Get To Know Devin Malik [Interview]

Ian Hansen

Hip hop's rising star, Devin Malik, has enjoyed a stellar year, marked by two standout features on ScHoolboy Q's latest album, "Blue Lips," and a coveted co-sign from none other than Kendrick Lamar. He’s also released With good reason, Malik's flows and smooth vibe give him an edge that very few have. Originally making waves as a producer, contributing to Isaiah Rashad's album, "The House is Burning," Malik now sets his sights on elevating his rap career to new heights.

To get started, what got you into making music? Take me through the journey, you know, from the beginning to locking in with TDE.

I would say it was definitely on my cousins. They were actually musicians themselves. Like they rap from when they were in Fontana. So they used to rap and stuff. And they're the ones that taught me how to make beats. So that's how I got into music. 

What was that journey like of producing music? What was like the first moment you were like “Okay, my production is actually fire, It's starting to get momentum.” 

My senior year of high school. That time during the D Savage era. I was definitely  like, “Okay, this could actually go somewhere for sure.”

What inspired your production in the beginning?

My parents would play a lot of Kanye and Pharrell. Once I started listening on my own,  I was listening to everything from Wiz Khalifa to Tyler to TDE, and Odd Future. All those types of people when they were coming up, even Pro Era.

How would you say producing gave you an edge as a rapper? I feel like your beats are very unique. I feel like it gives you your own sound.

I feel like it gives the edge because I feel like beats are like 70 percent of the battle. So if your beat is already banging, you should be able to do something with it. 

What was the moment when you locked in with TDE through your production. I know you worked on “The House Is Burning” by Isaiah Rashad.

I used to email beats to Matt. He's Isaiah's manager. I would email him just all the time. Every night, every morning, day in, day out. This is back when I was like 19 or 18. I just kept shooting beats. One day he was like, “This is actually hard.”  I ended up getting his contact and he was like, “Yo, pull up on me. I live downtown.” So I like I pulled up on him and we really just chopped it up.  TDE had this month lockout thing. I pulled up to that too. So I pulled up, didn't really know anybody, but I just started making my way around. 

What was the biggest thing you learned just being around such great minds like that?

 It's a tough one. I'll say just being yourself goes the farthest rather than trying to fit in. More people will hit you up being yourself rather than you chasing for them.

You just had two great features on “Blue Lips.” How much did it mean to you to be on Q's album and produce for him and be in the same rooms as him? 

Man, that meant everything to me, to be honest. I definitely didn't see that coming.  Like none of that was planned. It was all organic. I’m really honored to be on there. 

What were those sessions like? 

They're usually chill and laid back, funny, and smoking. Hell yeah. It was lit. It's fun. It's always fun. 

Kendrick Lamar just co-signed you. The big thing that's been going around lately. Take me through that. What was it like meeting him?

Man, it was really cool.  Another legend. Even just getting words from him and knowing he is tapped in or recognizes what I'm doing is great. That type of shit. He's really just a normal dude 

You just recently released “Canadian Tux.” What does that song mean to you?

That song, man. Denim on denim. Denim on denim. It's a fun one. I just wanted to put out a fun song. I feel like momentum is building. 

What was it like working with F1lthy? That kind of crossover is really cool. What was that like?

I didn’t even really meet him. It was the homie that shot me the beat that knows him. I never even met him. It's not like we were in the studio.

Your next song, “PDA,” is getting some momentum. How excited are you for that?

That was just one for more of my love life. Showcasing the melodic side. I like to juxtapose both. 

How important is it to have that juxtaposition and not box yourself in?

That's number one for me. Nothing matters more than that. 

What's the biggest thing you want your fans to grasp when they hear your music? 

I just want them to feel something. I want it to be an instant feeling. That's what I want my music to give people for sure. That is going to be different for everyone.  

What do you want your legacy to be? How do you want people to remember you and remember your music? 

That I just wasn't scared to take risks. It's always just being myself. Maintain that integrity. 

What kind of goals do you have? Where do you want to take this? 

Honestly, I don't even think about it like that. It's just really just like on a day to day basis. I just want my next song to get to 100,000 streams.

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