I’ve always wanted to interview an artist that is just starting out in the music business. Somewhere before BET, MTV and VH-1 start using their names as household items, they were just hungry musicians looking to get a slice of the music business pie. I have found such an artist, his name is Marcus Marshall (aka Double M). With his straight-forward Hip-Hop lyrics, and his drive to be one of the best at his craft, I doubt that it will be long before the rest of the world knows his name as well.
GOM: My name is E.B. Hopkins and I’m a reviewer for the popular website, Gods Of Music. It’s a place were today’s artists can present their music to be reviewed fairly and impartially. Today I’m interviewing Marcus Marshall aka Double M. Marcus has just completed the final touches on his first album, More Than Meets The Eye. A blending of old and new school Hip-Hop that takes the listener through the varying styles that Double M has to offer the music world. Marcus, first off, thank you for taking the time out to be interviewed for Gods Of Music.
Double M: You’re welcome! Thank you for giving me the opportunity and believe me, the pleasure’s all mine.
GOM: My first question is why? Why did you chose music as what you wanted to do in your life? You’re obviously dedicated to your craft as you have an entire CD!
Double M: Well…not to sound cliche but music basically chose me. I grew up around and was always interested in it so at the young age of 13, I knew that I wanted to reproduce my own version of it. I knew I couldn’t sing so I went for Rap.
GOM: When did you realize that you had what it took to be an artist and not just a music hobbyist?
Double M: I guess my support group convinced me. My oldest brother would always just nod or say, “Yeah, whatever” when I asked him if my stuff sounded good. He doesn’t know this but I basically kept pushing myself to get a better response out of him. When he started complimenting me and repeating parts of my lyrics later, I knew I was getting somewhere.
GOM: Speaking of your CD, you mention about how you’ve changed. Could you explain to people your transition from being in “the world” and now trying to get closer in your walk with God?
Double M: God brought someone into my life that showed me how I’d gone astray from Him. I’ll always love and cherish that person for that reason. I always knew about God and Jesus but I didn’t know all of the things I should or shouldn’t be doing as a Christian. To find out more, I went to church more and started reading the Bible more and God just led the way for me to become closer and closer to living right. I’m not a “perfect” Christian but I’m a lot better off than I was. My song “Used To Be A Sinner (But Not Any More) is a testament to that.
GOM: What is it the reason (you think) that SOME in the Hip-Hop community are so against “positive” Hip-Hop or Hip-Hop without curse words? Do you think the word “positive” gives them the feeling that people think their music is “negative”?
Double M: I believe that it takes a lot more thought and a lot more creativity to be do songs that are positive. Not just songs without profanity but songs that don’t talk about other people in a bad way or project gossip, etc. As far as how others that are against positive artists, I can’t really say or begin to guess why they feel that way. I do know that when asked why and someone says they do songs with profanity, slang, degradation of women in them or what have you because that’s what they were raised around, that’s just a cop out. I grew up on N.W.A., Ice T, Ice Cube, The Ghetto Boys, Ganksta Nip and a lot of other straight raw Rap artists but it didn’t affect what I wanted to do with my music.
GOM: Does being mentioned in the same breath as MC Hammer or Will Smith bother you? If so why or why not?
Double M: Nope. It doesn’t bother me at all. The main reason is because both of those artists have gained large amounts of respect from the community as a whole for standing out and speaking out about negativity in today’s music. Add to the fact that together those two artist have sold close to 50 million albums and that actually helps me welcome those comments. My main goal isn’t to sell as many records as possible but my goal is to reach as many people as possible while staying true to myself. Theoretically, the only way to do that is to sell millions of records and through the grace of God that is what happened with Will and Hammer and I can see it happening for me as long as I stay true to what I believe in and true to God.
GOM: Following along those lines, what are your plans for getting signed by a major label? How are you going about getting noticed?
Double M: Right now I’m in the process of getting management. I am convinced that small miracle will come through within a week or so. That’s a huge step. From there, I’ll be able to do shows which will result in exposure to the part of the public that wants to be entertained. Then I’ll hire a publicist to put me in the general public’s eye as much as possible. I believe that in the process of performing at clubs, colleges, talk shows and places like that, people will start to recognize me and radio stations will start getting requests for songs of mine and with that will come regular rotation on the radio. Once all of that has happened, I think the record labels will come looking for me instead of me looking for them. I say that out of faith, and not because I am being egotistical in any way.
GOM: What, if anything, are you working on at the moment?
Double M: As far as music goes, I’m working on background music for an indepent film that some friends and I are putting together. I’m also working on instrumentals for my second album while trying out new techniques to make the best of the equipment that I’ve been blessed with.
GOM: Okay Marcus, Quick word association time! Say the first word or phrase that comes to your mind……ready?
Double M: Sure. Fire away!
GOM: Gospel rap is…………
Double M: Hip-Hop songs that praise God without the profanity!
GOM: Gangsta’ rap is………
Double M: Rap that glamorizes violence and glorifies the use of profanity in songs.
GOM: If I couldn’t do music and acting anymore I would……….
Double M: Focus on just writing screenplays but I can’t imagine life without acting and music. Especially music.
GOM: When I get signed by a label, the FIRST thing I’m going to do is…………
Double M: Get on my knees and thank God!
GOM: Name one person in your life that has ALWAYS supported your dream to be an artist………
Double M: My mother.
GOM: Name one person that told you to “stop that pipe dreaming, and get a real J-O-B”……….
Double M: I don’t want to say her name but it was my last serious girlfriend. She knows who she is. LOL…she used to say it almost every week!
GOM: If Sony music (or any other major label) were to call you tomorrow and say they loved your CD, want to sign you to a contract for 4 MORE CD’s, want to send you an upfront check for $5 million dollars to get you started…..BUT, you need to completely change your style to match the current hardcore genre of Hip-Hop, would you/could you do it?
Double M: No, I couldn’t do it nor would I want to do it because I would be going astray from who I am as an artist and I would be going astray from spreading positive messages and the word of God on occasion too and that’s the last thing that I want to do.
GOM: Lastly, I heard that you were in the brand new movie premiering on VH-1 about MC Hammer’s life. How was that? Did you get a chance to meet him?
Double M: That was a really cool experience. I was blessed to have that opportunity! Faith works because after the audition I told everyone I knew that I got the part even though I hadn’t been told that yet. Sure enough, two days later –the actual day that I said I would get the word– I was told that I got the part and the first thing I did was thank God for it. Since it was my first speaking role, I was a little nervous on the set but I loosened up after a few takes. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to meet Hammer.
As a man who grew up on Rap in it’s earliest stages before ANY airplay by MTV, VH-1 or radio stations across the country, I know what a long road this genre has traveled and will continue to travel. While the genre is no more distracting than any other musical art form that parents said wouldn’t last (including my own). I find this young man’s fire for believing in himself and his talents refreshing. He doesn’t “hate” on the artists that are performing the hardcore/gangsta’/horrorcore genre(s) of Hip-Hop, but decided that he’d go the route of “keeping it real” for himself, no matter what others think. Is it easier to just ‘go along’ to ‘get along’ in Hip-Hop? Probably. But as the saying goes, RAP (Rhymic American Poetry) is about staying true to who YOU are, and never changing to please someone else……here’s an artist that is on his way to doing just that! If you want to purchase Double M’s newest CD, or just find out a little more about him, here’s the link to his website: http://www.shadowop.net/mm.htm