The world is no bigger than the people who inhabit it, and some are possessed with the force to embrace the warmth of an ordinary day and make the plainest faces alive with promise. Such is multi-award winning iconic rapper, songwriter, actor and producer Mally Mall, a man blessed with the gift of creating music that has orgasmically captured a kaleidoscopic vibrancy in a barrage of multi-chromatic songs with a quiescence of a sophisticated anarchy that cannot be challenged by either man, angels or beast.
Like an artist Mr. Mall does not paint music with a single brush stroke. He has produced, collaborated, inspired and influenced some of the most titanic recording artists on the planet including: Justin Bieber, Drake, Usher, Chris Brown, E-40, Rick Ross, Jason Derulo, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, The Weeknd, Tyga, Poo Bear, Macy Gray, Lil Baby, 2Pak, and countless others.
In a cosmic encounter and a dream come true for 12 year old Gabriel Evan, Mally Mall answered some telling questions and confirmed some upcoming secret releases during a spirited and heartfelt conversation regarding some of the huge artists he’s worked with and his relationships with them…..
Louder Than War: How did you meet Justin Bieber?
“So, I met a Justin in 2011. One of his friends Lil Twist was here recording. Justin was in Germany and he called me and said that he would like to meet me and also throw a birthday party at my house for Lil Twist. He wanted to know if it was ok and I told him of course it’s ok….wow…and that’s how we met.”
I understand that you and Justin has sort of bonded….how did that come about?
“Justin is an incredible person. He is an amazing human being, very talented, very generous, very smart. He’s very religious and into Jesus. The first day that we met we got a tattoo that symbolized the year his parents conceived him, which was the year that I was born. So we got matching tattoos. It was real spiritual. He loved the animals, the monkeys, the bobcats, and animals know people by energy and they loved him.”
You hooked world renowned producer and musician Poo Bear and Justin up together and he wound up writing some of Justin’s biggest hits. How did that happen?
“When Justin was here at first we didn’t want him to feel like we wanted to work with him so we gave him some hospitality, a good vibe and eventually we had a private conversation about music. I said “Justin I get you now.” A lot of people think that white artists want to be black, but Justin didn’t want that. He just wanted to be accepted and loved by the culture which is mostly black and others. I told him that in order to do that you have to do soulful music. At that time one of the biggest songs he had was called Baby, Baby, Baby, a huge pop song. It was a big record, but to actually be accepted in the culture of R&B you have to be soulful. I had been working with Poo Bear in Vegas for five years then with Bone Thugs n Harmony, Kid Rock, Usher, Chris Brown, so many different records. I told Justin about Poo Bear and assured him that he was going to do some dope music for him. Funny but he said, “but I just want to work with you.” I told him to trust me and just try it out. We went to the studio eventually and I played him a mixtape that Poo Bear did and he loved it. They were just demo songs that we wrote and he loved it. We just cut it and we changed some of the things in it for him, and that’s how Justin met Poo Bear. Even though a lot of times during the interview Pooh bear says he met Justin through a friend and hasn’t mentioned my name but only a few times. Which I think is a little weird, but it is what it is. But I give credit to Lil Twist for Justin. So big shout out to Lil Twist…”
Is it true that you gave Justin a monkey?
“It’s true…. I gave Justin a monkey as a gift. We got the paperwork and everything and I gave it to him a day and a half before he was going to Germany and he loved it so much. Justin suffers from anxiety, like emotional stress, and animals are like an emotional support. He wanted to take it to Germany because he got so attached. He named it Mally. I thought to myself that Justin is the new Michael Jackson and no one‘s gonna say no to him. So he took it to Germany and made it to customs and then someone saw him and made a big deal out of it so they seized the monkey. Now he’s in a museum in Germany and a lot of tourists come to see him because he’s Justin Bieber’s monkey.”
That is kind of sad.
“Yeah it was sad.”
You also worked with Drake…
“Let me just elaborate on Drake. He’s an amazing person. He came to my house and my studio and he did one of the biggest hits there called The Motto. A lot of people know it as YOLO and it’s one of the most played hip-hop songs in history. It was him and Lil Wayne and Tyga. But one of the most records I’m proud of is called Arms Around You. It was a huge record because it was one of the last records that was made before XXXTenacion passed away. It was very touching.”
What artists do you enjoy working with and collaborating with the most?
“Drake is very special. Tyga was the first, he is very special. They are all very talented guys, real artists and real good people. In music energy is everything. You can have a really talented artist but if the energy isn’t there doesn’t mean anything. Drake has amazing energy. He came to my house and told me he was inspired by me, and you helped to inspire someone like that early in your career. Actually, his first number one record we did together. That was huge to be a part of that. Big shout out to OBO and Drake…Justin was great to work with. We had a great run. The Purpose album is amazing and it broke the Beatles history of their record in 1964 which was the most songs from one album shining on the top 100 Billboard charts. We tried that with the Drake album in 2011. That was an accomplishment because 51 years later that record got broken. Besides that Sway is one of my favorite people to work with. But my all-time favorite person to work with has to be Jeremih. Jeremih is one of the most talented guys in the business and his son was born the same day as me. People mistake him for being underrated but he’s not underrated, he’s humble. Everybody knows how talented he is. He has been on so many number ones and so many records. He’s given away so many records to people when he could’ve kept them himself and he’s just very humble like me. We work very well together. We have hundreds of records together and no matter how long It goes these records sell out they always cycling back in. Music has no time limit, so you can make a record two years ago or yesterday and it’s still going to go. Eventually it’s going to find a place at home and a purpose.”
