Midwest rapper Mally meets and exceeds the qualifications for conscious rap with his newest release The Colors of Black. Each and every track’s subject matter serves as a stark contrast to today’s materialist and chauvinist style. Malik Watkins has reassured me that rap is still a relevant outlet for legitimate self-expression and lyrical self-disclosure.
When doing some research on him, I found that Mally isn’t the easiest rapper to find on the internet. I mean, the wikipedia page about him is only a sentence long. You might get caught up for a minute or two on a beauty company’s website if you simply type “Mally” into Google, but after some investigative research (i.e. typing “Mally rapper” into google), I learned that Mally, like hip-hop duo Atmosphere and the newer rapper 3Flection, is from Minneapolis, Minnesota, and that he’s released another full length album before this one, The Last Great… which was touted in an article by a local newspaper, the Star Tribune.
But let’s get to the album already. The album I haven’t stopped playing since I checked it out from the KSSU Hip-Hop Hot shelf. The album I haven’t stopped telling people about, the reason I start conversations with strangers wearing Beats by Dre and Nikes.
Be prepared for these next few paragraphs- these songs are deep.
The ballad “All My Life (Part 2)” cuts to the bone and then shoots adrenaline straight in your heart with ripping guitar solos. Apparently, all of Mally’s life he wanted to be a gangster, running a crime syndicate with an iron fist and maintaining and ruthlessly accumulating personal power to no end. The song intros as such: “All of my life I wanted to be a gangster / crack flippin’, back splitter, act whipper / socks Louis, glock Tumi, belts Gucci, the block knew me / business runnin’ through me.” This song will get more than its share of plays on my show Tuesday night from 10-11 PM on kssu.com.
“Two Worlds” tells us about Mally’s experience living in two Americas and how he is pre-judged (i.e. experiences prejudice) by people. Judged off of a color and guilty without a gavel and the chorus comes in Lord forgive, me my skin is my sin.
These two songs are modern day Tupac ballads, current and relevant critiques of a patriarchal culture.
Finally, I must note the track “Hold My Tongue” feat. Slug & Rapper Hooks as another notable work. Mally, Rapper Hooks, and Slug each kill their respective verses on this track.
Apparently, Atmosphere’s frontman Slug has shown Mally much love, performing at a local music festival sporting a Mally t-shirt, and fellow Midwest rapper Brother Ali co-hosted a local show with Mally. This track is the newest connection between the staple of underground hip-hop Slug and in my opinion the most promising voice today. Still, the label of these two talented artists, Rhymesayers, is not the label of Mally- this DJ hopes that will change soon.
If there is one album to listen to this month, maybe this year, I say it’s none other than Mally’s The Colors of Black.