In a hip-hop world polarized by bubble gum rap and burdensome consciousness, New York rapper Malachi Grant (formerly known as Merksmilez) is on a mission to find a balance; to bring feel good hip-hop music back to the forefront. He’s not in it for the fame or fortune either; music is his therapy. Every lyric, drum line and flow is a connection to his existence and at the same time is an escape from his reality.
Citing a wide array of musical influences such as LL Cool J, Big L, Rakim, Biggie, Mase, Tupac and Nas, Malachi’s sound walks the border where feel-good music and story–telling meet. It’s soulful sounding and reminiscent of mid-90s Hip-Hop; positive and thought provoking with flows that make you bop your head and punch lines that make you laugh out loud.
In 2009, Malachi released “Just That Ill” a mix tape that earned critical acclaim from blogs, radio and magazines nationwide. With his first full length album to be released this year, Malachi has grown while inspiring others to grow. “The whole purpose of struggling is to be able to grow. Sonically it’s going to be more geared towards the sounds of today. The structure is going to be more contemporary with just a touch of jazz and rock and roll. It’s going to represent where I am today.”
You can play his performance CD, via DJ or audio device.
Sometimes a Band can be used. Drums, wind instruments, and strings
G Ride (Radio Play)
Atlwebradio - Atlanta, GA
Blazin New Music - Cleveland, OH
KDom -DJ Matrix - Tampa, FL
KPTR-FM - Atlanta, GA
Power 92 - Memphis, TN
Pure Sounds Radio - Chicago, IL
The Zone 88.1 FM - Miami, FL
Just That ILL- Promo Album http://www.datpiff.com/Merksmilez_Just_That_ILL.m49988.html
If You With Me- (Music Video)
If You with me (Streaming on YoRaps.com)
I Believe (Streaming on Allhiphop.com)
I Believe (Streaming on Yoraps.com)
Just That ILL (Streaming on YoRaps.com)
You Know My Name (streaming on Whosnextonline.com)
You Know My Name (Streaming on YoRaps.com)
You Know My Name (Streaming on wwsmag.com)
Why I'm Fly (Streaming on Under world mix radio) http://underworldmixradio.com
Just in Time (Get Right Music)
Just in Time ( Digitized Hip Hop)
Malachi Grant – G Ride ft. Dunn Da God
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November 15, 2012 Exclusive Interview Tell us about where you are from and how you got to this...November 15, 2012
Tell us about where you are from and how you got to this position today.
I’m from Peekskill, New York. Through cultivating my talent and love for music I am here today. That’s a lot of writing, recording, networking, performing, branding; it all adds up.
Tell us more about the current song you are promoting to everyone.
Off my upcoming project “Welcome to My World,” “G-Ride” captures the energy of ambition with its heavy knock, bounce, witty bars, and hook that lingers on the mind long after the song is over.
Tell us about one of the hardest challenges you had to face in the industry?
The hardest challenge I’ve faced in this industry is people believing in me. When people believe and want you to win. It’s added pressure when people want you to be the best. Add that pressure to the pressure you put on yourself individually and it can wear on you, if you don’t balance it properly.
What was one of the biggest set backs in your career and how did you bounce back?
I purposely stopped doing my usual aggressive line up of consistent shows so I could focus. Focus on recording this new project. With this project just about wrapped, I’m up to my old tricks.
What are some things artists need to be careful of?
Be careful of who you let in your circle because everyone doesn’t have your best interest in mind.
What suggestions do you have for other artists like yourself?
Don’t invest in everyone’s opinion. Everyone’s opinion doesn’t add value to your music or brand. Figure out who does and build with those people.
What is one of your favorite ways to promote yourself and your music?
Live Performances. There’s nothing like the crowd’s energy, they’ll let you know if they’re rocking with a song or not. And you get to mingle with the audience, afterwards.
Where can people visit you?
