Groper gets Shot in Harlem, VA Tech gets shot up again, and Mumia gets closer to Free!

These are the things that happen in my hood. So on my way to work today, I was dropping off my evil twin, Bobby at the 125th street train station, only to be held up in ridiculous traffic and have him return to the car telling me that the dozen of officers who were blocking the subway wouldn’t let him enter because something big went down. Turns out that that something big was actually a shooting. Apparently, one of those bastard-ass subway gropers put his hands on a young girl and got himself shot by an off duty cop. Read a fuller account of the story here

After years and years of hearing poets and conscious rappers scream his name with the word “Free” preceding it as if it was his title, Mumia Abu-Jamal gets one step closer to the dream of exoneration.

A Pennsylvania District Attorney dropped the execution order against Jamal, removing him from Death Row. This brings light to a legendary case that has been used as an example of political neglect and systematic racism. This decision has of course left a very visible split in opinion between the races and pundits on each side. Check out the coverage here

On another note, violence that has actually been proven has struck the campus of Virginia Tech once again – making it no doubt the next big story in it’s increasingly bloody history. There’s plenty of clues surrounding this, but the search for a reason is still on…Check out the full story here


Talking ALL THAT YaYa!!

And she is all that

Say what you say, but I didn’t like models until I saw her. I used to get in sooo much trouble for being just a bit too happy when my ex used to turn to America’s Next Top Model and YaYa DaCosta popped on the screen.  Although I didn’t believe that the semi-bourgie, multi-lingual intellectual show off was really from the same hometown as me, I gave her a pass for claiming Harlem before the explosion of everyone else doing it.

But something must be said for a woman who walks with guile in both worlds. And she does so in almost every aspect. If the gritty but glitzy streets of Harlem could have taken her to an Ivy League education at Brown University, to a career in both the world of fashion modeling and acting, then her props are due. And to think, all of this from a reality show! In the season that launched her, Toccara and Eva Pigford(Marcille), it’s clear that runner-up doesn’t quite mean loser. In fact, Yaya has seen more success than all of her season cast-mates and most other winners of the show. 

Something you should know about me, is that I LOVE natural chics! For some reason, I have always had an affinity for their look – from the meticulously curled twists to the freedom of their hair pronouncing itself  and their knack for combining earthy accessories with high fashion (Plus their bedrooms and bathrooms always smell really good). And though ms. DaCosta is a fashion model who is expected to use her chameleon like abilities to appear versatile and flexible in her look, her personal style has always leaned more towards the Afro-centric side. And it was a fresh look to see a representation of smart Black woman like that on a show about superficiality and appearance. 

It wasn’t until I dated a model that I understood how both can exist in one woman. I appreciated what she symbolized more. She’s been one of my prototypes of a dream woman ever since. Besides her brains, stomping grounds and being born in the best year ever (1982 for you late bloomers), she also has a crazy body from years of dancing that she keeps in tact as you can see. She’s just slim enough to be a model, but just filled out enough in the right places to not be your typical model (she’s also short and doesn’t meet runway model standards – a point that was made repeatedly during the show, but fine with me!). Her eyes are the kind I like; Almond shaped, slender but strong with lots of personality. Her smile is bangin‘ And of course she can dress!

A far cry from the chic who used to get called out on her facial blemishes, she’s something like a young Angela Bassett…Who makes alot of Black men’s list as another kind of prototype. I’ll say that’s good company…

I’ll also say

Yaya DaCosta,


are and always have been

My New Crush!!

New ESSO Project – “Y & I Life” Free Download

Also happening in Hip-Hop to kick March off is the new project from the homey Esso. I just had a long talk with him about the business and the need to keep producing quality product, so it only seems right that this is how spring will segue in.

Bringing artistry to Harlem, the kid does my hometown justice while reppin’ the label and campaign that he’s been claiming for a while now.

Click on the Pic of the cover to download

And peep the trailer for it,

and the video for the lead single “Big Bed”. Tell me shorty doesn’t look like a mix of Kyla Pratt and Nina B.!!! Or is that…


Harlem: Pictures worth 1,000 words…

While I’m at it, There’s this Dope exhibit going on in my hometown about my hometown by a great photographic artist.

(how cool is this kid?)

