Haleek Maul, Pop, MTV and Getting In Where Ya Fit In

My friend Jheri that runs a thousand things and designs other cool things put me onto this guy going by Haleek Maul.

We started talking about music and what it means if MTV is covering the music we like. Just the other day I saw Schoolboy Q and A$AP doing interviews for the channel. If we consider ourselves deeper entrenched in these types of music we like, what does it mean if MTV is covering it? I was thinking maybe we were just losing touch and looking for something more pop than what we liked before. But Jheri doesn’t operate that way and I’ve never considered myself one to really LOVE pop music either.

Except when I was a kid. When I was in kindergarten, I was really into Guns N Roses. Guns N Roses, Motley Crue, Poison… a lot of that shit. Then in 2nd grade I got really into Nine Inch Nails. I had seen the video for “Wish” on Headbanger’s Ball. See, I watched Headbanger’s Ball every weekend from Kindergarten forward. Music to me seemed mostly the same up until this point. “Wish” changed everything. I bought everything NIN put out, I had a bunch of those obscure singles and started tracking the releases by number, trying to figure out what else was being put out and why I was only able to get about every 3rd or 4th thing in my small town of Spanish Fork, Utah.

I kept collecting that stuff and getting into industrial mostly through compilations and Alternative Nation I think at that point. In 2nd-4th grades I remember my friends were really into rap. My friend Nate had an older brother that was into Too $hort. We were into “Life Is…” and “Short Dog’s In the House”. We used to like “Benzo’s” as Short calls them. We would rip the emblems off the Cadillac’s and Benz’s in the neighborhood. Then, we’d wear them on our neck, everywhere. I never really got into this because I was afraid my parent’s would ask where they came from. I guess my friends’ parent’s didn’t ask or my friends were better liars.

While my friends were really into rap I was continuing to buy NIN releases, shopping at Media Play and the local CD Store, buying shit like weird hard rock compilations for $19 each. I remember dropping $50 on music probably twice a week during the summer or winter months. Basically anytime I could mow lawns or shovel side walks I was able to make some dough. And I spent it all on music.

I remember my uncle coming back from what was probably a rehab trip to CA, or maybe he was a Satanist out there, I never could get straight stories when something went down in my family. I guess I was too young. Funny how a kid into Nine Inch Nails is too young to know what the ‘adults’ are up to.

Eventually I was turned on to Pink Floyd by my Dad. The Wall changed everything again. I sold all of my Nine Inch Nails albums because I thought I was getting too sad when I listened to them. I didn’t know anything about depression. Around the same time I started having these panic attacks in the night. I would wake up and if it wasn’t time to wake up for school I would focus on the clock. I would watch the minutes go by until it was time to get up. I remember doing this for hours when I was a kid. This was 6th grade. I wanted to get to school early to hang out with the kids that got there early and we lived across the street. I would get up at 6:00 AM everyday. I’d get to school an hour in advance to talk to these girls Cassie and Meghan who, for whatever reason, were dropped off an hour early every single day. Seems odd looking back.

Anyhow, one of the local stations would play the full 15 minute version of Rapper’s Delight every Friday at 6:00AM. I started setting my clock for 5:55 so that I could wake up and be ready for it each week. I loved that song. I still love that song.

I think my question is, is media getting that much better at catching things and promoting them earlier or is it that much more difficult for me to find and enjoy rap that focuses on off the radar music in a way similar to this blog and others like it?

Is it just so much ‘our time’ that this new era of rap music is pop and it hits my niche unlike anything has done before? Seems unlikely but something is happening here….

The EP drops later this month on Merok. Here are some more tracks:

Haleek Maul : ‘Fraulein’ from Jamie Harley on Vimeo.