Malachi Grant interviewed on Hip Hop Junkies Atlwebradio
Dec 2012 ...Radio Interview with Atlanta Radio Station Hip Hop Junkies show
JULY 2010 “ARTISTS 2 WATCH”
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Skope: What does it mean to be featured in a music community as diverse as Skope? Merksmilez: It ...Skope: What does it mean to be featured in a music community as diverse as Skope?
Merksmilez: It means my music is appreciated in a diverse atmosphere. In a diverse atmosphere to be spotlighted as an artist to watch is a great accomplishment and representation of the hard working paying off.
Skope: Would you say that the warm summer weather makes you more inspired to create music?
Merksmilez: Well, in general I am inspired by stories and the events that take place around me on a daily basis. I can be inspired by the smallest thing, which allows me to write all year around.
Skope: What is the most exciting aspect of being an independent artist in 2010?
Merksmilez: Freedom major artist usually have restraints as far as deadlines to submit a finished project that sometimes can affect the productivity of an artist if the deadline isn’t reasonable for what the artist is attempting to create.
Skope: What other bands & musicians are you listening to right now?
Merksmilez: Eminem, Nas and Damien Marley, Kanye, Alicia Keys, Trey Songs the list goes on including independent artist as well as major artist in the equation.
Skope: Has the Internet leveled the playing field between indie & major label artists?
Merksmilez: Definitely, music communities such as Skope are a testament to that in it. Artist of today rely on the internet to reach their audience. With different creditable sources online those audiences are reached and validate the artist’s ability. A big internet presence within your music translates to a multitude of opportunities for your music career.
Skope: What is coming up for you and where can readers learn more about you?
Merksmilez: I am working on my album. I’m picking my first single right now. Trying to perform at as many festivals as possible. You can talk to me on twitter @merksmilez. I have a blog that basically documents my progression www.merksmilez.blogspot.com And of course my EPK is right on Sonicbids.com/merksmilez
New Music Spotlight June 2010 Edition: Merksmilez
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The Hip/Hop poetic mastermind of Merksmilez serves as a great example of how the Hip/Hop industry is...The Hip/Hop poetic mastermind of Merksmilez serves as a great example of how the Hip/Hop industry is growing. Merksmilez weaves masterful tales with his skillful flows that easily showcase the enormous talents of this young artist. In this recent spotlight with our Webzine, Merksmilez sounds off about his music and what fans can look forward to from him in the near future.
Isaac: Let’s get started with this interview. When and how did you first become interested in music? How long have you been playing music?
Merksmilez: I’ve been interested in music since when I was young and my mom would play her records. I just love the sounds, melodies, emotions connecting me to the music. I’ve be playing instruments since 3rd grade and writing songs since 8th grade and doing hip-hop music seriously for the past 5 years.
Isaac: Who would you say are your biggest musical influences and why?
Merksmilez: Funny thing is my biggest musical influence has nothing to do with music, it’s my Grandfather. He told me to be honest with myself when doing anything and represent who I am truthfully. Told me I was a dreamer, and that it takes hard work to make dreams come.
Isaac: What has been the greatest highpoint in your career so far?
Merksmilez: I feel like I’m at the highest point right now, honestly. This album is shaping up extremely well. I have the right people around me to assistant in the everlasting pursuit to the top. I’m in a good groove.
Isaac: What has been the greatest disappointment in your career so far? What did you learn from that experience?
Merksmilez: When I was getting ready for a show with information on the crowd that’s going to be there and picking songs for my set better suited for that crowd. Only to get there and see the crowd is different from the information and I only was prepared for that one type of crowd. The crowd gave me energy and liked the music. But I know if I did a different set it would have been more magical. From that, I come prepare for a number of different crowds.
Isaac: What draws you to want to play the type of music that you do?
Merksmilez: It is fun and watching how people relate and react to the music makes it worth so much more to me.
Isaac: What do you feel it takes to play this type of music that you play?
Merksmilez: I’d have to say talent, creativity and intense work-ethic to become the most skilled creative Talent. It takes a love for the music to do it right.
Isaac: What do you think you will create that will make your performances and who you are stand out in the music industry?
Merksmilez: It would have to be a body of work that showcases me as one of the most skilled creative talents currently out.