Dawoud Bey’s Harlem, USA is an art exhibit at The Studio Museum of Harlem, which is a sorely overlooked treasure smack dab in the middle of 125th that Blacks don’t take enough interest in and advantage of. It’s a photographic look at the people and identities that have created this enormously historic and popular landmark area of NYC. This small stretch of land between roughly 100 blocks has always been a subcultural epicenter in African-American history, and these vintage images display just how.

Although the work has been showcased since November 11th, it has just gained notoreity this Black History Month. It will go on until March 13th. Make a trip as soon as you can and support dope art and the history of the greatest part of the greatest boro! Show the gift shop some love. Shout out to Indigo!

The REAL Malik Speaks on “The Game” via premiere party

There I was.

Our former columnist and favorite renaissance woman, TDJ brought me out with her when she was in my neck of the woods. The event was a viewing party for the premiere of the wildly popular dramedy, The Game on the BET network. What else could bring a bunch of New York transplants out in the beginning of what was poised to be the next snow storm of 2011 so far??

Not only was the venue the newly opened competition to my day job, but I found myself amongst a bunch of the so-called taste-makers and socialites of the new urban professional scene. Most ironically, I found myself exchanging light conversation with one of the very people who appear crossed out in the banner at the top of my blog, from the cast of the short-lived BET reality series, Harlem Heights (a show full of a cast consisting of only 1 true Harlemite – hence them being crossed out in my banner).

This type of scene, which usually makes me throw up in my mouth a little, was refreshingly cool and calm. I don’t know if rolling with TDJ has some kind of magic or something, but the last few events that I’ve been to with her have all had a down to Earth vibe to them with folks who would otherwise be pretentious or uppity, being very warm and friendly. It didn’t hurt that I was practically surrounded by women and I got to chill with one of my favorite writers, The Jaded New Yorker. There were a few random dudes threatening to steal my mojo, but here in particular, everyone came for a common accord, to watch The Game on multiple flat screens at the same time and share unified reactions and responses to the newness of things.

Even the guys paid attention. I’m assuming that since it was a taste-maker event full of the “Harlem Elite”, that these random dudes are writers or in the entertainment business somehow…I don’t know…I don’t concern myself with what men do on average. But the unison in the room was felt every time the commercial break was over and the show came back on as ‘shushes’ spread across the floor prompting everyone to be quiet and focus. And focus we did…

Our hostess for the evening, the vivacious Eb the Celeb captured footage and conducted interviews throughout the night and put it together in this clip. You can get a feel for what I was feeling here…

Oh yeah, and I guess the show wasn’t bad either. Just really don’t like when dudes have my name. There’s never been a cool guy named Malik on television. I HATE this character! Glad he gets all the flyest girls on the show tho…That ain’t too far from the truth!

*New Show* Soul Brothers x Malik-16 – SOUL BROTHERS REUNION SHOW December 18th In Harlem! (See trailer)

As always, like we usually seem to do at least 1nce a year, My extended fam  – The Soul Brothers are putting on Another Soul Jam at Harlem‘s own BlackStar Music And Video.

And Iam the special guest sharing the bill doing what I do best!

This not only marks the reunion of the 2 members, Fred Hawkins and Prince Hottness The Cure, but it’s also a return to glory that should see the event go back to the essence of the very first event at BlackStar. This will officially be the third run and the second show this year, counting this summer’s go-round without PHTC.

This time, it’s back to the basics; A Live band, FREE drinks and Dope New music and some crowd favorites. All that’s being asked is your humble $2 Donation. Hear that?? Donation, meaning you don’t have to, but why be so fucking cheap???!

Support Harlem’s last Black owned, Black operated, Video and music retailer. Support Good music and upcoming artists. Support Dope Hip-Hop performers….We’re Rare! I’ll be bringing up my group, The Have-Knotz, as well, to prepare for our debut.

Show is Saturday, December 18th @ 7:00. BlackStar is located on Lenox avenue in Harlem between 128th and 129th streets. Let’s do it big!

Videos Bring Big L back to life!

Speaking of famous deaths, It’s high time some light gets shed on the death of one of the punchline masters and a true Harlem great, The late Big L.

It’s been 12 years since his murder, and this video goes into that,which has always been a pretty quiet point of conversation when it comes to the story. 

