A one-of-a-kind artist repping B-more as its finest burgeoning emcee, Malik Ferraud has a great story to tell. Being a very adaptable lyricist on the mic and backed by a team of loyal supporters, friends and lovers of the music, Ferraud has the workings of the next great hip hop act.
Encompassing a wide range of sounds appealing to a well-rounded audience, everybody can find something they like by Malik Ferraud. Well, thanks to my man Jason, I got the chance to kick it over the phone with this rhymesayer and get to learn more about the man behind the music. Pay attention, because I’m sure you will be hearing more and more about the name ‘Malik Ferraud’ as time goes on. Check it out:
Q: Why don’t you introduce yourself?
A: “For those that don’t know, my name’s Malik Ferraud. I’m a hip hop artist and songwriter from Baltimore, Maryland. I’ve been doing this for a long while now, I’m 22 just doing what I love – I love music, man, it’s what I do.”
Q: Who would you say are your biggest musical inspirations?
A: “It varies, I love so many different genres of music so it’s really hard to say. As far as hip hop goes, I’m a fan of many different regions, I guess that’s the best way to narrow it down. Anything from the East coast, West coast, mid-west, down South, everywhere man, I’m a fan of so much. Everything from André 3000, Nas, Big L, Jay-Z and the list keeps going. I’m a hip hop head, I love everything from the 90s, I love it all man to be honest.”
Q: Is there any one particular rapper that inspired you to get going in to hip hop?
A: “I would have to say Nas for sure. Nas was always someone that I looked up to, someone I always got inspiration from. Everything from storytelling to real lyrics, you know.”
Q: So was it Nas that got you into hip hop, or was there something else that got you to be a part of the genre?
A: “A lot really, just life to be honest. Growing up for me wasn’t always the easiest and as a way to express my emotions and things that’s happening in my life, music was the way for me to escape. I would just say life in general inspired me to make music.”
Q: That reflects in your music right? Your content, etc.?
A: “Yeah, exactly, man. I really like to give people emotion in my music, as well as trying my best to make hit songs and songs people enjoy. But me being the artist I am, I feel like when you give the listener the true emotion behind how you feel about a certain topic or a certain situation, it really makes people think.”
Q: Yeah, it’s always that balance of staying true to the art form, but also trying to get that commercial presence and I think you do that well.
A: “Yes! Exactly, exactly. And when you’re staying true to yourself and making songs people can relate to, people can get a better understanding of who you are as an artist.”
Q: Definitely. Now what do you think separates you from other emcees out today? Do you feel you have any advantages or disadvantages that separate you from the crowd?
A: “I feel like I’m one in the same, I mean I blend in and I stand out. There are certain things that I bring to the table that translate to other artists that people are familiar with and there are other things about me that make me different. I feel like what I just said, me personally, I love to give people my personal feelings behind certain issues and certain topics, whether it’s daily life or relationships or something that I’ve been through personally that I think can touch [even] someone from L.A. So I guess that makes me different amongst other people, but a lot of people do that, too.”
Q: Going into your music specifically, over the summer you released your mixtape DAMN. Could you tell us about the inspiration and what went into that project?
A: “That project for me, it was a good compilation for how I felt at the time. It was a good blend between the things that I was going through at the time and different music that I was listening to. Really, the inspiration that came from it was being around the people around me that support me and the people that really pushed me from my inner-circle. We really just put together the best records that represented us at the time, so I did my best to give people the real emotions, the lyrical songs, the storytelling, punch lines, metaphors, different things like that should really give people an idea of who I am as an artist.”
Q: And would you be able to tell us your top three, top five tracks from that album, or at least your favorite?
A: “That’s hard to say [because] I love it all. I would tell people to listen to everything to be honest. If you love lyrical music, if you love storytelling, if you love someone that’s honest and genuine in their music, then you’d love the mixtape. So much went into the project that I’d be cutting myself short just naming my top three.”
Q: Alright, that’s fair [laughs]. How has the mixtape been received as far as you know? Have you seen it on blogs or seen reviews or anything?
