When looking from the outside, one may not understand why MaLLy's 2012 album "The Last Great" gained the critical praise and focus it did. But, for those who listened to the album it was not a surprise: MaLLy is a breath of fresh air for the already capitol rap scene during arguably the golden age of Minnesota rap.
Yes, Brother Ali released his most overtly political record to date, P.O.S. released arguably his best record, and I Self Devine had a triumphant return to the music scene he so wonderfully influenced, but could the year have been so wonderfully rounded without a true introduction of one of Minneapolis' strongest up and coming emcees? After making an excelled appearance at "Soundset" 2011, MaLLy went into writing what would eventually become "The Last Great..." with his producer The Sundance Kid--the two met through friends.
Sundance has been with the emcee since about 2010 and, as MaLLy says, he may only have about four years of production experience under his belt, but is experienced beyond his years. "Sometimes I wanna say he's ahead of his time. I think if you give him two or three more years--maybe less--he'll be considered a top dude," says the emcee.
Aside from the sheer sonic impressiveness of the production, there is this lyrical and tonal honesty when coming across "The Last Great". Unlike the three albums mentioned earlier, MaLLy's effort isn't so politically overt. There is scarcely any obvious theme connecting the songs together in such fervor.
The influence is wide and sometimes abrupt--one instance going from the borderline club-banger "Bounce" featuring Rapper Hooks (Formerly Truth Be Told) to the political uncompromising "Unplugged" featuring the one and only Brother Ali--being a pallet of hip-hop. But, with every passing song one similar topic passes through: the importance of MaLLy's family, values, and personality, all without sounding preachy.
It ranges from very personal songs to not as personal, but even in those songs I still incorporate my values and beliefs; when you do that tastefully without coming across as preachy I think it can be a force to be reckoned with... faith, family, and friends were huge... I wanted them to hear something to be proud of.
His eyes lit, a big grin across his face, and a thoughtful notice in his mind, he acknowledged the potential his future can bring:
There is a guy named John P. Kee who used to be a gospel singer--he's a reverend now--who released an album with a song that said 'we walk by faith, not sight.' I like that quote because when you go through trials and tribulations a lot of things will come your way--nothing is perfect--because if we went off wheat we saw, we might as well stay at home and believe life can't turn around.
It is this sense of driving faith that gives the underlying power of his album. It's a potential that can give not just he, but the entire music scene another classic album from an honest, but accessible emcee.
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