The Marvell Boys are the latest sensation to come out of a wave of crossover talent arising from the grime scene. But what sets them apart from other grime artists and why are they being called the future of grime? Mary Bello talks to the North London-based collective to get the low-down on their master plan.
Vertex, Double S and Shocka make up The Marvell Boys. Formed in 2007 they have been honing their individuality, and now are finally ready to take the music scene by storm. ‘We’ve come from the planet Marvell to spread Marvell-itus to all music lovers!’ Vertex tells me. After spending the last few days locked in a room listening to the Marvell Boys’ music and watching their videos I’m pretty worried. I think I’ve caught it. Their sound is infectious, the beats their talented producer FX uses are fresh and their flow is steeped in originality. It’s hard to resist.
When I ask about how they came up with their name I assumed that it had something to do with a love of Marvel comics, but it’s actually from ‘Marvellicious’ (a play on marvellous and delicious). ‘We just shortened it,’ Vertex explains while moving his seat closer to mine. ‘You must get a lot of interviews,’ he adds flirtatiously while looking at me with a cheeky grin. Uh-oh this boy is trouble. He’s got the chat and the talent that can make a girl putty in his hands. Luckily, Double S pipes up and explains that they are filling a niche in music. ‘You know what? Right now there aren’t really any groups in grime, so we’ve taken on that super challenge.’ Ah, so they are grime’s new superheroes? To keep the grime scene evolving, music lovers can bet on the Marvell Boys to save the day and keep things moving.
Still, these boys are no cookie-cutter crossover artists, neither are they trying to mirror grime stars like Chipmunk and Tinie Tempah who have helped the genre’s commercial success with massive global hits. Marvell’s music is fresh, original and all three of the band have a very distinct and exciting style when MCing over a rhythm. In addition,the boys are multi-talented. When I ask them where else their skills lie, they are very quick to point out each others talents. ‘Vertex is a real talented, guy. He’s gonna work on his directing skills’, says Shocka, and this is no empty statement. Vertex was responsible for the Noisettes debut video Don’t Upset The Rhythm, and the number-one video Oopsy Daisy for Chipmunk. Not bad for a 20-year-old. And while Vertex gets a handle on the directorial world, Shocka’s focus is in front of the camera. ‘Shocka has got some serious acting skills. He’s gonna do big things on screen,’ Vertex tells me. And I already know where Double S has other talent pushing through.The guy can sing! He has impressed Marvell fans with his ability to lay down some hot vocals over some of their tracks. He confesses that this talent was borne purely out of necessity: ‘I would holla at singers when I was younger and they would just air me when I needed them on a track. So I started doing hooks and stuff for myself when I was like 17. Now I’m taking it seriously.’
Vertex and Shocka both agree that Double S has the kind of vocal ability that would stand up against any number of singers on the scene. The fact that they champion each other indicates the tight bond they have. Double S and Shocka went to school together while Vertex and Double S grew up in the same area. Originally the group consisted of Vertex, Double S, and several others – including Chipmunk.But a difference in ambition and development led to Vertex and Double S moving off to do their own thing. ‘We decided to bring Shocka on board because it felt like he was the missing piece of the puzzle,’Double S states, while Shocka interrupts to add surreptitiously that he had been kicked out of his previous crew Chain Gang. Vertex laughs ‘Yeah, but we weren’t gonna mention that mate.’ Oopsy daisy.
Besides the music scene, Double S, Vertex and Shocka also plan to conquer the clothing industry with Marvell garments. They assure me that I’ll be able to get into their clothes because the line will carry womenswear. And one woman they’ve already dressed is the bootylicious Amber-Rose who the boys hooked up with via Twitter in London recently. ‘She said we were cute, the next thing we know we are chilling with her in a club and we gave her a T-shirt. When Amber flew back to the US she was rocking the top!’ Perhaps Marvell is gonna spread Stateside. Watch this space.
The single We Know is out now; visit www.marvellmusic.co.uk
Words by Mary Bello