Mally Mall AKA Jamal Rashid has been at the helm of chart-crushing productions with acts ranging from Usher to Snoop Dogg to Drake and Justin Bieber. For over a decade, he's operated as a behind-the-scenes figure, keeping the blood pumping through mainstream hip-hop. In the past year, he's stepped in front of the mic, releasing tracks like "Wake Up In It" with French Montana, Pusha T and Sean Kingston. Even further, his close relationship with Justin Bieber has allowed him a rare insight into the mind of a kid who has captured our imaginations, for better or worse. Stereotude caught up with him in his L.A. studio to pick the brain of this master of the game.
How has being behind-the-scenes prepared you for stepping out as an artist?
I always liked being behind-the-scenes until this year I decided to start showing more, exposing more. A lot of artists nowadays think you can just have one song, it's a hit, and you become an artist. It doesn't work like that. You have to have your viral, your ground, your business, your structure. People started looking at me like a Khaled, but on a different level in terms of putting songs and people together. I don't want to be an artist like Drake or Tyga, I wanna be more like that navigator who puts people in songs, jumps on the tracks, do a hook, 12 bars, executive producing and featuring. Putting a collab of dope artists together. Like, Sean and Tyga, French, Pusha T had never worked together before.
The role of producer has become a lot more prominent over the past decade. Why is that?
Most producers are talented enough to actually be artists. A lot of people are stepping up now. Before it was like producers had to be producers and the label wanted you to stay in that lane. Now a lot of producers are stepping out independently without the label. With me, my ear is only for singles. I'm tellin' people, all you're gonna hear is hits. I'm not putting out second singles; I'm not putting out album songs or fillers. I just wanna put out singles.
Hip-Hop seems to be in a constant state of change. How do you see it?
I think as far as hip-hop…it skips every ten years. In the '90s we had that whole beef with Biggie and Tupac and it was like they had to die, for the cause, to make an example. After that, in the 2000s, everyone was in check, on point, like 'we don't want nobody to get killed.' Now it's gone back to that violent stage where it gets competitive. If you look at Kendrick, he's going after Drake a little bit. Look at what Gucci Mane did. It's leaning back to that violent, that aggression, that competition that can turn into violence. I remember Pac said that when Mike Tyson went into the ring, he tried to knock people out. When he went in the booth he wanted to knock people out with his words. 90% of the artists are not built for that street talk. The artists who have been here for a while, we know who's who. We know who's an entertainer, who's a real rapper. Look at Ice Cube. He went from NWA to doing movies for kids, almost in a Tyler Perry direction.
Considering your close relationship with Justin Bieber, I have to ask. What's going on?
I think people are egging him on to get a reaction from him. I told him honestly, he needs a house where he's separated from his neighbors, cuz people are gonna try to trap him. If you watch the video, his neighbors are going for entrapment. He needs more space between himself and people. Anywhere we go, people are gonna try to create a situation because he has so much money and fame. They wanna be in the news, get that five seconds of fame. But he's gonna be okay.
Check out Mally's star-studded video for "Wake Up In It" below: