“Recognize a real Don when you see one.” So went the line from “Notorious,” (August 2016) and by now, attendees of Malaa‘s Don Malaa tour should know exactly what they’re looking at when the enigmatic producer takes the stage.
Since September 7, Malaa’s masked silhouette has been seen in venues across the United States and Canada during phase two of his Don Malaa supporting tour—his largest live initiative to date. On the road, in the company of special guests such as ACRAZE, Wax Motif, and Habstrakt, he’s staged interest in Don Malaa, his debut album two years in the making. Following the September 30 release of the LP, the verdict is in: it was worth the wait.
Don Malaa juxtaposes buttery-smooth, soulful production flexes (see “Discipline” with Tchami and “True Friends” for an example) with the boisterous, off-the-rails punches of intensity that have peppered so much of Malaa’s music over the years. “Outcast” with Fivio Foreign appropriately sets expectations for what’s to come on Don Malaa: charged-up hip-hop/dance hybrids and G-House. It’s a potent cocktail garnished with cameos from some of hip-hop and dance’s finest; DJ Snake, A-Trak, Ghostface Killah, and Jadakiss represent just a few.
Malaa’s sound is inimitable and familiar but pushes the envelope enough to allow Don Malaa to keep listeners engaged from its ominous, tone-setting “Intro” to its old-school hip-hop-inflected finale, “Die Hard.” The Parisian successfully toggles between the tried-and-true and the exploratory with the finesse of—what else?—a real Don. Stream below.
Featured image: Merc Photography