And story is exactly what Street Sruck; The Big L Story primes itself to tell. Check out the trailer for the documentary below.

With the full version of the recorded Stretch and Bobbito show where he and Jay-Z traded verses hitting the net early this fall, I guess the timing just seems right to hear his name popping up again and have history unveiled.

Watch for the track that my group, The Have-Knotz and I will be putting out soon paying homage to the legend.

easy BRE z…CoverGirl!!

Even though I don’t know Ms. Scullark personally, I feel like I do.

That’s all the reason needed to make her the next subject of the Crush Alot section!

If  for no reason other than the fact that she represents the same place that I do – Harlem all day, but of course, there’s more…

Bre kind of has a hunger about her career similar to that of a rapper. You can blame it on her hometown, she was destined to be a hustler. And you can blame my affinity for her on my inclination to root for the underdog. However, Underdog is about to be a title that no longer fits Ms. Bre. The last few years have proven to be fruitful for her since she first made a name for herself on Tyra Banks’ America’s Next Top Model.

After my Ex (another Harlem Girl) trapped me into watching ANTM, I actually started paying attention to it and we would sit back and place our bids on who would make it through the episodes and who our picks would be for the season. The Season Bre appeared on was the last season I really looked at, and I remember us cheering on her every move as she made it to the final rounds. Sure, she was unpolished; smoking, brief drama-filled moments and an unavoidable hood twinge in her speech, but something about her made her glow. She was REAL.

She represents everything Beautiful about Fly Uptown Girls. She’s sooooo that; from how she walks, to how she moves her hands when she speaks and her inflections. Maybe it is that rough-around-the-edges appeal that makes her stand out, because couple that with her Doe-eyed drive, baby-faced features and willingness to learn, and she’s got this bright presence that draws you in. It’s a cool mix. The Harlem girl Swag is always turned up and she never hesitates to let you know where she’s from and how proud she is to be an example of someone who came from an unlikely place to be an unlikely Heroine.

So there’s almost a feeling of growing with her and pride in seeing the moves she’s made since. Every time she pops up in an ad or public appearance, Iam apart of that Soul-Clap corner, going ‘get ’em Bre!

We see her, looking more model-esque with every appearance, enunciating like an english teacher, and doing her correspondent thing on the side! She’s also getting noteriety for her charity involvements and writing.

Now physically, I’m a sucker for eyes, and Bre has got those big ones…almond brown, almond shaped and full of life. They are almost the defining feature of her face! That’s really all I need besides the fact that she’s a freakin model for God’s Sake, and you know how I Love those ever since 2009!!

She kinda reminds me of girls I know, girls I grew up around, maybe even my ex a little, admittedly, but there’s a newness there too. She can tone it down and come back down to Earth with the rest of us, unlike some other models who seem to never be able to bring it back to their foundation, and at the same time she can take it all the way up and get all Couture on us. It’s a perfect Balance of real and refreshing.

Here’s a reel of her Post Top Model Television work that I stumbled across,

You can catch up with the Girl on her Blog,

(Damn! Fantasy much?)

Much like the Other ANTM Harlem girl that I’m smitten with, Yaya DaCosta, I feel like It’s only a matter of time until I run into her, so I’ll put it out there now by saying

Brittany “Bre” Scullark,


are officially My New Crush!!!

(3) Lifestylez Ov Da Poor N Dangerous

Classic Sounds,



this was by request. The boy Mike Gordon asked me to Review Big L’s Classic debut for my next installment of this section. It was a no-brainer seeing as to how the Harlem pioneer is heavily responsible for the inception and inclusion of Punchlines in my writing style.

I’m sure Mike will have plenty to say after reading this review, since it’s an album near and dear to his heart.

The pulse of the Diggin’ In The Crates collective of the 90’s is One of my favorites from my area and one of my greatest influences in rap. I studied his style so much so that I kinda outgrew it once I broke down the mechanics of how it worked. His multi-syllable flow and patterns of stacked rhyming sentences with rapid-fire delivery is not easy to recreate without sounding like a biter. But it is one that’s also not as complex as it would seem. What was to be learned from it, however, was the importance of timing. In hip-hop, just like any form of entertainment, timing is everything. L was a master of this. Even early on before the hype around him that we’ve all come to know existed.

