I really feel strongly about it and I hope it comes into the forefront because I put a lot of effort into it. Personally speaking and not to be cocky I think it’s one of the best releases in Hip Hop this year.