Below Tha Surface
Gig Seeker Pro

Below Tha Surface


Band Hip Hop


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Former OU Student Creates Some Sooner Sound"

Former OU student creates some Sooner sound
Rapper Mala supports OU with a song called "Sooner Bounce."

November 22, 2004

Radio station 102.7 FM (KJ 103) is making noise with a former OU student’s song.

“Sooner Bounce” is promised to feel like no other OU song, rap artist Mala said.

Sooner Bounce debuted on KJ 103 Oct. 21 after a morning show disc jockey went crazy over it.

“We heard it and said, ‘This is cool. We’ve got to put this on the radio,’” T.J., disc jockey for KJ 103, said.

Mala is the mind and voice behind the song. He lives in Atlanta and is a former marketing student at OU. He moved to Atlanta to pursue a career in hip-hop music. He received a B.A. in marketing at Georgia State. Mala said doing the song seemed like a natural thing to do, since he considers himself a huge OU fan.

“I’ve been an OU fan my whole life. I grew up going to the games, and since I’m out here in Atlanta, I can’t really go to the games,” he said.

He said he frequents a bar where OU alumni go to watch the games.

“...It’s just like being at home,” he said. “There’s usually about 50 to 100 people.”

T.J. received the song from a featured host for KJ 103. Jason Black hosts a weekly segment called “Jason at the Movies,” in which he reviews upcoming movies. Black is a high school friend of Mala.

“Mala called me one night with an idea,” Black said. “I called T.J. and said, ‘Hey, I have a friend who’s a legitimate rapper. Would you be interested in playing his song?’”

Black said T.J. was open to the idea and agreed to listen to it.

“As soon as he heard it, he went nuts,” Black said.

He said there have been e-mail and phone requests for the song.

Mala is part of a two-man group called Below Tha Surface. He said they consider their sound and presence to be like the Beastie Boys.

“When people look at a new artist they have to associate them to make sense,” he said. “We’ve got a whole lot of energy on stage. They say we are like the Beastie Boys.”

The guys have opened for such acts as Lil John, Nappy Roots and Run DMC, before Jam Master Jay’s death.

They were featured on a Spike TV reality show this summer called “On the Road with Sugar Ray.” They were in the episode where contestants had to work with unsigned artists. He described the show as “‘The Apprentice’ meets ‘Road Rules.’”

They were on the show “Showtime at the Apollo” two weekends ago. “Showtime at the Apollo” is a talent show where amateur artists perform at the famous Apollo in New York City.

Many stars got their start there, including Billie Holiday, Lauryn Hill and D’Angelo. The show’s Web site claims “the Apollo has maintained its position as the nation’s most popular arena for emerging and established black and Latino performers.”

Mala said he wants “Sooner Bounce” to be huge.

“I want, by the time the championship rolls around, when all the OU people are ready to go, that ‘Sooner Bounce’ will be the 2004-2005 anthem for OU football,” Mala said.

“Sooner Bounce” can be downloaded for free at
- Oklahoma Daily

"Atlanta Hip-Hop Group Arrested"

When hip-hop rap artist Nelly performed in concert at the Atlanta Civic Center; outside the venue, independent Hip-Hop group Below Tha Surface diligently promoted their new album release "Push Play."

At approximately 7:30pm the night of the concert, Atlanta police seized the hip-hop group Below Tha Surface in the midst of hanging promotional posters for their album. Police confiscated the hip-hop group's posters and flyers, and arrested them on site. A court date was set for Friday, April 29th, 2005 at the Atlanta courthouse.

Their record company, 10th Planet Productions, issued the following statement then: "It's unfortunate for Below Tha Surface, but we fully support their driven efforts to promote their own album release. They have a lot of character and aren't too proud to get out in the streets to generate a buzz for themselves. We're confident that the court hearing will go well on Friday."

Note to independent artists in Atlanta: It's against Section 138-60 to put up your posters to promote your album.

The sentence? “The sentence handed to us as a result of our arrest the week before was…..16 hours of community service! Yep, we have 30 days to complete it, or we go to the slammer for 30 days”; according to the groups web site.

