Whatever happened to Marvaless? The last time I remember hearing about her is when she and Messy Marv declared themselves “Bonnie & Clyde” back in 2003, and according to Wikipedia her last full album was in 2010. She seems to have disappeared completely. I remember when C-Bo put her on back in the 1990’s (though I admit I may remember “Gas Chamber” and C-Bo in general more than most folks) and by ’95 I was looking forward to what she’d do next. She answered by dropping an EP titled “Just Marvaless.”
There’s a few strange things about this release. Despite having put Marvaless on the map in the first place, it seems C-Bo wasn’t convinced folks would buy the EP for her alone. The album’s official title is “Just Marvaless featuring C-Bo & Pizzo,” and even if Marva Cooks II is loyal and true to her mentor, that still feels like a slight implying somehow that no one wants to hear from a bad-ass bitch. Hadn’t we already proved that wrong with hardcore albums from Boss and Roxanne Shante among others? Let me just state this plainly — when Marvaless says “Don’t you wanna ride with me? Don’t you wanna get high with me?” on “Ride With Me” the answer is YES. Her solo performance on the track proves Pizzo and C-Bo are unnecessary to her success (even if YouTube credits them anyway).
Listening to Marvaless it’s a bit stunning to consider that it’d be another two years before The Lady of Rage dropped “Necessary Roughness.” Given the buzz she had from “Afro Puffs” in ’94, she should have had a full length LP well before Marva put out this EP. And just to be real about it I’m not saying that any of the bars from the men detract from songs like “Hard Core,” but it’s disappointing to think somebody made the executive decision to say “Marvaless is a star, but she’s not THAT much of a star, so you better give the men co-billing and co-starring roles.” It’s that same kind of thinking that delayed Rage’s LP even though she could smoke any man alive back then.
The biggest drawbacks to “Just Marvaless” are that it’s not long enough and doesn’t feature Marvaless enough. Other than that this EP is solid. It doesn’t break away from any of the cliches of West coat G-funk from the 1990’s, but it rides comfortably in the cut of that groove. Like they say about Dalvin, let Marva COOK because she’s clearly a “gangster bitch” who can hold her own. It feels like everybody involved in her career was just hella confused — they knew she had talent, they knew she could hang, then whenever it came time to pull trigger on her stardom they fired blanks.