A: “Yeah definitely, I mean, shout out to you [laughs]! Without people like you, I wouldn’t know…Me personally, I mean, what a lot of people don’t know about me, I’m a hip hop head, but I’m also a hip hop geek when it comes to websites and blogs and reviews. People like you who really take the time and effort to write on artists who are coming up and artists who are doing what they can to get their music heard. So I got great reviews from people such as yourself and amongst a lot of websites really who took the time to post it, share it, express their feelings behind it. It was a definitely a favorite amongst a lot, but I’m excited about the LP a lot.”
Q: Thank you! Going on that LP you were just talking about, do you want to go into that a little bit? How far along is it? Are there any features on it?
A: “Yeah, yeah I can share a little bit about it. It’s going to be all original music, the last project that I did release – the one we just spoke about – it had a blend of original music and industry records to give people that mixtape feel. But for this LP since we’re taking it up a level with our production and the lyrics, we want this whole project to be original and really give people the overall sound we can bring to table, like my own style of music. It’s going to be great, man, I’m excited for people to listen to it and tell me how they feel on it and help me hopefully grow even more as an artist. I haven’t really narrowed down a specific track listing or amount yet that I want to mention, but there’s some solid features and collabs. As of now I got collabs with the homie Los, who also is a Baltimore native – shout out to him, he’s been doing this for a while now – and his most recent success [was] with the “Ochocinco” video with French Montana and Diddy, Red Café, MGK, all those cool dudes, shout out to them. But yeah, I got a collab with the homie King Los, and another collab with the homie Emelio Rojas, this other artist out of New York who’s been doing it for quite some time, too, so shout out to him. So I don’t know with records I’m going to go with yet that will make the cut, but those are a few people that I’ve worked with.”
Q: Do you plan on releasing this independently through Bandcamp or are you thinking iTunes, as well or are you giving it away for free?
A: “That’s a good question. Honestly, we’ve been debating amongst ourselves, me and my team. We really take everything serious in what we do, so we like to have meetings to figure out what’s the best route to go. We’re debating…me, I’m the person that wants to give music away for free and that’s how we all feel. We feel like, as the listener, people should be able to embrace music in a free manner. With the age that we live in, the technology that we have, people should be able to enjoy the music for what it is and not necessarily put a price tag on it. I feel like my music, you can’t really put a price on it and it’s really hard to say which route we’re going to go with it right now, but I think we’re going to stick with it being free. You’ll find it on DatPiff, Bandcamp, Live Mixtapes, Soundcloud, you know all the cool downloads, but I think we’re working on a special package for our real fans out there who will be able to get an exclusive cover, exclusive pictures, autographs and some cool merchandise, as well. So we might put together a nice package for our exclusive fans that will be available in my “merch” section on my website.”
Q: Yeah, that’s definitely admirable about sticking to giving your music away free and that fan package sounds really cool.
A: “Yeah, that’s why I do this. I really love my fans and people that support me. Me being the “hip hop geek” that I am, with websites like yours, I really appreciate everything that you guys do for the culture and continuing to allow the culture to grow. And if I can just sprinkle my music in there, I’ll be happy; it’s not about the money for me, it’s about getting the message out there and allow people to see and listen to me as an artist and really be like “I really like this guy.” So I do this for the fans, I do this for the music.”
Q: That’s fantastic, that’s how every artist should be! So you also released a slew of tracks over the past year or so through your site and Soundcloud and all of that. What makes these songs come to fruition? Do you create a track just to create music for the listeners or do you create it for a promo for something? Where do these songs come from?
