MaLLy: I'm painting this visual of this art that's on life support

Categories: Interview
Photo courtesy of the artist
When MaLLy's The Last Great... dropped last year, it was evident from the attention it drew from national music blogs and local critics that he was an MC on his way to doing big things. His latest EP Strange Rhythm switches up the formula with production from his regular show DJ Last Word, and the result is a tight work that shows artistic growth. Gimme Noise caught up with MaLLy to see what his music-making process has been lately.
Gimme Noise: Tell me about working with Last Word. What made you want to go in a different direction as far as production with Strange Rhythm?

MaLLy: I think the biggest thing we wanted to do was elevate our performance together, as a DJ and an MC. He said, one thing to keep in mind is keeping the crowd engaged. He understood that shit. He knew how to scratch, mix, it wasn't like he was just pushing buttons and shit, he was actually DJing. This was two and a half years ago. Being affiliated with Cryphy, going to their events and doing stuff with them, hosting their first Fridays in the Record Room, it just continued to progress. We have a good working relationship, and we're good friends now too, which makes it easier for the creative process. Our main job is make the music strong and keep it moving. If you're your only critic, sometimes you don't see areas where you can improve. We've come a long way since 2011. 

Gimme Noise: I've known of Last Word as a DJ for Get Cryphy; I didn't even know he made beats.

MaLLy: A lot of people didn't know that either. He worked with Ernie Rhodes, he did the Transistor album. There's other people within that group that make beats but they don't ever release that shit. Some of the stuff he was sending me was dark; his drums, his kicks, some of them just hit me. The beats were just raw, this dude had some pretty dope shit. [We were] really focused on making good songs. The songwriting aspect, in addition to rapping. It's one thing to be the most technical and have all the dexterity in the world, and have all these patterns. But I want to make songs. [Early on] I was focused on just really being a good rapper; really witty, getting down patterns, having the foundation. I can always go back to that. [But] am I trying to battle, or am I trying to write songs? What's the goal? Who are you trying to speak to, who are you trying to touch? 

I want to have longevity as an artist. I could make songs all day, but I want to see the world with music. To get there, it takes expanding the horizons, challenging Last Word and vice versa. That's the thing I like about our relationship too is that [it] has evolved too, we're figuring out how to work with each other, we're more honest with each other, which has made the music stronger and the performance stronger too. I've seen a lot of people who have been in the game for a long time but still don't have a main DJ. To me, that boggles my mind. A person who plays the set and comes up with ideas. I want my stage game to just be crazy.

Gimme Noise: I've always respected they way you don't waste space. Every line has a purpose.

MaLLy: I'm glad you feel that. That's dope. Thanks. It's crazy, hit me up, gave me a verified account, and looks like somebody wrote out the lyrics. You can make corrections and annotate it. I've gotten through the first song, which took me four hours to really sit down, upload pictures, but I really want people to understand, all of these songs have a meaning to them. Every line has a meaning to it. It makes you have a different and better understanding of the music, what they're doing in this particular song and this project as a whole. I went on [RapGenius] looking at Frank Ocean's "Channel Orange," it's dense.

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