I missed this wave somehow. This album was a Columbia records release, when Sony still had some kind of foothold on hip-hop. The same house that gave the world Illmatic. A year after that and one before The Other Columbia records classic, The Score, Big L quietly slid in with his ‘wild style‘. This product of rap’s ever-so-fabled “Golden Era” marked a turn in several trends in hip-hop. It was kind of a crossroads…somewhere at the point when the dark, grimey, rah-rah rap was on his last leg and still popular, but at the launching of the flossy, overtly braggadocio conversational style New York hip-hop of the mid- to – late 90’s that was laced with witty one-liners. Big L’s debut stood right there. You’ll hear tones of both on Lifestylez

Now, this album wasn’t neccessarily blaring out of speakers  in the Harlem streets, unless I severely missed something. But I was right there, in front of the radio in the dawn of my Hip-hop -headness, and no Big L records on the radio to be found. I do recall hearing the beat from “Put it on” loosely around the city, but I’m sure a song like that and would-be hit “MVP” got overshadowed by the Biggie song that used the same sample during that year.

See, this was before blogs. Before there were comment walls or message boards to fill with praise and nerdy dissection of lyrics. This was when the now legendary freestyle with Jay-Z was just….a freestyle. Everything known of L was all word of mouth and hip-hopper buzz. Imagine how he would have flourished in the post internet-dependent world, where folks could have seriously appreciated his wordplay and hunger. The man was an unprecedented Beast! Yet and still, I didn’t catch on to This 94-95 incarnation of L. The Hype didn’t exist until right before he died unfortunately. Before it was second nature to throw up the L with your fingers at a hip-hop show, the buzz had just started brewing for L due to the rise of Mixtapes. His collabos were growing, and he had just released the notorious “Ebonics/Size ’em up” single. I guess it didn’t hurt that somebody put the battery in the back of D.I.T.C. and they started releasing plenty of singles in preparation for their long-awaited album as a group. The rumor of him getting signed to Roc-A-Fella records at the time didn’t hurt either.

But see, this was the Big L that caught my attention. In high school, the talk about him was non-stop. I remember vividly, the day I decided to take a cue from him…. I was in summer school at La Guardia (shout out to Reeenie!), but we were across the street from MLK high school. This was  right after L had passed and a summer where everyone was so laid back and in the chill zone, but of course, delinquency brings out the rappers! I was drawn into a comparative cypher in front of King with 2 kids from Queens who seemed to have lines for days. It quickly turned to a battle where my witty street-poetry lines were just not holding up and seeming to grab as much attention from the crowd as the Q-boro kids. My fellow Harlemites on the side were looking at me with disgust, saying ‘damn son, how you let these kids from Queens eat you?!’, quoting their lines and all. I turned to my homegirl at the time and she told me that my punchline game was weak, and that was what people react to. It was at that moment that I looked down at my book of rhymes and saw the sticker that I had on the cover. It was an R.I.P. sticker of Big L. I decided to make sure I never lost the crowd or any kind of battle due to lack of lines.

In a way, I’m glad it all happened like that. I caught on to Big L at the perfect time. I was there. I even saw him on his block one day getting his hair braided and caught an ice-grill. “Ebonics” changed my life. I bought his posthumous album that Rawkus records tried their damnest to beef up, I bought the Lackluster Diggin In The Crates album that was super late and only interesting on L’s verses. But it was really this album, the debut, that made me think how underrated he was. I truly believe that he was on his way to that status. He would have at least touched that late 90’s Cam type of fame. My boy used to bring print-outs of verses from his first album to school and I used to trip off of the fact that these were punchlines from ’94 that were better than what was out then. Fab would’ve had to get his weight up! It’s really a shame that up until right before his death, he was mainly an Underground artist, with One classic underground album.

This album starts off with the aforementioned “Put it on” which is probably one of the livest track 1’s in hip-hop history and so synonymous with the times… and thumping bass heavy beat that stutters near the hook build-up, background posse cheers, shout outs, and a dj (Kid Capri in this instance) obnoxiously adlibing. Yet and still it contains some of the most memorable Big L lines ever. It’s followed by “MVP” and what I presume was slated to be the big single had the album showed any promise of selling, “No Endz, No Skinz“.

