In a world where cookie-cutter, see through artists strive to be normal, MaLLy dares to be strange.
The title of MaLLy’s newest offering is “Strange Rhythm,” and it is fitting. MaLLy is strange. His cadence is strange. His style is strange. The music is strange. When telling your personal truth and relaying stories from different perspectives is seen as strange, it seems that MaLLy doesn’t have a problem with being labeled or labeling himself as such.
In the opening track, “Dead Art Painting,” MaLLy warns: “Bitch, this is my house.” And it becomes clear from the jump that the emcee is claiming his territory. Is the house a metaphor for the track, the album or, even deeper, a metaphor for Hiphop in general? Towards the finale of this track, MaLLy raps, “His best advice was roll solo ‘cause these niggas ain’t your friends.” And that may be a bit of foreshadowing, pointing to the fact that there are no other featured rappers on this release.
The unorthodox beats found on “Strange Rhythm” compliment MaLLy’s flow nicely. My favorite beat is found on “Every Promise,” with a distorted vocal sample hidden behind hard drums and an uncomfortable synth. The beat is a bit frightening, while MaLLy raps, “Who am I? A Saint or a sinner? I came out of the dirt clean, I never show off, that’s for beginners.” And by this point in the album, it is clear MaLLy doesn’t have to try hard to impress. He does it naturally. It is clear that this comes easy to the emcee, and the relaxed yet immediate cadences indicate this.
MaLLy possesses exceptional story telling ability that is show cased on “All Of My Life (Part 1)” where the rapper tells a tale of love and the pursuit of the almighty dollar. What happens when a young woman wants money, power and respect, teamed with a young man thirsty for money, power and respect as well? At the end of the track, the story is left open ended, instead of reaching a conclusion. I get the feeling there’s going to be a Part 2, as the title indicates this is only Part 1.
An emcee of MaLLy’s caliber is allowed to brag. On "Guillotine," he displays his swords, with lines mixed with braggadocio chest pounding and questioning of his own intuition. MaLLy goes from admitting his lack of knowledge to stating his goals with his raps to explaining why he is superior when compared to other emcees. He covers all this ground in only a few bars. The song continues to inhabit the grey areas of the self and the world, rather than a rigid, black and white view of reality that is often present in rap music today.
This is a man with many facets, and it is clear that he will present all of them to you without flinching; he’ll give you the whole picture, rather than bits and pieces of the self that lesser qualified emcees tend to present.
The downside of this album can be seen as either good or bad, depending on your perspective: (aside from K.Raydio singing the hook on “Wonderful World”) there are no features. While MaLLy is more than capable of carrying the weight of crafting an incredible album, it would be nice to get some juxtapositions thrown into the mix. Just for variety, it’d be nice to hear MaLLy’s verses complimented with other perspectives.
All in all, “Strange Rhythm,” has great replay value. While concise, it is a good introduction to folks (like me) who have never previously listened to MaLLy’s music. I’m looking forward to hearing if “All Of My Life” has a sequel. I’m looking forward to hear what direction he takes the music in the future. If I had to sum up this album in one word, I choose “strange.” MaLLy tackles topics of love, loss of love, faith, failure and triumph all in 8 tracks. The title of this album fits the content very well. If that’s your thing, you will enjoy this release.
“what goes up comes down, life is so precious. Ate a cloud for breakfast, we all separate and they desperate”
“love who you is now not what you was”
“the stakes is high, to the wackness, you know that I can’t comply”
“down to earth but still sky scrapin’”
“got a demon on my back on both sides today, with the angle of an angel prayin’ it won’t stay”
“everything I said was fly”
To download "Strange Rhythm" for free, via DJ Booth, click here. To stream "Strange Rhythm," via SoundCloud, click here.