Below Tha Surface has built a strong following in the Southeast, known for their clever, humorous rhymes and energetic stage performance. They have scored appearances on Showtime at the Apollo, Spike TV, and Earthlink television commercials. The group's first single, "Southern Belle," which features Scales from Nappy Roots, is already making a lot of noise in the clubs and college stations in the Southeast. "Push Play" was released in early April, and is experiencing strong sales for an independent release.

""Push Play" Review"

Question: What rap duo got in trouble and sent to jail trying to promote their new album? Answer: Below Tha Surface

Atlanta Hip-Hoppers, Below Tha Surface were arrested while promoting their independent release, Push Play. Mala, the leader of the group, and his partner- in-crime (both on stage and on the streets of Hotlanta), Sev- Leven, were sentenced to 30 days in jail, contingent upon completing 16 hours of community service for violating a city code regarding the hanging of posters and banners.

Below Tha Surface are known for their clever hooks, humorous rhymes and energetic stage performance and it's no wonder as to why these two are tearing up the clubs and college stations in the Southeast.

Mala is a crazy lyricist with garage-influenced rhymes that are almost as clean as his rap sheet. In a recent interview with NowOnTour, Mala said, "'Southern Belle', features Scales of Nappy Roots. This song hits all the women that the South represents, everyone from the trailer park to the club circuit."

"3,2,1" lashes out with an Eminem-style rant about haters that percolates with quirky energy and funky style. "It's something that no one's heard before out of Atlanta. It's my favorite song on the album," says Mala.

"Superstar" is an anthem about aesthetically juiced people who have the world wrapped around their finger. But the track "Do It Now," which mines samples from arcade games and techno beats, creates a fusion vision influenced by their days as Nintendo junkies. -

"Post-It Notes"

Local hip-hop duo Below Tha Surface was arrested last week for violating the city code that prohibits hanging posters and banners while promoting the group's recent release, Push Play. At a hearing at the Atlanta Municipal Courthouse, the group was sentenced to 30 days in jail, contingent upon completing 16 hours of community service. After Friday's hearing, group founder Mala said, "It's already hard enough as an independent artist to get your music out and heard by people. This is just another barrier and blockade that will have to be overcome."

On a recent post on its site, the group said, "Being that the CD just dropped and all, we can't afford to take off 30 days wondering if we're going to be violated by other, more muscular men. So please pick up your trash and don't litter, that way we won't have as much to clean up! To think it was all in the name of self-promotion. We still gotta hit the streets to promote, so we may be appearing in a courtroom near you!"
- Creative Loafing

"CD Review of "Push Play""

The idea that Atlanta is the Black Mecca of the south is somewhat misleading; it is the base for the headquarters of Coca-Cola, after all. However, knowing what we know about Black music and its roots in the ATL. For instance, it is the home to Outkast, Usher, So So Def, Lil’ Jon, Eric Sermon, and many, many more groundbreaking and influential outfits like Dallas Austin and The Goodie Mob. So it seems a little on the odd side to picture Caucasian performers from the area.
Well, The cats from Below Tha Surface (Mala—pronounced May-Lay and Sev-Leven) are here to buck a few stereotypes and make sure you understand that its about the music first and not the man (err, men) behind it.

To be honest, the duo actually hail from the mid-east, but have made Atlanta and its hip-hop scene their home for the past several years, racking up an impressive list of credentials; including an appearance on Showtime at the Apollo, opening up for Lil Jon, Nappy Roots and Bonecrusher, and performances at every club and showcase in the city (and surrounding areas).

From this they have cobbled together their debut CD Push Play.

In their own words, taken from the official website ( they have been “compared to the legendary Beastie Boys crew.” This is due mainly to their penchant for party records and a sophomoric sense of humor displayed throughout the album.

However, especially on the first couple of cuts “Full Frontal Nudity” and “3,2,1” thoughts of Vanilla Ice and MC Hammer come immediately to mind. The Ice comment notwithstanding, because these fellas do have more skill behind the mic, they definitely want you to get your Hammer pants on and take it to the dance floors. There is a sense of movement and energy that doesn’t take a break in this 16 track introduction, ending with the ultimate party starter: “The Party Song.”

