Steven Malcolm is an innovator. His wordplay rivals most in his space. His worship-infused sounds through a hip-hop sound is refreshing. He steps outside the mainstay vibes of current culture and returns with a variety of reggae, rhythm & blues, and trap-laced production mixing everything into a unique blend. His second full-length project, Second City, released on January 25. NRT’s Joshua Galla connected with Malcolm for an interview to discuss his roots in worship music, marriage, touring, the new project and everything in between.
How has your roots of being a worship pastor at The Edge in Grand Rapids, Michigan molded your style and delivery throughout Second City?
It's laid the foundation. The foundation to not just rap, just to rap; but to rap to move people. I think that’s the foundation of being a worship leader, is moving people into a place to receive the word of God.
Speaking of roots, why pick Second City to sow your roots on record instead of your debut project back in 2017?
I found my voice. The first record, I was still finding my voice. I was still experimenting, still trying to find who I was as an artist. I was still discovering my “why.” With Second City I found my sound and my identity as an artist.
As you and I have discussed in past interactions, we both agree your lyricism and overall content gets overlooked, “slept on” and even ignored at times. Why do you feel lyricism is wasted at times in the current culture?
Literally, we live in a generation where it’s not about the lyrics anymore. Now, it’s focused on the vibe. It’s about the hype. It’s about the clout. A lot of times, it’s about everything but the music. It’s something, that’s how you distinguish your real fans.
During the last three months, you’ve been juggling getting married, participating in the “Bible Tour,” and finalizing the Second City. How have you’ve been able to juggle life’s demands?
A calendar and having an agenda. Knowing my priorities, and knowing the difference between life and making a living.
Which worship artist would you like to collaborate with in the future?
Mr. Kirk Franklin.
How important is it for new and aspiring hip-hop artists to be rooted in their home church (or any church)?
Vital, vital, VITAL! If not, they won’t last long. It’s very important to be plugged into a local church and to be spiritually healthy while possessing accountability. To be in fellowship. You’re not integrated into the Body, it’s easy to say you might not be spiritually healthy. You’re probably not connected to the vine. From experience, I can speak how vital it is to be active within your church home and connected to your pastor.
What do you hope are a few takeaways from Second City after listeners check out the project from start to finish?
Hopefully, they like it and think I’m dope! That, I’m here to make noise and make an impact. That I speak the truth and desire to inspire the youth.
What advice do you have for new, independent rappers?
Stay faithful to the craft. Remain obedient to God. Work harder than everybody else in our space, grind.
How can we (NRT) be praying for you going forward?
Thank you! You and your team can pray that I keep my personal perspective. That I always put God first. That I impact the culture in new ways to bring people to know the amazing God we serve. Just pray I keep my focus. Thanks for asking!
Joshua Galla has been our hip-hop source going on three years. He’s a dad of two amazing daughters and a faithful husband of 15 years. Hip-hop has been a passion of his since his teenage years. He aspires just to see growth in artists, whether independent or signed. He continues to hope a steady flow of positive alternatives remain in hip-hop to impact our youth for generations to come.
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