Daily Discovery is a feature that will highlight a new or recently discovered artist that we’re excited about. See the rest of our Daily Discoveries here.
The credits of Marvel Alexander’s new album Don’t Die Yet read like a who’s who of fast-rising, forward-thinking artists. Kaytranada, BADBADNOTGOOD, Sango, Gravez, Wiki from Ratking, D.R.A.M., and Michael Christmas are on the up and up, but this album is all about Marvel Alexander. The L.A.-based rapper, producer, and engineer keeps the quality high throughout, from the impassioned opener “Untitled” through the manic energy of “I Ain’t Gotta Lie” to the smooth final track.
Whether he’s dropping funny punchlines and ad libs (“Dirty Thoughts”) or dropping thunderous beats (“Better Days”), Marvel, it seems, can do it all—in fact he even had production credits on A$AP Ferg’s “Shabba.” Don’t Die Yet feels undeniably fresh and totally current—get to know Marvel with our interview below while you tune in to the sound of right now.
Buy the album here.
On “Untitled” you talk about how much you could relate to Kid Cudi when you first heard him – since then what other artists have you felt the same way about?
Since Kid Cudi there have been a few artists I really attached to on a personal, relatable level, J. Cole being one of them. I always appreciate artists staying true to who they are even if it goes against the grain. I related to an early Tyler, The Creator especially before the fame came and the struggle to want to do more with your art but being shorted opportunity. I feel we have similar outlooks on life as well. Chance The Rapper is also very relatable to me, I feel we share a sense for social awareness and an overall community improvement attitude. Strangely enough I relate a lot to Drake/PartyNextDoor. I truly feel like you really haven’t lived a full life as a man if you cant relate to those two gentlemen!
When did you start rapping and when did you start producing?
It was 1999 when Slim Shady LP came out and I begged my mom to buy the CD. At the time the only song he had out was “My Name Is” and that was a very radio friendly song. She got me the CD but took it back because she heard terrible things about it. But I already listened to it an infinite amount of times. First time I heard that album I instantly knew I wanted to be a rapper. I started writing raps in a little book and it was pretty vulgar cause I wanted to be like Slim. My mom found my book and scolded me. Until I was about 17 I was ashamed to rap then I met with a friend who gave me an old version of Fruity Loops and I started producing and picked rapping back up that same day.
How do you balance your funnier side with your more serious, personal tracks?
Balancing funnier songs and more personal tracks has been an internal struggle for me because I don’t want people to take me as a parody or joke rapper. I just like to have fun with records and express myself freely. And with the current state of rap either your a cliche rapper, socio-conscious rapper, or a troll. It seems like people have a hard time understanding the common grounds. But I try not to get too wrapped up in it.
I want people to understand that you cant give up when days get dark, you gotta keep pushing through until the bright days come, because they are inevitable.
What do you want listeners to take away from Don’t Die Yet?
I want people to understand that you cant give up when days get dark, you gotta keep pushing through until the bright days come, because they are inevitable. When I say “don’t die yet” it can mean physically dying or dying in a sense of passion for life. Because I’ve struggled with a similar conflict.
What producers inspire you at the moment?
Not to self-promote but all the artists I worked with on my album and my previous album inspire me. and All of my Modern Outfit producers inspire me daily. But outside of that most definitely Kanye West, Pharrell, Hit-Boy, Swizz Beatz, and a little bit of JMSN in there too.
You’ve definitely got a bunch of incredible producers on the album, but what do you look for in a beat?
I don’t necessarily look for anything in a beat i just have to love it. I need to feel something from it on first listen. Some emotion. Then I let my imagination take it from there.
If you could collab with one artist, who would it be?
If I could collab with one artist it would be a toss up between Kanye West and Prince.
What are you goals for 2015?
Goals for 2015 would be to finish up some collab albums I have in the works. Headline a tour. Play Music festivals. Not be broke. Purchase Mortal Kombat X. Take long walks on the beach with SZA. Eat really good food (with or without SZA). Really wanna be somebodies #MCM this year off top. And work with some exciting artists that inspire me, new and old.
And finally, is your old lady really a thot?!!
I ALMOST MADE A THOT MY OL’ LADY BUT I DISCOVERED HER THOTTING WAYS BEFOREHAND. I NEO’ED THAT BULLET AND EUROSTEPPED THAT ENTIRE SITUATION WITH THE UTMOST STYLE AND FINESSE. I EXAGGERATED A TAD BUT THAT DEF WAS A REAL THING, A REAL EVENT.