Malikai: I am Hip Hop Artist and Actor Malikai, from Los Angeles California. I moved around a lot so my origin also Include Bronx New York and Atlanta Georgia.
Why did you decide to begin a career in Music?
Malikai: My passion and love for the art and expressing myself consumed me so much to the point I had to be in entertainment. I always love to perform and I always loved to write songs because it helped me escape so much growing up and it’s just so much I have to say and music, especially Hip Hop, allows me to fulfill that Undying need in myself.
What moment(s) in your life led you to your music career?
Malikai: Well I can take that question in many ways. Music was one of the first things that gave me such a great response to success. I always knew I was talented and I knew it was a desire of mine to be an entertainer. But as all kids are, we are faced with so many things we may want to do in life and that added to the what-ifs and fighting for what you want. So before I completely started becoming an artist I wrestled with other possibilities but Music and acting were the two things that ate at me. I remember when I first started officially the feeling I got from performances was so amazing it was like I was home. I no longer was that misunderstood poor kid that had talent, loved talking about social issues but sadly wore the same thing to school all year long. I was now the guy under the lights and it was amazing and still is.
How have your life experiences shaped your music?
Malikai: Well, like I said I didn’t have it easy growing up I was homeless a lot and never really had enough money to even live at all. I grew up in extremely violent environments and abuse. All that was around me was negativity, which was in constant combat with my hunger and optimism to better my circumstances. I also come from a long line of Black Activist so I was always aware of the world but even with that I had to take that to the next level. So in my music you hear all of this ….You here about the struggle, you hear about my beliefs, you the get escapism when I push my musical art… you get it all. I have absolutely nothing that is off limits from my style to even my subject matter. I don’t rap the same subject matters of other artist do today I couldn’t do it if I tried because it’s too much I NEED to say.
Your song, “Malikai: Trials of a Youngsta” speaks the hardships growing up. What does this song mean to you? What do you hope people take away from this song?
Malikai: That song I wrote years ago when I first started in 2011 it was based on a true story. Actually, It was based on a series of true stories and I added a few of my life story in it as well. My message with that song is we need to help the youth because we are truly in hell it’s real trials we go through being a youngsta. While your favorite rapper or singer or Instagramer is living it up, it’s many out here living in pure hell.
How young were you when you found music / started rapping?
Malikai: I grew up listening to music. I am a 90s baby so music and entertainment was at its best and it really consumed me and I’m glad it did. I started rapping at 8 years old but not officially as a career until I was 15-16 years old.
Have there been any mistakes in your early career? What have you learned from them as you have become more experienced?
Malikai: Have there been any mistakes? There will always be mistakes in this business because it’s ever-changing but I am glad that I have had only a few. That’s because I studied the business before I even told myself I would do this officially I went to the library and hit the books. Studied all I can and even to this day I’m still learning…. forever learning. I didn’t use YouTube first because I wanted to earn my fan base with hard work and not just get famous from YouTube, Vine, and all that I wanted to earn my fans and build a foundation and it truly is paying off but the mistake I would say is by not using YouTube I had to work harder to maintain credibility because we are so YouTube conscious it doesn’t matter you breaking records if you not on YouTube and got a zillion views it does matter. I am one of the first self-owned artists and I have gained tremendous success with all odds against me with hard work, real talent and by making smart moves even when others don’t understand it.
Who is your favorite artist? What impact do they have on you? Are they motivation?
Malikai: I have so many its no point in naming them all I listen to every type of music from Rock, Hip Hop, Soul, Funk you name it music from the 1960-2002 is my main timeline. All the artists are a part of me I learn from them and I cherish their contribution. Nowadays people get so much notoriety dissing the legends before us that’s because these artists will never be legends themselves and deep down they know it. I honor the shoulders I stand on. That’s why I didn’t want to name any legend because so many I refuse to take anything away from anyone.
What themes or style do you include in your music?
Malikai: Truth and raw, in your face, energy and emotion
I love to tell stories in my music especially of the survivor the person who has all odds against them. The person who thinks deeper than the average person and may feel like they have no place in society yet can be hopeless and optimistic at the same damn time. Then I like to deal with Love, other times Sex, romance, and betrayal.
Then, I could go to the extreme and I love that because I do what I want and the fans love that about me as well. My fans a.k.a. Rebelz know I am the most authentic of all the artists today and that’s what sets me apart from absolutely everyone.