Yes kiddies, you can tell by the title what era this song is from, but then again, even retreating back to that mindframe and the sound of that era, I remember thinking that this song was perhaps 2 years out of place even for the time it was out. It employed that Jazzy horn based kind of hip-hop beat that was ushered in and overused in the early 90’s by the influx of nerdy rap groups and producers looking for something more. Not to mention, rappers who just wanted to pay respect to their pop’s  favorite music. It also had a cheesy call and response hook that sounded so 1993 you would think the Fu-schnickens and Onyx were doing the background vocals. You might wanna blame that on producer Showbiz being in some kind of time warp, but I truly believe that this and the other Showbiz produced tracks on the album were just old recordings that were saved up and made the final cut. The song still contains some sense of content for L, which was not his strong suit. It also was laced with humor, which was his strong suit, as well as a penchant for super misogynistic lines that bordered on bragging about abusing Women.

L’s Domestic Violence rhymes littered this album periodically. For every clever line like “I’m lookin’ nothin like your poppa, I wouldn’t give a chic 10 cent to put cheese on a Whopper!“, there’s a “a chic asked me for a ring and I put one around her whole eye!” or “and if I get Aids, then I’mma start rapin’ bitches!” (“All Black“). Just real unneccesary shit here…

But this is the entire angle of L’s approach, shock value! He makes it a point to announce his hunger to a reckless degree of not caring how he expresses it. Blame it on the Harlem sentiment of the time, the previous era of rah-rah, say-the-craziest shit-you-can-say kind of rap, or just his eagerness to stand out and grab attention, but L went out of his way to say outlandish punchlines. He’s very much so from the school of thought brought out by his mentor, Lord Finesse, who handles a fair share of production on this project. But Finesse was one of the first guys along with Kane and Kool G Rap who began taking witticism seriously in hip-hop toward the turn of the 80’s decade and began focusing on compound rhyme schemes that landed on clever sentences aimed at belittling the competition. What we have today as the standard for most rappers who we consider “nice”, was revolutionary back then and what we witness with L’s lyrics, is the evolution of that. He was second generation…designed to surpass Finesse. And he did.

But in the anxiousness to exhibit this, L would push super hard, with super hard beats accompanying to show you how serious he was, even in the midst of deadpan humor. This was the ethic that had rappers mistaking “hard” for “real” or successful, so the beats on this album were predominantly dark and grimy. Blame it on Wu-Tang. The initial 3 songs that I discussed are misleading. Until we get to the second to last tracks, we don’t hear anything close to the upbeat or groovy vibe introduced at the beginning. Everything in between is one stark, menacing New York Stick Up-Kid soundtrack.

Sometimes it works, where it becomes apparent that L may be playing a role or creating a fictionally exaggerated version of himself, Like on the title track. The extreme scenarios depicted by l in this song clearly planted the seeds for stuff like  Cam’s “Confessions“. Like I said, there was some kind of Harlem kid sentiment to be the best and outdo any other rapper that came before by pulling the crazy card. I guess the idea was to talk so insane that it trumped bragging itself.

Where Big L shined the most tho,

was in his storytelling and picture painting. Like a more hands on, and less poetic Nas, L weaved street stories from a narrative standpoint, usually in third person. They were relatable, tho Harlem-Centric (as were most of his rhymes – you already know! Harlem all day!), and easy to follow. From loose diatribes like “I can’t Understand it” and “Fed Up With The Bullshit“, to more solid tales like “Lifestylez...” and “Street Struck“, L was definitely an urban Griot in his own right.

What makes this album the most famous, is who was actually made famous or became so subsequently. The biggest tragedy, many believe, is that 2 of the most minor guests on this album went on to become 2 of the BIGGEST rappers to ever set foot in the game. Their fame even while L was still alive was like a slap in the face, because guess what? No Big L features on their projects! We never know what goes on behind the scenes for sure, but you can definitely see L’s sense of charity in full effect back then when he shares the mic with 7 other Harlem niggas destined to NEVER make it on the song “8 iz enuff“. In this mix is a young, unpolished Cam’ron who can get easily lost in the sauce if you’re not distinctly looking for him. This same generosity is extended on the Horrible track “The Graveyard“, where the names that you know on it are the only names worth knowing! Lord Finesse sets it off and Jay-Z (version 1.0) comes off as eager as L does, shoutin his verse and rapping with at least 4 different flows to make sure  you know he’s got versatility. Safe to say,  L was better than all of them at this point in their careers.

