Malik: “Deception” – poised and distinctive in its presentation

Malik’s talents as a singer, rapper, and producer on full display on his latest album, “Deception”. Musically, he shows his ability to merge soulful R&B vocals, hip-hop rhythmic patterns, smart chord progressions, and passion stories. Malik’s versatility is by far his greatest asset. Other hip-hop/R&B hybrid artists sound more like rappers who also sing sometimes, or singers who occasionally rap. Not once on this album does it feel like that’s the case. Malik shifts between soul singing and spitting bars effortlessly. You don’t get the complete picture of him with just one of those elements.

He uses his singing and his rapping to complement each other perfectly. Another thing that sets Malik apart from other hybrid singer-rappers is that he has soul in his voice. People like Drake, Bryson Tiller or Tory Lanez sound cool, but they don’t have that extra emotional bite to their voices. Few in this lane can pull off what Malik is doing on “Deception”.

Influenced by artists including Kanye West, Kid Cudi and Coldplay, Malik hails from Belgium. The artist created a buzz both at home and abroad, on dropping his debut mixtape, “Red Light”, when he was just sixteen.

Malik has a publishing deal with Universal Music France and heads his own record label called Eternal March Craft Records. Humble honesty tempers his style—a triple threat of rapping, singing, and producing, Malik created a 15 track album whose heights hit higher than most.

The highs that songs like “Deception”, “Cream”, “Freedom” and “Live Life” hit, however, set a standard hard to match. Malik blends in some bangers like “On The Way” ft. Bhavi and “Don’t Go Clubbin’”, to answer the bedroom tone created by the piano-driven musings of “Love Cycle”, the pleasure-seeking “Do It Right” and soaring  “Please”. This lush balance attests to Malik’s evident maturity as a holistic artist who oversees his music’s every facet.

Malik’s smooth song-rap delivery, the cleanness of the production and sustainable lyrical dynamism allows songs like “Like That” and “Game On” to reach their full potential. The artist also produces an emotional complex that artfully merges eclectic styles and messages of self-belief, culminating with “Till I Die” and “Way Up”.

But standing at 15 tracks long, “Deception” really has something for everyone. This is an album full of powerful vocal performances from Malik himself, whose voice is smooth and incredibly expressive, as well as great for rap verses.

Malik really brought a new mesh of sound to the table with this one and it will surely blow up as a result. When he sings, raps, or does both, we’re compelled to listen. We yearn for his insight, because he sounds genuine. Malik is poised and distinctive in his presentation, putting him atop any list of fresh, up-and-coming performers.

I know for a fact that I will be jamming and cruising to this all year long. He really is one of those special talented artists with the ear for quality beat and sound. Perhaps other records this year will prove to be objectively greater, but few will make greatness look so positively effortless. This is a powerful and honest project and is absolutely worth lots of your time.


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