You have been known for helping your community in many projects and initiatives. What are you currently involved with?
Malikai: Over the years I have been involved with many charities and organization literally 100s of causes. I will forever be involved with many causes but my current focus has been my community organizations and programs from Malikai’s Kidz, which I started in 2012 to help mentor at-risk and also fatherless youth from some of the most violent communities. I have a food program I am starting again for low-income single parents and homeless people and the rest is yet to come. I have also always fought against police brutality and racism way before it was popular in media with Black lives matters …way before Trayvon Martin and hundreds of other senseless tragic deaths. It was really hard before 2015 especially being a young social activist and even harder being a Hip-Hop artist that speak on social issues. I was talking about Cops, gang violence, poverty, gun laws you name it in my music while my peers were talking about cranking dances and swaggin’. Now my fans, especially the ones who have been here since day 1, know I’m no puppet I sincerely care about what’s going on and that I’m not out to be involved with causes for fame and I don’t join a cause or movement just because everyone is involved with it if its against my beliefs because I want real results because our children deserve it.
What is your dream project? Or artist(s) to work with?
Malikai: I would love to work with so many artists. I was one of the rare people that got to know Prince before he died and I always wanted to do a project. We talked about it once but we never had the time to begin.
My dream project? You just have to wait and see I would tell you but artist these days steal errrrthang haha.
What the best piece of advice you’ve been given? Based on your own experiences what advice would you give other aspiring artists?
Malikai: You know the funny thing is I haven’t received any advice from artists in the music industry as far as my career is concerned. I always ask the question but its almost like they are scared or reluctant to tell me.
Many of the older artist and people in the industry can be very self-absorbed and they can feel very intimidated by strong energy people especially towards young smart black men. In film, I got the opportunity to work with Denzel Washington on the film “Flight”. Denzel’s advice to me was so real he was like just be yourself and what I have to offer is what someone needs and never be scared to work your way up the latter. I replied, “my motto is there’s no such thing as small roles only small actors and there’s no such thing as a small stage just small rappers. He’ll always be a muse as Kobe says haha.”
What advice I have for aspiring artists? Build your talent. Study. Build your team. Help other artists.
What do you do to prepare for performances?
Malikai: Before I Perform I like to get in the zone so many artists tell me I look like I’m getting ready for a boxing match. I jump around a little say my little motivating mantras and boom, go out and kick ass. Everyone feels my energy it’s contagious
What do you have in store for 2018?
Malikai Takeover! Each year has always been about the takeover. So continue to work hard and keep entertaining my fans like no other. I am working on a few film projects as well as amazing new music I can wait to release I am also going to re-release some of my older music fans been dying to get and keep building my company NEW RULEZ. Also, I have some very important charity work that I can’t wait to showcase to get people involved.
My fans and I are on a true mission to take over the culture and world and change it for the better!
Since I didn’t use YouTube at first we are gearing up for my long awaited YouTube debut, which we plan to make history. My Rebelz (fans) and I are on a mission to takeover every social media app I’m on and get to a million on everything and I believe we can do it …I truly love what’s happen and extremely excited about what’s in store.
The floor is yours, any else you’d like to talk about?
Malikai: Well the only thing I have to say is a message of warning! Get ready. My rebelz and I are coming to take over. We don’t fear anyone or anything. The best thing anyone can do is get out our way!
No longer will we have to endure these artificial artists anymore who break their necks and their ass to say whatever that can make them liked yet only care about the fans when it’s convenient You are either sincere or you not look in the mirror and be yourself …completely!
No longer will we have to endure artists who don’t care about the art. This goes out to all of you disconnected record executives you and your artists days are numbered …tick toc…tic …toc.
The industry has now been taken over! The Culture has now been reborn!
You know everyone speaks of disruption these days because everyone wants to be innovative when they have no clue …This is Disruption to the highest level and I want to thank all the venues, Magazines, Websites, Blogs, Television networks and companies that continue support me over the years thank you I will always support you. I will like to thank all the labels still after me …Goodluck. Thank you to Crunk Energy for this interview.
Most of all I would like to thank my fans you supported me when I had nothing you have seen the superstar I was always destined to be and for that, I thank you and will always love you we succeed together.