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"Malicious Battles For Montreal's Rap Scene"

MONTREAL — Local rapper/producer Malicious caught many Canadian hip-hop fans off-guard with impressive music videos for "Heavy M-T-L/Yuk," "Heatwave" and "Breakfast," and now the self-proclaimed "Canadian Kanye West" is aiming to become one of Canada's premier rappers with his Music Starts With M debut album.

Malicious has been a hometown fixture for several years as a member of Offsides and as a freestyling champion, but he hopes his new album will result in something else starting with 'M' — mainstream success.

"Most people didn't expect something of that calibre coming from Montreal," the 28 year old (real name Shaun Gibbons) says. "They were wondering if I was from Ottawa or Toronto."

It can be difficult for a Montreal rapper to achieve local success, especially without an urban radio station, and Mr. Malish is even further behind the eight-ball as an anglophone MC. He's honest about his assessment of Montreal hip-hop and the adversity he faces in emerging from the underground local scene. Malicious and his crew at ODoubleF Records (the label wing of the Offsides hip-hop collective) plan to provide a familiar party hip-hop sound to the masses while retaining their Montreal roots.

"What people know about Montreal is there are a lot of great lyricists here — people who are about their lyrics — and a lot of dope underground MCs," says Malicious. "But it's not necessarily by choice they're underground since they haven't had a chance to break.

"This is an opening for me to show the rest of Canada because there hasn't been a lot of anglophone Montreal representation."

Malicious says one of the main reasons the scene has remained in the shadows is the overall lack of full-length LPs from anglophone Montreal MCs, putting them behind their francophone counterparts.

On Music Starts With M, the first video and the track that best exemplifies his new direction is "Heavy M-T-L," which Malicious says is his lyrical statement about Montreal making moves as a viable international hip-hop scene. Musically, it acts as an ode to the city's rock music history. The video, which combines the song with the track "Yuk," was directed by RT and shot at the city's Old Port and rock club Foufounes Electriques. "Heavy M-T-L" also stands out for its lyrics about Quebec's sovereignty issue and the lack of hip-hop exposure on Montreal radio.

"It's all fuel for the tank," Malicious says. "We don't have a Flow 93.5 and we don't get that Mix [96] love, so we have to work double hard.

"You have to find different ways of being seen out of there. I've had to go on MusiquePlus and battle French rappers."

—Erik Leijon

- Chart attack Magazine

"The Run-Off Groove #185"

Hip-hop has a beginning, and despite the naysayers, the music and community are far from dead. According to Malicious, music started somewhere too and in his case, Music Stars With M (OdoubleF).

The thing about rap music is that when someone asks about what's good, you can't just offer five suggestions and go. People want specifics, and the more specific they get, sometimes the further away it gets from what they originally were searching for. Malicious offers the kind of music that people have been looking for for years, and continue to look for because of one simple aspect: a skill in spitting lyrics. Yes my friends, we have a lyricist here, and not just a casually thrown out tag just because he speaks over music, I'm talking about a pride in wordology, a talent in verses, a... yeah, this is that cat you thought would be left in hiding somewhere in the back of the demolished record store. No.

On this 18-track album, Malicious (or Mr. Malish to some) proves again that when it comes to proving that you have what it takes to be an MC, you don't need to costumes or endorsement deals. What you need is intelligence and a knowledge of how to structure songs. Song titles like "Yuk", "Breakfast", "Now", "Reign", "Pimp", "Gameday" and "Walk Alone" seem very basic from the outside, with primarily one or two word titles (two tracks have three words). That gift of gab that fans are hungry for are to be found inside, with such tentative gems as The use of my language is labeled outlandish/Devour tracks whether I'm full or I'm famished/Each grip can eclipsed one verse and you banish/Faster than Jared and a Subway sandwich ("Top 3").

For anyone who is a fan of true rappers, and not just people who speak because they can, this is an album worth investigating. Musically he covers a lot of ground, where tracks might band like M.O.P., have sped up samples in the vein of Kanye West, shades of the South and the West, there is truly something here for any and all tastes. Malicious also had a hand in most of the production, so this is someone who know what's he want out of his music and knows how to execute a great performance. In fact, as I listened to the album a number of times, I can already sense that he knows how to rock a crowd, make great jams, and how to move his music to an anthemic level. This is that MC you've been waiting for.

(Music Starts With M is available from CDBaby.)
- John Book

"Beats and Rhymes"

Music Starts with M
By Neil Acharya

Montreal’s Malicious certainly knows exactly what he has to do to make it big in today’s rap game. His debut album, Music Starts with M, contains tracks heavy with hooks and he even has a sleek new video for one of his singles entitled “Breakfast.” There are plenty of cuts about generic themes that could make one think that this is no different from a standard mainstream rap album. However, Malicious takes a step back every now and then, allowing his creativity and perspective on life to break through. Malicious seemingly wants Music Starts with M to purvey that he’s no studio rapper, that he can be a contemporary MC that can draw deep from within and spit personal rhymes, not only rapping about the club but performing in it as well. His shout out to Mr. Smith prior to the opening lines of “Breakfast” is not only paying respect to LL Cool J but perhaps it may actually be more of an homage to someone he can see himself being likened to one day. Malicious’s album is described as “running the gamut from club, radio, party bangers to serious street infused joints.” While this will certainly give him the initial exposure he covets, how that translates over time remains to be seen. (OdoubleF) - Exclaim Magazine


2006-Heavy M-T-L (heavy Metal) (ep)
2006-Heat Wave (ep)
2007-Music Starts with M (Lp)



Montreal native Malicious (a.k.a Mr. Malish) is no stranger to the “game”. The unassuming rapper (of Barbadian descent) was already making waves at age fifteen, when he won a freestyle challenge, over hip hop icon Jeru The Damaja, which brought him rave reviews in The Source and caught the ear of industry heavyweights like Russell Simmons.

On his own at sixteen, the “undisputed Montreal freestyle king” has previously had a US single release. The joint “Take Off” was well received in major urban centers such as New York, Detroit and Chicago.
He also spent time as a member of legendary outfit “Offsides”. The group toured Canada and Asia to support their full-length release “Foul Language”, in fact the first single “2def” (produced by Malicious) received heavy video rotation on Much Music, MTV Canada (Top Ten Most requested) and MTV Asia.

No stranger to hard work, Mr. Malish, lists his cousin, the infamous R-Kade and Prince as his two major inspirations. He writes and produces all of his material and is busy putting the finishing touches to his debut album, which is due out fall 2K6.
This “labour of love” is aided by the Odoublef family, which includes super djs Team Canada (who also contribute on production as well as scratches) and Soldier Management (The General Trent).
A crack team has been assembled to bring this project to fruition. Mix duties are being handled by Tyson (Canada’s premiere knob twiddler) and the video for the first single Heavy M-T-L (Heavy Metal)/Yuk was directed by “hot shot” RT (Randall Thorne).
Both tracks are garnering strong support at radio and the video clip has been added to national music channels Much Music & Much Vibe.

Malicious is ready for the “payoff”! Constantly proving his worth, one only has to check out his My Space site, which has accumulated over 100,000 hits (the only other independent hip hop act to achieve this feat was Swollen Members).

Besides working on his own project, Mr. Malish masterful skills will also be featured on the forthcoming Grand Theft release. Although it’s hard to find down time for “your rapper’s favorite rapper”, he tries to get to his property in Barbados as often as possible. There, he writes a lot of his music and rejuvenates his mind.

“Selfishly holding down the new sound in hip hop”