Isaac: If you had the opportunity to do one cover, what cover would you do and why? How would you put your own spin on this cover?
Merksmilez: That’s a good question, hmm well I’m going to step out of hip-hop and say Usher’s ‘Nice and Slow,’ because that song is fun and at the same time smooth. To put my own spin on it, I’d probably make it a bit more light hearted and fun with more bounce in the song energy, while keeping the smooth element of the song that makes it stand out to me.
Isaac: What does it take to be a good songwriter?
Merksmilez: I would say the ability to convey their passion and thoughts through their lyrics. Experiment lyrically and musically in their writing style to complement their unique strengths.
Isaac: How difficult is it to juggle music, family and work obligation, and life in general? Explain.
Merksmilez: Extremely, you may miss family events for music or vice versa. You could burn yourself at both ends going to work 9-5 and doing shows, going to the studio etc from 6pm-2am. Something is likely to suffer. In general, I believe you should enjoy your life and make time for yourself. Play video games with friends or basketball do something else other than music and relax. Then get right back to music etc.
Isaac: What is your definition of being an Indie artist/band?
Merksmilez: To me hands on everything! Learning everything! Grassroots development! In this Digital Era, an Indie Artist can appear to be a Major Artist/Band with the right development/Marketing Strategy/Presence. So I’d Say Grassroots Development and Hands on Everything!
Isaac: Where can fans access your music online?
Isaac: In five years…….
Merksmilez: I will be pushing my talent and skills to the limitless limit, experimenting with new sounds and developing new artist.
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Merksmilez’s lyrical ability encompasses a fresh style with an early ’90s rap renaissance vibe an in...Merksmilez’s lyrical ability encompasses a fresh style with an early ’90s rap renaissance vibe an inter-changeable flow for the new millennium. People are drawn to him because of the lyrical content and messages within his music.
MUSIC UP CLOSE WITH JANIE – DEC/JAN 2009
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Well, hey, Merksmilez, it looks like you’re getting a refresh from our bartender. All of you should ...Well, hey, Merksmilez, it looks like you’re getting a refresh from our bartender. All of you should really keep an eye this young hip-hop artist from Yonkers. His debut album, Just That ILL, was released this summer and shows off this young talent’s chops. Not only is he a recording artist, but he’s also an entrepreneur, operating Ill View Incorporated, a management company designed to promote elitist artists who offer a positive, healthy image that is inspiring to today’s youth. This young man is going make his mark in the music industry and impact today’s young people. Happy Holidays, Merksmilez, I’ll catch you later.
Next 2 Blow Merksmilez - Just That ILL
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It's not everyday that a rapper is fortunate to absorb his environment then voraciously spew content...It's not everyday that a rapper is fortunate to absorb his environment then voraciously spew content worthy of praise. Merksmilez is Bronx bred and fed with a mission to supply the opposite of ordinary. Hip hop captured this MC very early on as he used it as an educational device to teach himself to read. With those lessons Merks would go on to earn a degree majoring in business law from Temple University. Feeling more empowered he drew nearer to his musical roots and started a management company called Illview which began to piece together his hip hop legacy.
Merksmilez is a rapper with a head on his shoulders and his music showcases exactly this point. Merks is spiritually connected and wishes to convey his message through every potent song. His introspective will leap from the both directly to listeners conscious for a solid blend, the results can be found within his latest creative project Just That Ill. Merksmilez ambitious skills have laid a foundation that will carry him further than he even could have ever suspected. Yo! Raps recently connected with Merksmilez to find out his true agenda.
It's been said that one word used to describe you is tenacious. Has being so firm ever led you to making a bad decision in your career?
One time! [Laughs] I depended on some people to make something happen for me, and then they backed out. So I had a choice, make it happen on my own or focus on something different. I chose to make it happen by myself and I did. But in hindsight focusing on a new plan would have been better. But at the end of the day no one is going to know that but me [laughs].
Now I've heard about people using different models in rap music for educational purposes. I'm told that you used hip hop as a format towards learning how to read, can you elaborate?
