Shout out to Danielle Kraese for the well written article about me and Jack of All Trades' recent collaborative album Local To Global:
Local hip-hop artists bound to become a global success?
By: Danielle Kraese
It's hard to know where to turn for good music these days. Jay-Z seems to waver freely in and out of retirement, Lil' Wayne has made an unfortunate foray into the rock scene, and it looks as though Chris Brown may be forced to put his career on hold for a bit - after his alleged involvement in a case of domestic violence, he probably won't be able to "Run It" for a while. Fortunately, University at Albany students don't need to look far for the next great find in music-as matter of fact, it's right here in Albany.
Big Malk and Jack Of All Trades-two Albany residents otherwise known as Matthew Malkiewicz and Jim Heffernan, respectively-released their debut hip-hop album, Local To Global, this past September. Although the 12-track album has yet to burn up the Billboard Hot Charts, the addictive beats and clever lyrics definitely make it worthy of a purchase, if not at the very least, a listen on MySpace.
Malkiewicz, 24, is currently a senior at UAlbany majoring in English. The album was produced by his record label, Degenerate Gamblers Music. As he puts it, Local To Global is essentially a "good old hip-hop album" for true fans of the genre.
According to Malkiewicz, he and Heffernan, 31, "met just through music" several years ago. In December 2007 they decided to put together the album, which they recorded in both of their home studios over a period of four months. Their style was influenced by artists they respect, such as DJ Premier, Pete Rock, 9th Wonder, Little Brother, and The Alchemist. The beats on the album were produced by Heffernan, with the exception of the track "Which Way You Goin,'" which Malkiewicz co-produced with him. When it comes to the creative raps, Heffernan wrote his own beforehand, while Malkiewicz preferred to improvise his parts on the spot while in the studio.
The album hardly lacks variety; there are songs that are more serious-sounding, with intense beats, while some have a more light-hearted sound. Throughout the album, the raps swagger along the border of confident and cocky. But after a listen, it becomes clear that any lyrics boasting a superior knack for hip-hop are rather justified - and who really wants to listen to raps fueled by low self-esteem, anyway?
One distinctive trait of the album is the ear-catching interludes in between each track. These interludes are no longer than a 30-second TV commercial, yet they provide the perfect transition from one song to the next. Mostly, they are in sharp style contrast with the song after which they follow. One example is the high-energy song "Holdin' You Down," which has a dramatic beat with a high-energy orchestra element. Meanwhile, the subsequent interlude distinguishes itself with a quirky, classic blues style.
There are some rather memorable tracks on Local To Global-of course, not to imply that there any were forgettable ones. "Get Out My Life" is a song comprised of self-assured but shrewd analogies woven throughout a resonating chorus and backed by a blasting beat. In one sharp line Heffernan warns, "I'll plant two in your chest, like Pam Anderson."
The track "Fresh And Clean" has a fun, addictive beat that seems reminiscent of Super Nintendo (think Mario and Luigi popping in and out of giant green tubes while on their way to save Princess). The raps are not to be outdone by the unique beats, with slick lines such as "Fuck a ventriloquist, my music speaks for itself" and from the catchy chorus, "You know we're coming fresh and clean like dish soap/ Wrote the book of rap, now they're reading the Cliff Notes."
The two are currently working on various music projects, both separately and together. Heffernan has a finished mix tape that is due to come out, while Malkiewicz has a solo album in the works. They are also working together on a follow-up album for Local To Global for those who listened to it and were left craving more. In the future, they hope to continue networking while getting their music out to the public.
"Hopefully, we can get some beats to people who are a little more known than we are," Malkiewicz said.
Local To Global is available on MySpace for listening and for purchasing at: