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interview // vocab malone

The emcee from Columbus, Ohio named Vocab Malone has been rapping since the early years of 5th grade and has released seven independently released albums. Utilizing his gift of poetry and energy over an old school vibe has been Vocab Malone’s successful signature style. His latest release, The Notepad Nomad features 15 excellent head nodding track.

How did you begin rapping and who was your inspiration? 


I began in 4th grade when I transferred schools and everyone at my new school was either an mc, beat boxer, or dancer.  I kid you not.  I grew to truly love hip hop and it just stuck ever since then.


My main inspiration was all those groups that I was first exposed to: LL, Run DMC, Fat Boys, 3xDope, Kid-N-Play, BDP, EPMD, Kool Moe Dee, and even Hammer.  What changed everything is when I heard Stephen Wiley, the first Christian rapper, and realized I could actually rhyme about Christ!  I also loved the old Fresh Prince stuff because of the humorous stories.


How did you hook up with Gotee Records? 


My “relationship” with Gotee is just in the fact I met some of the key players back in a day when I drove with John Reuben out to Nashville when he was in the process of getting signed.  Also, they licensed a song from Phoenix native Verbs’ album for a local compilation we did.  I have nothing but love for Gotee because I feel they really put it down.


What do you think listeners will hear on your upcoming release “Happy Hardcore”? 


The listeners will hear nothing but static and curse words over old Tears for Fears instrumentals … just kidding.  The new album will be one of contrasts; fast/slow, happy/sad, energetic/depressed, complex/simple, aggressive/mellow, etc. 


It also has some pretty dope guests, too: Pigeon John, Lightheaded, Red Cloud, and more!


What do you feel is your favorite track off the album? 


Off the new one, I’m not sure yet because we’re still in the middle of it, ya’know?  But off of “Notepad Nomad”, I would roll with “U” because it’s so organic, melodic, and whimsical … more similar to the overall direction of the new joint. 


What inspires your songs? 


Life, Wife, and Christ!  Oh, and beans and rice … and Vanilla Ice … sorry about that.


You’ve done quite a few albums, what is in your discography?  


My first three were actually hand dubbed tapes, straight Labklik style, boy! 

They were all done on my Fostex XR-5, to those who know what that is.  I did those albums in Ohio with John Reuben & The Showcase MC’s, my old crew.


Then I dropped my first CD here in Phoenix.  It was called “Headphone Music” … man, I still love that title.  After that was “Prism Cru All-Stars” and then “Audio Journal”.  The latest is called “The Notepad Nomad”, which is now on sale at Junkyard Distribution and Southwest Hip Hop.com.  That’s not to mention some compilations and guest appearances.  Come to think of it, I should be a much doper MC than I am by now … ha.


Tell me about The One Musical. 


The One is huge.  No joke, God has really hooked it up. 


What it is is this: the world’s first holy hip-hopera.  It’s the Gospel story, but told in a hip hop “opera” format; meaning it has no traditional dialogue, just “lyrics”.  Myself and five other cats came together a year and a half ago to script it out and now here we are with a cast of 70 people, an average attendance of 900, and about 20 people saved at every performance!  We’ve done about 8 performances of The One so far, and the next run is scheduled for March 2005.


The director wants to take it on the road eventually.  For more info, including the backstory, clips, and dates, go to www.theonemusical.com.  You can even order the DVD or soundtrack online.  For real, you’ve gotta see it to believe it.


You are currently unsigned, are you shopping to labels? 


I’ve been an independent artist for a minute now but that is about to change a little.  I’m currently in the process of signing with Coalition Records, a very small start-up label here in Arizona that has several other urban acts on the roster.  In reality, I’ll still be basically an indie cat, but just with the synergy of a cluster of others trying to put in work as well.  So it’s not a “crazy hardcore major playa” type of move, more just like a mutual working agreement between some like-minded folks and myself, you see.  For now I’m just gonna re-release “The Notepad Nomad” with the label and see how it goes from there. 


What would the ultimate reward for you be? 


Heaven, of course, which is a topic covered on the new album.  The song is called “Yes/No”.  But on a different level, just reaching my full potential and completing the specific mission God has laid out for me.  That includes seeing people changed forever and becoming a more complete man of character and integrity.


What can we look forward to in the near future from Vocab Malone? 


Oh, I will turn the computer off and then I will stand up from the chair so I can go brush and floss my teeth.  Then I will take out my contacts, turn off the lights, say my prayers, and go to sleep.  I would say that about covers it.


Any last words?


Yes.  “Please bring me my will so I can make sure it is still up-to-date”.


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