Words + photos by Antonio Hernandez.
It took just under three years for Malik Ferraud to complete his debut album, Infinity. Nostalgia-inducing boom-bap, meets Soulection-inspired beats over the course of 17 tracks. The album is a result of Ferraud’s own transitions. Moments of clarity of introspection allowed Ferraud, formerly known simply as Money, to express uncertainty in “Picture Perfect,” ambition in the “Great Escape,” and balance in “Top Back.”
Recently, Ferraud was featured as part of the Loud Music Tour’s stop in Baltimore, sharing the stage with other rising stars such as Black Zheep and Al Rogers Jr. In addition to cuts from Infinity, he performed a number of unreleased songs, to a crowd that was as eager to mosh as they were to hear his message.
Malik Ferraud discusses the making of Infinity, creative direction, and how fatherhood has impacts his work.
Q: What was the concept behind Infinity?
MALIK: When I was creating it, I wanted to put my emotions in it. Whether you want to be happy or sad; whether you’re thinking about a spouse or someone from your past; or you work a 9-5 and it’s not really working out. Infinity is the emotion that your everyday person can go through. It took like two-and-a-half years to make.
Q: Some of the songs have an old-school, boom-bap feel to it. Did you set out to do that, when you chose the producers?
MALIK: I think it came together organically. There were some days when I would search the internet and find a sound I could bring to the table. I’m a big fan of Soulection and a lot of those guys on the West Coast. On that song with Butch Dawson “4EVER10VE,” when I heard that beat I knew I wanted to talk about Baltimore. There are a lot of things in my city that need to be talked about. It came together so organic that I think it just pushed that type of vibe, more of a hip-hop, Nas meets A Tribe Called Quest type of vibe.
“I feel that a lot of artists feel rushed. They feel like they have to compete with the other people with consistency”
Q: Why did it take almost three years to finish?
MALIK: Me and my team look out at this industry, and I feel that a lot of artists feel rushed. They feel like they have to compete with the other people with consistency, and drop something every month. That’s good and all, but it hurts the craft, because now you’re rushing and force your craft, when it takes time. When you think about the 90’s, all the old-school albums took years to make. Like Tupac or Biggie, they would drop an album once every two or three years.
^ Malik Ferraud performs at the Loud Music Tour, Baltimore, MD
We took the time to just develop the sound, nurture it, cater it, and give it to the people the right way. The name “Infinity” means forever, so when we created the album, we wanted it to have the feeling of forever, so when someone is listening down the line they can still appreciate it.
“I went through a lot. From losing certain to relatives, aunts and uncles I grew up with, my daughter getting older, and I got out of a long relationship”
Q: How did you grow in that past two years?
MALIK: All across the boards really, I went through a lot. From losing certain to relatives, aunts and uncles I grew up with, my daughter getting older, and I got out of a long relationship. Things like that all play a significant role in the creation of Infinity. That’s why I say the album thrives off the emotion that your everyday person has. I was going through a lot of different emotions when I was creating it, and that’s really how it turned out.
Q: Did being a father impact the making of the album?
MALIK: That’s really impacted my whole career. I had my daughter when I was 16, so when I was young I was going through a lot. I’m 24 now, and I’m still young. When I was 16, it was just abrupt thing, and I just shifted and made me take music serious. That day, I said I’m going to make it music, and show to her you can make your dreams come true.
Q: Do you play the album around her?
MALIK: Yeah man, I play it all the time! She’s my number-one fan. On the next album, I’ll probably have some excerpts [from her].
“I’m just trying to set her up so she can go to college because I didn’t get to go”
Q: Do you think you’ll get her involved in any of the processes when she gets older?
MALIK: I’m honestly trying to teach her how to do it. She’s really into drawing, she really appreciates my music. She’s very curious, very interested in what I’m doing. Hopefully she doesn’t become a rapper. I’m just trying to set her up so she can go to college because I didn’t get to go.
“We spent the past week, sitting down for hours and putting the projections so they were in-sync with the actual music and vocals”
Q: How hands on were you in choosing the graphics that went into your performance?
MALIK: I was very hands on. We spent the past week, sitting down for hours and putting the projections so they were in-sync with the actual music and vocals. A lot of people that do projections, they’ll set it up where it’s just playing, and it’s not necessarily with what’s happening. When we performed Miss America, we had the American flag and a different visionary concept for that, because we wanted it to make sense for that song. I think it really dded to the performance.
Q: Since you do the graphics and the setlists, do you feel limited when you perform?
MALIK: I’m only the limited by these promoters, man. They need to give me more time. Every time I perform, I get these little time slots, and I can’t really do what I want to do. Give me an hour, where I can really flourish, but that’s when I really constrained. I couldn’t really perform the hip-hop songs I really wanted to tonight, the ones with more of a message. I wanted to show that side, but I just didn’t have enough time, unfortunately.
“I ultimately hope one day that thousands of people get to see it or, within our city, hundreds”
Q: If you were given that hour, what would that look like?
MALIK: It would look like a movie, if I had the time and people came out to support it. I want more people to see the potential of it. I don’t mind doing these types of shows with these types of projections, but I ultimately hope one day that thousands of people get to see it or, within our city, hundreds. I want people to experience more than just the regular trap, and thirty guys on stage jumping around.
Q: Are you happy with the reception of Infinity?
MALIK: I couldn’t believe it! A lot of these websites are finally showing love. I remember when we used to sit on the internet and hit them all up and never get a response or feedback. Now, when we release a song, they already know who we are and what we bring to the table.
“I hope to be a vessel for these other artists, and open a lane for the whole squad”
Q: Where will you be in 5 days, 5 months and 5 years?
MALIK: In five days, I’ll be working on music, maybe doing a show. In five months, hopefully another will be out and a couple music videos will be out from Infinity. In five years, I plan to be iconic, I want to be legendary. I’ve been making music for ten years. I think in five years I’ll be on a platform where people from my city will remember that they saw me at Ottobar. I hope to be a vessel for these other artists, and open a lane for the whole squad. I also want to be financially stable – I’m not trying to do this for free, I’m about to get rich. I gotta get money to take care of my daughter.