A: “Since music is such a big thing with me, I really love to give people a consistent amount of it. I really want people to continue to listen to the different ideas that I have because it’ll only make me grow as an artist. If you release a song once a month, you’re only going to get one opinion once a month; you want to hear different feedback from people. So I like to give people a variety of music at such a consistent rate so people can let me know, this is what I like from you, this is what I don’t like. I like to hear people’s opinion on that. But the inspiration comes from always writing, man. All I do, day in and day out is work on music and I write music all the time, so it almost seems necessary to release it and give it out to the public. But the one thing I’ve been learning lately is really saving it; I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but a lot of my fans have been blowing me up wanting new music because I haven’t released anything since last November, December because I’ve been working on this new LP. So, we’re really focused over here, getting the marketing together, so every release we are up to release makes sense, so it’s not like why are you releasing this random track, why are you just releasing these songs and not promoting anything. So we decided to sit back and look at the scenario to get our promotion and everything in line for this new LP.”
Q: I also forgot to ask, but is there an estimated release date for this LP?
A: “Nah, we don’t have a release date just yet, but I will say it will be out in between spring and summer with the way the songs are going and getting the things mixed and mastered up. We just want to give the people the best sound possible. So we’re expecting a release between spring and summer with the LP, but my fans and people that support me and all the websites out there can expect a video to release really, really soon. Our video work is very, very serious to us and we want to give our fans the best visuals that we can. We’re going to release, more than likely, the first single off the new LP rather soon.”
Q: Ok [laughs] that was the follow up question. Also, along with the videos coming out with the album, do you have any shows or tours lined up for the album?
A: “Yeah we’re actually working on that now. We have a couple shows lined up, in the Baltimore area, let alone the East-coast area, but yeah we have a couple shows lined up. Right now, we’re just focused on the music and really getting all the songs prepared before we consider doing shows because we want to give fans the overall experience. One thing about my shows is when you come to see me perform, you get an overall experience; you don’t just get a rapper on stage. Sometimes, I’ll bring out another singer to add vocals to the track, I might do cool things with lighting. When it comes to us with shows, we take it just as serious as the music, so right now we’re just focused on getting the best music out before we even consider putting together a tour or anything.”
Q: Ok, moving on a little bit, if you had to convince somebody – say you walked up to a random person on the street – to listen to Malik Ferraud, what tracks would you tell them to go and listen to or show them?
A: “Honestly, I would tell them, I mean that happens quite often and when I’m in certain situations, especially in Maryland, when people aren’t familiar with my work and they’re like, “hey, what do you do?” I always tell them to go type my name on Google or type ‘Malik Ferraud’ in YouTube because it’s really hard to tell someone this is the song you should listen to because the song that I would pick would be a song I like or I think best represents me, but that might not be the song that that person will enjoy. It just depends on the listener really, so I like to tell people if they really want to check me out to go to my website, malikferraud.com, type my name in Google, YouTube… With the technology that we have, you can do it in a second and see all of my music and you can find something that you like. I feel like I have music for everyone, so I usually tell people to do that and it works out for the better.”
Q: You hit the nail on the head there when you said your catalog is for everybody, it’s a very broad – not broad, but it applies to a lot of different styles for a lot of people to enjoy your music.
A: “Exactly, and it’s so hard to tell someone they should check out one song because, like I said before, you never know, that person may not like the beat or the hook or the subject. For the song, they may like something more lyrical deep down inside because there’s always that person that will tell you they just listen to radio music, but deep down inside, they may have a passion for punch lines, metaphors, things that you wouldn’t have actually thought of if you would’ve told them to check out a certain song.”
Q: Yeah, I can see that. As far as your career, you’re still getting into it and you’re releasing your first LP, but where you are right now, are you happy with your spot in hip hop and would you change anything about it?
A: “Man I’m hungry, I’m never happy [laughs]. I’m always ready to take things to the next level so, to be honest, nah I’m not happy with my spot in hip hop. Personally, with the work I’m about to put in, hopefully good things come my way, I mean, the work ethic I have, the consistency that I’m about to bring, I think people will start to catch on more than anything. But I am happy and content with the support that I do have, like the websites, the fans, the true supporters and believers that really do motivate me everyday and everyday out to keep doing this and keep going and keep providing you with the best music that I can.”
Q: Would you ever consider signing with a major label or would you rather stay independent?
