Mally Stakz represents the mercurial nature of genre blending music that has been taking over the industry for sometime now. Not pinned down by any one genre in particular, Mally Stakz, born Jamal to an American mother from the south and a father from the islands of Jamaica, maintains that unique perspective in his music. Check out the exclusive interview with the Bronx based artist.
Where you at right now?
I’m in my crib. I’m in the Bronx right now.
You came up in the Bronx right?
What’s your earliest memory of music?
It would probably be my mom playing Whitney Houston. She loved Whitney Houston.
What about Whitney touched you?
I saw how her music touched people. Even when I was young, even if I didn’t understand what she was saying… the sound and the frequencies, they felt good to play, to hear.
When was the moment in time you started to take your career seriously?
When I first got booked. They hit my manager Chantz. I got booked to go perform on ESPN down in Miami in 2011, 2010.
That was with YND Zoo… tell me a little bit more about that.
That’s my team, that’s my squad. Couple independent artists. I do music. He does fashion. We’re all from the Bronx. We all came up together.
Tell me about the song “Stuck On You”?
That song is dope. Produced by Hasemi. It’s a good vibe song. Everybody’s doing different type of music. I feel like that vibe.
How do you think your music became so versatile?
Basically growing up and experiencing different things, being around different things. My mother’s from the South, my father’s from the Island. Growing up in a very diverse family.
How did you meet French Montana?
The first time I met French was at the beginning of my career. My manager, we went to a show. They were just cooling. He introduced me. It was just cool from there. We just chopped it up, regular. Everybody is doing their thing. It was quick.
How did you link up with Shot by Cisco?
Through Instagram. That’s my boy, he’s from Brooklyn.
Do you look up to Fat Joe as a mentor?
All the older rappers, not all of them but most of them, are almost like mentors. I’m trying to learn from them.
What’s the first thing you do when you get in the studio?
I like to just turn up the music. Turn up whatever I’m vibing to. I like the music loud. It’s almost like you can see the sound, it’s crazy.
Is there a specific studio you record in NY?
Not anywhere specific. I record all over NY.
What is that a NY artist has to do stand out?
Well… I don’t feel specifically as a NY artit but as an artist, just be yourself. We’re all on the road. if you see somebody on their road, it might look better but we all have separate roads and separate lanes. You can’t go and follow somebody you see because you’re getting off your route. Now it’s going to take longer for you to go where you want to go, where God wanted you to go, since you wanted to take a detour.
How big are you on collaborating?
I’m not new to collaborating. I really like writing. I wrote a lot coming up before I was in the spotlight. It’s all about the vibe. If the artist is dope it can’t be nothing but greatness created.
What’s inspiring you lately?
I think just the process. Not getting what I want. Just things going wrong.
Your song “Save Me” — how important is mental health awareness to you?
You have to have music like that. Sometimes I feel like that and I want to make music like that. I just end up listening to my music. I found a lane. It’s organic. It wasn’t planned to do this. I’m just doing me, speaking on my situations.
Who was the first person to give you the name Mally Stakz?
My name is Jamal. Mally comes from that. Stakz just came later on. Mallachi is a funny nickname. They started calling me that in the studio.
How did you link up with FKI 1st?
That’s my boy. He came to NY and we were in the same studio. He heard my stuff, I heard his stuff. I heard his music, everything with Post Malone, he’s a young dude from another side of the US, we just cooked. It made sense. He came back again, we did the video, it was dope.
How do you balance your remixes and your originals?
If I do a remix, I have to really be feeling it. As far as my original songs, I try and keep those relevant too. People gravitate more towards covers sometimes and they forget that you’re a good artist overall, that it’s not just that one song they like.
Who are your favorite artists outside of rap?
I’m into everything, man. I like Bieber, Bruno Mars. That’s what I’m trying to be like. His music, his shows, his vision is fire. Drake, Meek Mill, Jay-Z, Kendrick. Yeah, man. I’m inspired by a lot. Almost everything around me. Good or bad.
You have been making music in NY for a while — what’s the best thing about being an artist from NY in 2018?
The best thing… is that you’re from New York, period. The light is shining on New York a little bit more.
What’s your favorite thing about the music industry today?
I’ve been around for a little minute. I feel like I have a different view rather than other artists. It has to be the simplicity. Once you really understand it, it’s not as difficult as you think. In a sense, it still is very difficult.
How many songs are in the vault?
Thousands. I have songs with a lot of producers. I hold onto everything until it’s the right timing. Nowadays this world is so digital, everything has to be timed right.
What’s a recently written lyric you’re proud of?
I don’t really write too much. I just express myself. I know what I think. But a line that I recently recorded… “Just be careful what you ask for”. That’s a video that dropped before. It’s called “Ask For”, it’s out now.
What could you tell your 18 year old self today?
I would tell him that you know. You know. Don’t worry. Don’t second guess your feelings, you know.
What’s next for you?
I’m keeping it going. I’m going to LA soon. More videos, more singles. I got the new song “Box To Boom” with Fat Joe. Just heating up and getting people to anticipate my bodies of work like my mixtapes, my albums. I have a whole bunch of music that’s coming this year.