We have just stumbled into the month of March but there were definitely some projects released in February that didn’t get their just due. One such project was dropped on February 14, 2020, on Spotify by an artist based in the Midwest. Let’s take a dive inside Maliphresh’s ‘Hood N Holy.’
The first song on the project is titled “Intro” and it is aptly named as Mali lets us know just who he is and what he has come to do. The beat sounds ominous as if something is about to happen. Then Phresh jumps in with his double time flow. Mali believes he is the “Maliphreshest of them all/ and I’m the next big thing!” Talk about confident! He could be right though, have to keep listening to find out. The second song is “G.I.T.G” which stands for “Give It To God.” For this song we find Mali talking about why he gives everything that he’s going through to God. The hook is kind of catchy and he teamed up with Xay Hill, who delivered a verse with a lot of sauce in the delivery, for this song. I do feel like saying “I feel God in my chest” followed by, “I feel Him in my heart” was a little repetitive, but other than that, it was a good song. The third song is “Holy Spirit,” leaving no doubt in the listener’s mind what Mali was going to rap about. The line, “Two or more and he all up in it” was a clever way to say that when two or more people in the Faith come together the Holy Spirit is in the midst. The beat sounds somber and serious, as it should be, because the Spirit is nothing to play with. Maliphresh gets to a part where he’s comparing faith in God to gravity and the wind, and this is where I have an issue. He used the word “gravity” 3 times, the word “wind” like six times, and “Lord” almost six times as well. I would have liked to have seen Maliphresh switch up his word choice on this one. This caused the song to fall a little flat for me.
The next song is “Walk Away” and it may be one of the best songs on the project. The beat gives off a sense of urgency as Mali lets the listener know that he’s really from the hood. He drops lines, “I got some homies and no I won’t say their names/ cuz these homies do not play,” you know Mali may actually have come from the environment he raps about. Mali talks about where he came from but ultimately how he made it out and he really wants his homies still in the hood to follow the path he did. He admonished those still in the street life to, “walk up in a church and tell Jesus where it hurts/ He already knew from the beginning He just want to hear it first.” This is definitely one of the better songs on the project. Next we go to “Be Polite” which is my least favorite song on the entire project. Don’t get it twisted, the beat definitely slaps, but my issue is with the content of this song. This song is like an audio “how not to get shot by the police” and it’s troubling to say the least. There are some valid points about not running from the police and not breaking laws, but it puts a lot of responsibility on unarmed citizens to not get unjustly killed by the police. This song plays into respectability politics, which pretty much states that if you act respectfully then you’ll be treated with respect, but history has shown that this is just not true. I was hoping that this was satire of sorts but it seems as if Maliphresh is very serious about this song, and maybe he meant well but this song just isn’t it . The next to last song on this project is “Bhurch.” I really like the opening lines as it sets the tone for the entire song, “You a Bhristian you go to Bhurch?/ No I’m a Christian, I go to church.” Mali dips more into his hood bag on this record as he equates the hustle of a trapper to his hustle as an independent artist. He keeps a steady flow and cadence on the record, and for the most part it works. I am not a fan of the “one in three/ that’s a whole Trinity/ help me walk in purity” section of the song. I don’t know if it’s the emphasis that he puts on the rhyme word, but it sounds really elementary almost like a nursery rhyme. I really like the title of “Bhurch” and wanted to like this song, it was an interesting title. He starts off with the trapper music artist comparison but then he goes into how to live a godly life. There’s nothing wrong with that but I had hoped he would have followed the Bhurch idea a little bit more. Since he knows about gangs and the church, perhaps he could have made the comparison that the church or “bhurch” is also covered by the Blood and fleshed out that idea a little more. The title was intriguing, but the execution let me down a little. Finally, we come to the final song, “Like A Celly Remix.” On this record we find Maliphresh pouring out his heart to God and just lamenting. He cries out to to God to answer his prayer like a “celly” which is just a slang term for cellphone. Today, most people don’t leave the house without their cellphone and we answer them rather quickly. I believe it’s with this thought in mind that Mali asks God to answer his prayers swiftly. This is a great way to end a project that represents the hood and the holy parts of Maliphresh the man and the artist.
In conclusion, this was a solid project. Mali has a good ear for production and he can rap. This project felt fairly short as most of the songs were timed at around two and a half minutes except for “G.I.T.G” and “Holy Spirit.” I would like to see longer songs, whether that’s by adding a third verse or a bridge to get more time with a song. After about three listens to the album, I felt as if Mali’s hooks all sounded very similar. There’s a slow part, a fast part, and a very repetitive part. I would like to see Mali work on his hooks, maybe team up with other artists or singers to give variety to them. As I mentioned, I felt as if some songs could have went further “Bhurch,” and some songs were written in a one dimensional tone and require a bit more nuance when addressing them “Be Polite.” All in all, this was a good project to listen to. If you are looking for some energetic music that toes the line between hood and holy, check out Maliphresh’s ‘Hood N Holy’ album.