Well, the way I was being taught how to spell and read all sounded like rhyming to me. My step dad would have us spell and he always did words that rhymed. He'd say a word you'd spell it. If you got it wrong, he'd get the Big Fat Belt [Laughs]. It isn't even funny, but it is when I think about it. Anyway, I didn't want to get it wrong so when he asked, I spelled every word and didn't let him ask me another word (i.e. r-a-t rat, c-a-t cat etc.) Plus, I would hear hip hop music where people rhymed saying slick stuff and that just made me want to know those words so I could do that too. So I pushed to improve my spelling and reading.
You have a very unique stage name, Merksmilez. How did such a name come to be placed upon your head?
I got that from my dude Rosco Young Jersey #13 [laughs], back in high school. I needed a screen name for AOL Instant Messenger and he came up with Merksmilez. It came from 2 nicknames I had; Drama, because of negative situations I would be associated with, and Smiley because people thought I smiled a lot. So he said Merk because I handled my drama and Smilez because I do smile a lot.
So you graduated from Temple University, which is a very huge accomplishment under your belt. What type of leverage do you feel your degree brings to the table as an artist working in a genre where many successfully acts have been high school drop outs?
Well I have more experiences to pull off than just high school and the world after high school that I can conceptualize into songs. I would be able to connect with more people at the start of my career than a high school dropout. I could be looked at as a role model possibly, to encourage kids to go to college and graduate. An artist that graduated from college, says, "Go to college and finish," always has a bigger impact than those saying it but haven't.
Your degree is in Law and during these harsh economical times it could be argued that there is more financial security in pursuing something in your educational background so why still be an artist?
Because I love music, and it is my #1 passion; Trailing behind at #2 is Law [laughs]. I feel I can express myself the most when I am challenging my creativity. There are no limits creatively with music. With law there are creative limits. Besides, I can become a lawyer at any age. With being a music artist you have a shrinking window of opportunity as you get older.
Philly has always had its own aspiring musical blend. While living there did you pick up any new influences or traits that you've infused into your own project?
Yea of course, subconsciously my flow changed. It's weird because I tried all these different flows just because I wanted to be versatile. And that speed flow, sounding like you not taking a breath is the flow that fits me best. I can best describe it through an artist; Eminem's flow after speeding it up on Drake's Forever song. Only I do it at a slower pace. I had to live in Philly to perfect it, and I came to Philly to get an education. [laughs]
So you're from New York, what do you think makes a New York MC be able to stand out in hip hop?
A New York MC will stand out mostly for their lyrical content more than anything else. But more importantly than that is the respect they get from other New York MCs. In all honesty respect gives you power and that power creates opportunity. Opportunity of course can lead to success. With all the history in terms of hip-hop New York MCs have made, the bar gets raised when being a new MC from New York.
As a new artist from New York, you have to bring something new and exciting to the table; Style, flow, aurora, perspective, something fresh. You have to be able to hold your own next to New York's elite or cause debates that you can! Honestly, if you're not strong enough to compete with the best...you really don't matter.
You're an avid performer what elements do you try to incorporate into your stage show to make sure your audience gets the most out of each performance?
The crowd, I feel a crowd can never truly enjoy a performance if they don't feel a part of it. I might make jokes, call and response, inspiration of the song, pulling someone from the crowd. There are many ways but the crowd is your most important element of your performance. A great crowd will create your greatest performance. But every crowd is great you just have to work it right.
What musical projects do you currently have on your plate?
Well right now I'm promoting my promo album, Just That Ill. It's free dining for your ears [smiles]. I'm also working on my new album. All the songs are already written, I'm just seeing which songs will make the cut and what production will make the final cut. I have a lot of material to choose from so I'm just taking my time. Other than that, looking to collaborate on some other peoples projects.
What inspires the content and message behind your music?
My life inspires the content on every song. When you hear the album, Just That Ill I'm just briefly walking you through my life to show you why I'm ill. From environment conditions, memories, relationships, anger, jokes, happiness and saying thank you. It's only real if comes from something real within me, that creates my content conceptually. The message is my perspective while considering an opposing perspective.