However, at some point in time, L got stuck. The dudes he was attempting to bring up had surpassed him in multiple aspects. He might’ve relied on his rhyme-for-rhyme style too heavily. Although he  would often fore-go the couplets that his peers used and developed a unique pattern of stacking sentences and speeding up to slow back down, after a while it can get almost predictable. Or at least to me, what weighed that style down was the fact that in the frenzy to get to that oh-so special last line, he squeezed a bunch of random, awkwardly placed words and sentences in to make it connect.  And if they all did interweave, then it was usually a series of wild sentences that would all lead to one outrageous conclusion, like on “The Graveyard” where L exclaims that he’s “lightin’ niggas like incense, gettin’  men lynched, and when tense, I’m killin infants for ten cents!” Really tho? This line resonated with me and my boy Brandon so much that we started referring to rhymes when rappers reach to make punchlines connect as that ol’ ‘infants for 10 cents’ shit.

Either way, Big L is one of the nicest ever, and I think he could’ve gave Big and Jay some comp had he got his content game up.  L doesn’t welcome you into Harlem as a tour guide, he instead pulls a Training Day move on you; he puts you in the passenger seat and takes you as he makes his crazy runs and tells you to pay attention. This album is 139th street and Lenox avenue essentially. If you want to hear some of the greatest punchlines in hip-hop history, then peep this classic album. But if you’re looking for depth or some kind of Journey, this is not the record.

Overall, as a Classic Album, I give Big L’s Lifestylez Ov Da Poor N Dangerous 8 Candles out of a possible

4812 or 16.

4(Classic Just because where it stands in Hip-Hop, whether it be the time of it’s release, it’s influence, or the popularity of it’s singles overall)

8(Classic because it was solid for it’s time, but may be a little dated or less than amazing by today’s standards)

12(Classic as a complete release and probably celebrated widely on the surface, but possibly lacking one key element – be it one song that doesn’t fit, a wack guest appearance, lyrics, lack of depth or beats)

16(Classic all around)

My Favorite joints are “Let em have it L“, “Street Struck“, “Lifestylez Ov Da Poor N Dangerous” and “MVP

New Malik-16 mixtape x 2DopeBoyz x Harlem Vault WESTSIDE TIL I DIE Drops today!! 16th for 16


Ok, This is the big day.  DECEMBER 16TH.

My New California-themed mixtape,

Westside Til I Die

Drops today and gets an extra big push from the homies at and

I chose to get up with the dopeboyz because they are kings at what they do, and they are true WestCoast hip-hop afficianados. And I chose Vault because they rep the style of West Harlem  like no other. Plus they’re on my block!!

They co-sign the project that is a nod to the fact that I’m from the Westside of Harlem, but also pays homage to WestCoast rap and the classic songs by artists from that side of the map that I came up listening to. Sure, some instrumentals from The Game make their way on there, but every beat I rapped over wasn’t necessarily by a dope artist.

Some beats were just dope and I had to touch them – blame it on the producer. Some of these beats weren’t even made by westcoast producers. But nevertheless, they became memorable Hip-hop joints that will hopefully take you some place as you listen to them.

Like my last 2 mixtapes which were bundled together as a double mixtape

(see  How To Make A Mixtape Vol. 1 ;Who Doesn’t Rap??! and How To Make A Mixtape Vol. 2 ; Disco Inferno, hosted by the homey GangStarrGirl Of Course), I wrote this mixtape  within that grueling 3 month winter of 2005-2006 period where I forced myself to write 3 mixtapes back to back inbetween working Real Estate and Coming home at 1 O’clock in the morning after double shifts at The WORST TGIFridays in the city!!! (The Rockerfeller one).

Now of course, I cleaned some things up in the midst of recording it, and updated some lyrics (hence the Drake reference on the first track).

But it’s still good ol’ Vintage from the kid.

This may be the last mixtape where you’ll hear me doing Long-Ass verses and wordy bars, due to how my style has progressed since then. But you tell me. Keep me on my toes people!

Having that said, go to either of the 2 sites mentioned above to see what they say about the kid. You can also download the tape there, or come right back home and click on the picture above and  leave a comment after you listen.