Back in 2012, aged just 16, Bajan-American rapper Malik Hall, AKA Haleek Maul, was making downtempo, introspective rap probing the sulky, nocturnal musings of adolescence. His languorous flow on that year’s debut EP, Oxyconteen, trudging through each word as his beats reverberated thickly beneath, placed him alongside the likes of Earl Sweatshirt.
Following the 2018 EP In Permanence, Hall now releases his debut album – and it’s clear that his formative teen moodiness is long gone. Stepping into adulthood, Hall pushes his Bajan patois-inflected delivery to the fore of album openers We Wid It and Ceiling Fan. Instead of following Sweatshirt’s trajectory into the paranoid haze of weed-induced flow, on Errol (named after his late grandfather), Hall is energetic and angry. He laments his haters on Ceiling Fan, and provides a paean to the hedonistic party life on the grime-referencing Relax. His voice meanders from the Auto-Tuned crackle of easy-roller Glitching to the gravelly growl of Pretty Colour, as if he’s trying on new styles for a new phase of his life.
Read the review in the Guardian.
[This piece was published on 28/02/20]