How many awards have you won and if you had to guess how many gold and platinum records do you have?
“Lots…too many to count. I lost count after 100. I don’t really watch it anymore, I just try to make great music and I try to put my heart into it and soul into it. In life we go through a lot of things, and the road to music is not always an easy road. There’s a lot that happens with it. In life we go through a lot of ups and downs, you go through different cycles and it’s fortunate to be in music because music is a way you can express yourself, you can correct yourself, you can rectify yourself. If you make mistakes you can be vulnerable and admit those mistakes by actually talking about it. So, there’s a lot of passion, and pain but with passion comes pain. They kind of go side-by-side. So, you have to turn around the mistakes and the pain and the passion even though you don’t regret anything and you wouldn’t go back and change it for the world you don’t even know where you’ll be. You don’t even know if you’ll be here. So, I feel blessed to be here to learn from those past moments that you probably agree with now because you’re older, smarter and wiser. You just learn how to make that change and become a better person. I think music is a great way to better people. It’s a great way to help people understand that music is love and you have to just keep learning and growing and expressing your passion.”
Is it true that you have been recording with legend Macy Gray?
“Yes. I met Macy Gray about three months ago… there’s someone named Kyle who is a producer that works with us. A big shout out to Kyle and to KT. She called me one day and I really thought it was a prank call. I told her that and we laugh about this. She called me and said “hey Mally this is Macy Gray“….and she sounded like Macy Gray. We clicked really fast and we actually became really good friends. With everything I’ve been going through she’s been there for me and we’ve made some great music and we have some great songs. I’m actually bringing some big collabs to her songs which I can’t announce right now. We will do another interview when I’m done and I’ll tell you. She is an amazing and talented person and an actress. To me she’s like the Billie Holiday of now.”
Rumour has it that you will also be releasing a single with Lil Baby?
“Yes, I will be releasing a single with Lil Baby and it’s called Fire. It was an original sample that was written by Drake for Alicia Keys. We kind of flipped it, remade it, put Baby on there and it’s amazing. So, a big shout out to Bay Swag, Lil Baby, and the whole team doing it. We are actually working on the details of when to put out that record right now.”
As an artist you like to give back. You were just awarded the Philanthropist Award for donating laptops to children during Covid who didn’t have them and needed them for virtual schooling….
“It was probably the first half of the pandemic maybe towards the middle and I learned that kids were doing school from home on the computer. I started speaking to some kids who explained that either they didn’t have a computer or if they did have one it was for their parents for work. So, I felt really bad. The first time we donated about 500 laptops to different neighborhoods and communities and the second time about 600 laptops. We were able to buy a bunch of them and it worked out beautiful. We felt really good about being able to help the kids that wanted to learn but didn’t have a way to learn.”
What is your very best advice for young and upcoming artists that are hoping to make it in the music business?
“My advice is always have a back-up plan number one because nothing in life is guaranteed. Always have a back-up plan and however you are supporting yourself make it a priority. And then make music a priority as well but instead of going out and partying do your music. You have to give up that part of it to be into your music. Once your music is at a certain level that it’s a business and you’re making money and making sense then you can make your other job secondary or your other career secondary. Even though the music is a passionate thing it’s still a business. You have to know your business, you have to have your structure and you have to know your team. You can’t fake music, so you’ve got to work hard. Number two, don’t be scared. Don’t let anyone tell you no. I was a kid with a dream one time and people didn’t believe in that in the beginning. And now these people are apologizing and congratulating me. That means a lot to me because you work hard, you dedicate the time and you put passion into it. Besides the talent and the passion learn the business. Have a good manager, have a good team, have people who believe in you and remember there’s never such thing as a one man band. You have to have a team. So, make sure you have a team of people around you that you can create with and take care of those people because that team will be there with you the whole time.”
When Gabriel has completed his interview Mally Mall turned the tides and asked Gabe some questions. His interest in Gabriel was caring, considerate and quite touching. After learning that Gabe played piano and saxophone he even offered to collect some loops from him and use it for a music video. Mally Mall displays not only a child-like innocence but a true concern, loyalty and sincerity to those surrounding him. Like an arch of humanity, Mally Mall truly likes to help people and loves to see people do well….so a personal thank you goes out to Mally Mall.
Watch Good Times With Gabe’s Interview with Hip Hop Legend/Icon Mally Mall here.
Words by Eileen Shapiro. You can view her profile here.