The album is produced entirely by member Mala, who touts as his influences The Neptunes, Timbaland, Dre and Premiere. But his sound is nothing like any of theirs, nor is there even a danger of confusion. Though, with cuts like “Southern Belle” (featuring Scales from Nappy Roots), a head nodder with an infectious hook that lauds the women of the South, as well as staples like sweet tea and grits, you can hear the hints of genius that are yet to come. In the meantime, be content with rock guitars (ala early Kid Rock) and synthesized Hip-Hop beats that encompass humorous and exciting lyrics, if not especially deep thinking ones.

Hey, these guys have said it themselves; they are here to bring back the fun to a genre that sometimes seems to take itself too seriously, not to change the world. To this end, they succeed; you get party-oriented music delivered earnestly by two very genuine MC’s. And they will make you laugh, despite of yourself.

Below Tha Surface should probably been seen live to really appreciate the essence of their music, but if you should take a moment to peer beneath the skin, you will find a decent debut from honest and talented musicians who just want you to share a bit of the music that inspired them to create. Go ahead and push play.

-D Tha Man, June 17, 2005


(April, 2005) "Push Play"- the debut cd from Below Tha Surface. Features Scales from Nappy Roots and production by Vision (B5 of Badboy). The cd is fun, fun, and more fun. Called "Push Play" because all you have to do it push play on it and party the whole way through it!!


Feeling a bit camera shy


Maybe you saw them on Showtime at the Apollo and thought, “the new Beastie Boys?” That is the legendary Hip-Hop group that perhaps many may tie to Below Tha Surface. Known for their exciting high-energy stage performances and humorous lyrical content, Below Tha Surface takes you back to the time when hip-hop was all about fun. The group consists of two members, Mala (pronounced May-Lay) and Sev-Leven. They are a self-contained group that write and produce all their own material. Originally from the Midwest, the duo moved to Atlanta a few years ago to leave their imprint on the diverse ATL hip-hop sound and the rest of the world.

They recently released their debut cd, "Push Play," a title that resulted from a contest the group held which let their fans name the cd. Shortly after the cd release, Below Tha Surface was arrested outside a Nelly concert in Atlanta for promoting their album. The group was sentenced to several hours of community service for putting up "Push Play" posters.

Their sound is party-oriented with a fusion of East/West/Down South influences spawned from growing up in the Midwest. In addition, they create a unique sound by combining Rock guitars over synthesized Hip-Hop beats. Influences include everybody from old school artists like Beastie Boys, Slick Rick, EPMD, and Run DMC to more contemporary artists like N.E.R.D., OutKast and Ludacris. Mala’s production sound is influenced by the musical likes of Timbaland, Dr. Dre, DJ Premier, Neptunes, and Lil Jon.

Though the group effectively gives the listener and audience a pleasurable experience, they also have a purpose. When asked what “Below Tha Surface” meant, Mala responded that “rather than having people judge us by our flesh tone, look below tha surface and recognize the true essence of our music and enjoy it.” Sev-Leven adds, “When you step into the realm of below tha surface, you can be yourself and free of labels.”

Since being in Atlanta, the group has gained a strong local following by performing at practically every hip-hop club that has doors on it. They’ve been busy winning one talent showcase after another, most notably the Rocket to Fame talent showcase/competition at Earthlink Live in 2003. There, they beat out over 170 pre-screened acts from Hip-Hop, R&B, Rock, Country, Acoustic, Pop, and Alternative genres. Their tremendous appeal has scored them performances at white colleges as well as step shows at black colleges.

Below Tha Surface kicked off 2005 with two incredible performances in Miami before thousands of people at the FedEx Orange Bowl Beach Bash and Miller Lite Orange Bowl Tailgate Party. In addition, Below Tha Surface has opened up for artists such as Run DMC, Lil Jon and the Eastside Boyz, Nappy Roots, Pastor Troy, and Bonecrusher. They've also captured nationwide exposure on TV by making appearances on Showtime at the Apollo, Spike TV, Turner South, and Atlanta cable access shows. Other accomplishments include radio play on WRAS, Atlanta (88.5) with their show-stopping "The Beat Goes."