Malkovich’s music, much like his life, has no boundaries. His latest mixtape, “Pre-Boarding,” is an eclectic mix of lifestyle driven lyrics over world music classics – slightly revisited with some clever hip-hop production, and expertly mixed by Brooklyn’s infamous DJ Spinna.
Malkovich literally travels the world making music through a global network of friends and artists he has connected with through Twitter and other mediums. Along with his own music, he supports himself through DJing and other easily mobile business ventures, his home is where the music takes him. He has recently settled in Namibia…for now.
He also documents his travels in an awesome video web series called #1Bag, where you can follow the traveling rapper across the Earth in his search for adventure and exotic beats that accent his L.A. rhyme Style.
We were recently lucky enough to track down Malkovich and pick his brain about music and the world at large, and who better to interview him than our own hip-hop journeyman, who also has a knack for purposely losing track of time – Tucker Booth.
Tucker: So let’s start with a hardball across the plate: Twilight or Hunger Games? Tupac or Biggie? Jake or The Fatman?
Malkovich: I have never seen Twilight or Hunger Games but they both sound ghastly. I saw too many stay-at-home mothers raving about it on Facebook – red flag. I’ve only allowed a handful of shows into my life – The Sopranos, Fawlty Towers, Blackadder, The Simpsons, Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm – which I re-watch every year or so for new layers that always appear. My mental real estate is valuable.
I prefer Biggie, but not by much, and I think if there can only be one GOAT between the two of them it’s Tupac. More catalog, more hits, a legion of fanatical fans. The fact that you may not like it doesn’t change facts. Pac was rap Jesus, hate it or love it.
Now that we got the tough stuff out-of-the-way what’s your stance on Obamacare? Abortion? Kim K’s ass?
I signed up for Obamacare and got cheap insurance. I visited the doc a couple of times and service was the same, just cheaper. Like Kim K’s ass, I don’t know how to argue with that. The idea that the nation that calls itself the most advanced in the world doesn’t have affordable healthcare for all its citizens just underscores what a joke America is in certain respects, like GUN CONTROL.
I think abortion should be legal but only in the very early stages. At some point there’s a real human being in there which is going to feel pain. Abortion is obviously a nightmare for any woman who has to go through it and I can’t tell anyone what to do with their lives, but if you’ve had more than one abortion you probably need sexual education lessons and some good therapy. We’ve all had plenty of conversations with people who had sex to orgasm and were surprised when a baby came out.
I hear lots of world music elements on your latest album “Pre-Boarding” as well as Jazz and Fusion. Beside Rap what genre of music speaks to you the most?
No one genre. I just like old music. First, because I’m always looking for stuff to have my producer friends sample. But I’m the guy who listens to the songs people sampled just for pleasure. I’d probably have quit rap a long time ago if it weren’t for these amazing beats I’m sent every day, and the bedrock of these beats are these mind blowing old songs.
Numerous recent studies prove that popular songs today are much more similar today than the popular songs of previous eras were. And yeah, the people may seem to like it, but we’ll like anything you play us ten times a day. Today’s music will not have the staying power of 20th century music. The nature of entertainment has changed. Music can be created so fast now that it’s not about making some songs that people will play for the next 50 years, it’s about making an endless stream of songs that listeners can listen to one after the other for the next 50 years.
Every now and then I hear a great pop song like Sia’s “Chandelier”, and Beyonce is an undeniable icon. Beyonce will stand the test of time, along with a few others. But when I listen to the majority of new music, I can almost hear the board meetings in the background.
As a fellow Hip Hop Hobo I am well aware of many of the travails you have surely gone through in your Rap journey. What do you consider the hardest parts about walking the path of the Indie artist? What are the greatest rewards of following the road less traveled by?
The hardest part for me is spending my life making these songs, putting them out, and watching them go mostly unnoticed. At some point every artist has to prepare to accept the fact that he probably isn’t going to make it. There’s only one reason why artists don’t make it: they haven’t spent enough time on their craft. I mean all aspects of it: the music, the business, and living the kind of life that makes you someone people wanna listen to. And I mean spending every day, the majority of your day, before romance and kids and even food and shelter, music comes first.
You’re competing against desperate people who have nothing but their dream and nothing but time to chase it. You’re trying to be a successful musician. What’s better in life than being a successful musician? Nothing comes close, I don’t care who you are. And that’s why it’s not easy. It’s not supposed to be. I’ve been rapping for 20 years and I haven’t made it yet. I haven’t taken the more linear route, I haven’t had the time or the inclination to work as hard at certain aspects of my music career as some of my peers have, and I have a very stubborn vision of how I want my music to be. So I’m trying to create a base and a team in southern Africa which will mean more success, more money and most importantly more time.
Time is everything. The greatest reward of this road I’m on is that every day of my life is an adventure. I move through three countries in a week. I fall in love with places and people. I make music. I shoot video. I DJ and drink and work like a dog and search for wifi and get lost and make money and lose money and go weeks without seeing anyone I know. Each location is a new life, with a new woman and a new route you walk in the mornings and a new lunch spot and new bars and new dreams, and sometime very soon you’re gonna have to smile and let it all go, trust that if it was the place for you you’ll return, and then move forward to the next location.
Last but not least: If you could pick one person from any time in history to hang out with for a day; who would it be and what would you two do?
I’d pick Ayatollah Khomeini, and we’d hang out in San Francisco so maybe I could accidentally push him off the Golden Gate Bridge. Then maybe I’d have never left Iran and none of this would be happening.
Interview by Tucker Booth