A: “With what’s going on in the industry, I think that both are good, but independent artists – look at Macklemore and certain people like that are being successful right now going the independent route. But it really all depends on the individual scenario, but I can’t really speak on that because, you know, who really knows?”
Q: Alright. So what is it that you want listeners to get from your music?
A: “I want people to get the realness. I want people to get the energy that I bring on certain records I feel like other artists are bringing to the table, but not to the level and extreme that I’m bringing it. I really give everything emotion and I salute these other artists who are doing the same thing: Kendrick Lamar, J.Cole, these other artists that are bringing back emotion and lyrics and storytelling and things that make you think and I feel like I’m in that category. I feel like that everybody person that goes through the struggle, whether it’s working a nine to five or not liking your boss or going to school and not liking the classes your in, your teacher, those people want to hear music for those certain situations. But there’s also people that want to chill and relax and listen to everyday type of music and I feel like I’m the perfect blend of all of that together. You can never give too many people one thing or one type of music, so I like to bring all of that together.”
Q: Ok, sounds good, sounds good. Just to throw a curveball at you so I can keep you on your toes [laughs], just tell us one thing that very few people know about you.
A: “[Laughs] Hm, that’s a good question. This new LP is going to say a lot. I haven’t announced the title yet, but this new LP is when I’m really going to get personal and really answer those questions. A lot of my fans want to get to know me more on a personal level and [I] thank the websites and the people that really support and that’s what I’m giving people on this new LP. If you really want to know those certain things about my life, my upbringing, things you may not know about me through my music now, you will definitely know on this new LP. Every song is a representation of my life and the things that I’ve been through and things that you may not know. I’m also going to start to really interact more with everyone that’s interested in me, so I’ll be providing my fans with behind the scenes stuff; really an in-depth look into my life and everything I go through.”
Q: I look forward to that, I look forward to listening to that.
A: “Thank you man, I appreciate that! And a lot of people are interested in knowing more about me and that’s what I plan to give with the behind the scenes footage and this new LP – all the personal-sounding songs, it will answer all those questions for anyone who’s interested in who I am as a person and an artist.”
Q: Yeah, that’s good too because it breaks that barrier of fan vs. artist. It’s like you giving you them that story kind of breaks down that wall and creates that connection.
A: “Exactly! And that’s what we’re so focused on is breaking down that barrier, like you said it best, breaking that barrier between fan and artist and really bringing you in. With the music that I do have and personalities that I’m giving behind it, it’s only right for me to show it, as well and actually show people the everyday things that I do and give people in the music the personal things that I’ve been through so you’re like, “wow, I had no idea that happened in his life” and “wow, I can’t believe that went down.”
Q: Lastly, what is on Malik Ferraud’s iPod? What are you listening to?
A: “On my iPod? I’m listening to a lot right now. I’m listening to Kendrick, I’m listening to André 3000, like old André like The Love Below, back in those days; I’m listening to Big L. I listen to so much randomly throughout the day it’s ridiculous. Other genres too, Bob Marley, Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, I’m all over the place [laughs].”
Q: [Laughs] That’s good because it can actually reflect back in your music and create more creative stuff rather than the same old, same old that’s always on the radio.
A: “Right, yeah. I honestly don’t listen to the radio that must, I’m more in to what’s happening on the internet and up to date news like what’s happening right now. And I also like to go back on music, like I said Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Bob Marley, people like that.”
Q: That’s cool. Well, that about wraps it up so thank you again for taking the time to answer the questions!
A: “Hey man, I appreciate the opportunity, I want to thank you personally for supporting my music, posting my music, sharing everything from me on Twitter. Shout out to everyone out there, all the other websites that support me and all my supporters and my fans. If you’re not familiar with my music, you can go to my website, malikferraud.com, you can follow me on Twitter @MalikFerraud, Instagram @MalikFerraud and you can get everything you want to know. Or just type my name in Google, Malik Ferraud and you’ll definitely get a feel for everything I do.”
Q: Aight, cool, sounds great. Aight man, thank you again! Peace.
A: “Hey man, no problem, anytime. Peace.”