Art Is: MaLLY

MaLLy is a McKnight Foundation award winning Hip-Hop artist and entrepreneur from Minneapolis, Minnesota. He has released four critically acclaimed albums, serves as an educator and has toured nationally and internationally alongside Hip-Hop luminaries such as Atmosphere and Brother Ali. With a message rooted in positivity, MaLLy strives to enhance the lives of those that listen to his music.

AIRED: November 12, 2020 | 0:05:34

(cheerful music)

- The journey of healing,

a lot of it is exploring

the depths of one's self.

Taking all of the experiences that you've had,

falling out with friends over racism,

questioning my spirituality,

redefining my masculinity.

And how do I go about examining that

and forge my own path.

And writing and music has been that tool for me,

really being able to use my voice unapologetically,

and just speak openly and honestly.

I think that for me is the healing.

My name is Malik Watkins, also known as MaLLy.

Hip hop artist, entrepreneur,

and educator in the Twin Cities.

(energetic hip hop music)

♪ See I just wanna flow

♪ Flow higher than my peers

♪ Getting away from my kids

♪ Put silence on my ears

♪ Ego the only thing I hear

♪ Go viral go there

♪ Taking all and never shift

- My work is autobiographical in a lot of ways.

And growing up in Minneapolis

and going to a predominantly white private school,

and growing up an only child

and you know, in a single parent home.

And all of those experiences

kind of influencing your work and your empathism

like you have all this experiences that you can pull from.

(cheerful music)

A place where I get the chance to really reflect,

in addition to the studio is the living room.

The living room is like just one of those places

like the hub of generations,

art, music from Harlem Renaissance

to Billie Holiday to John Coltrane.

Everyone I think has the responsibility,

especially when your in art,

tell your story.

I wasn't born at the time.

My grandma always doing some like, you know,

funny artistic thing or finds a way

to like add people to picture or goes to a company.

So she had me added in,

I think I was three in this picture.

So she had me added in into this old photo

and to me that's really sign of love

and they inspire a lot of my work.

I always look at myself as kind of being

a reflection of the investment of the time

that they've put in.

♪ Feels so good flying high

♪ Flying high

♪ Feels so good flying high yeah ♪

♪ Feels so good flying high

♪ Flying high

♪ Feels so good flying high

- When I turn 30 in 2016,

My wants and needs as an artist has started to shift.

Some of the things like staying up late, drinking,

it has just got old.

So I decided you know,

let me try something different.

(cheerful music)

You know when it come to calming ground

and get into meditation and mindfulness

It felt right.

It felt right to be able

to sit with yourself and observe yourself.

And also deciding,

just not wanna have alcohol anymore too.

'Cause I just realized how I wasn't fueling my art

and once that was removed,

I was able to kinda look at

everything else with a clear mind.

And it has influenced my work.

I've been able to be more intentional about song writing.

That's been a really beautiful part of the process,

to not be afraid,

to face some of those things in the past

that I may have been hesitant to touch on.

You know questioning existence,

questioning where I'll end up one day as an artist

and really like leaning into that.

(cheerful music)

I think writing this last album

really got me into enjoying coffee.

Something about having coffee

and having my computer or having a notebook

and just my phone or instrumentals

and just being able to just listening to the music

and figure out, what is this saying to me?

I always looked at writing a song is always a conversation.

(cheerful music)

I'm a type of artist that loves to live

and then come back to the writing experience.

If I'm paying attention to myself

I'm dealing with these things

it has created this other level of empathy

and me too, to look at other people and say,

we are a part of this thing, you know.

So knowing that has really inspired

and influenced me to wanna get closer to those things.

So I spend a little more time outside

and just hear life.

And really be a part of that

and contribute to that as well.

♪ Who am I little guy

♪ Not known for losing

♪ Got every non-believer

♪ Screaming out there hallelujahs ♪

♪ I'm making art for the living ♪

♪ Because dead can't do it

♪ I've wrapped the circle around these dummies ♪

♪ That's my revolution

♪ We still bouncing

(cheerful music)

- I tend to be a introspective person

that looks back a lot

where were I was at five years ago?

Or ten years ago?

I want people to see that the music

isn't just about more so about me,

but it's more so about uplifting people.

Not only through celebrating the positives in life

but also to heal or to face things

to really look at the so called monsters

or the demons that you deal with.

And write about them and share my own perspective

on how I made it through and hopefully that

it offers some inspiring messages to other people

to make it through as well.


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