You have a management company Illview, how did that come into existence?
I wanted to bring together my two interests law and music. My mentor and Legal Counsel for Illview supplied me with the questions. Once I provided the answers he helped me establish the company. It took me some time gathering the artist focusing on a direction etc., but nothing great happens overnight. There are no exceptions its time to work!
Your roster at Illview is described as traditional and non-traditional so let the people know what they can expect from the people you represent.
You can expect a lifestyle of quality, quality artist and quality art from a different perspective. A different perspective through art, through singers, rappers, producers, photographers etc.
What is the single most challenging fact that you have encountered as an artist who is also working to help other artist be discovered?
I would have to say ambition. The ambition and energy I am willing to put into an artist to help them get discovered is the same as I would for myself as an artist. But everyone isn't as driven and focused to make it happen. If you are an artist and your manager puts more energy into getting you discovered than you do, you're hustling backwards. Same thing goes for the artist putting more in than the manager.
Do you feel lucky to be heading towards a solid career in hip hop, or is it just fate at its best placing you where you simply belong?
I feel lucky to be blessed with all my musical talents I have and the ambition to pursue them. It honestly felt like luck with the things in the beginning but after steadily growing it feels like it could be fate. No one is that lucky. I'm all for it [smiles] if a bit of luck and a bit of fate is the key to success; I pray I have enough to reach the top [laughs].
In the end let the people know where they can find you online...
My website is being developed right now. But I'm on Twitter at www.twitter.com/merksmilez
- By Sha'Linda Jeanine
Merk Smilez - Real Hip Hop
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1. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? I see myself making great impressionable music, building...1. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I see myself making great impressionable music, building my brand, having my company illview Inc. completely established. Illview is a management company for traditional and non-traditional talent. So i would be introducing new innovative artist/products to the industry. Five years from now let’s sit down again. I can show you better than I can tell you, you know.
2. What’s playing in your mp3 and car at the moment?
I’m playing a lot of productions that I am considering to use on my new album, mainly. But you can hear Andre3000, Jada, Fabolous, Eminem, R&B, dancehall, bachata, etc. I’m listening to anything that might inspire me.
3. Who is your favorite rapper (besides yourself)?
Besides myself, haha! I’m not my favorite rapper. My favorite rapper is actually mutual individuals for reason specific to niche. Intense lyricist like Az, Nas, Big L, Eminem, Biggie, Jada, L.O.X., Outkast, LL Cool J, earlier Mase, Mos Def, Tupac. All these artist have had rewind factor from their lyrics. Not all as commerically successful but all have an incredible catalogue.
4. What have been your best and worse experiences in the game?
The best experiences have been the completion of a heavy task like the promo Album "Just That ILL" Video "If You With Me" having my music placed on allhiphop.com every step forward is a new best experience the newer one outdoing the previous one.
The worse experiences have been having people around you that are only there for the ride and don't push anything forward but rather hold things back. Having to remove those individuals in order to make things move faster and smoothly. All those individuals are different types of people with different stories (Artists, friends, Family, producers promoters etc.). But I am sure you get the gist of the explanation. You got to stay focused anything that detours your focus needs to addressed so it doesn't happen again.
5. Who has been the best producer to work with thus far?
I'm going to have to say illview Inc. producer illphil. He produced most of the beats on my promo album, "Just That ill". I will be using some of his productions for my new album as well. As well as from other producers to convey the theme of the album
6. If you could sign to any label right now which do you see as the best fit for you?
That's a tough question....hmm.. Well It all relies on the understanding of my vision for my music with the labels vision for my music. The label has to believe in me as an artist and willing to put forth the needed energy to make my music imprint the world. I just need to feel like I can continue to be myself in general, and business must make sense for a label to be the right label for me.
7. How can people contact you for booking?
You can contact my Assistant Tiffany Timmons at firstname.lastname@example.org for booking.
link to interview http://str8fromdagutta.ning.com/profiles/blogs/merk-smilez-real-hip-hop
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