Malta Bend is the town that my mother was born in and that my father came to and that’s where they met—in a church in a little bitty segregated town outside of Kansas City, Missouri. I said I wanted to take it all the way back to even before me and show the roots of my mother and what she endured. I took it all the way there because if it wasn’t for this little bitty segregated town—population of 140 people—then there wouldn’t be me.
I actually went to Malta Bend for the first time when we did a video shoot. There’s no gas station. There are no convenience stores. It’s just rundown houses and fields. I believe they do a lot of farming there. There are a lot of farmers. My mother lived in the lower town, went to an all black school. My mother was a part of the town when they desegregated the town. When they actually desegregated she was able to then blend into the upper town. The town is so small you can walk through the town.
I don’t know why it took me so long to visit Malta Bend. Me maturing and being on a quest and finding the history of me on my mother’s side had a lot to do with it. I was in that phase where I wanted to write about it. It was definitely therapy to know the history and learn my history. I read up on the town and went back and did my research on why it’s called Malta Bend. It’s a little bitty land surrounded by three sides of the Missouri River. It’s named after a steamer that got stuck in the Missouri River. That’s how it got the name Malta Bend. My mom actually got a chance to go there with me and took me everywhere.
From Malta Bend To Charleston, South Carolina
It’s crazy that [my approach to this album] parallels everything happening in America over the past year from Ferguson and Mike Brown to the Charleston church shooting. But these things have been going on for years and years and years. It’s just that smart phones are a mutherfucker now and they’re able to capture everything and social media allows people to tweet these things out and people are able to see things at the speed of a second. Back in those days it wasn’t like that. That’s what it is. That’s what we’re living in.
I was actually out of town touring in New Mexico when Ferguson erupted. I was on the way back to [Kansas City] when all hell broke loose. I was 30 minutes outside of St. Louis and I was listening to the radio. When I got to the crib, I turned on the news and was able to see what it had came to. The album was already titled and I was sifting through beats before Ferguson happened. I didn’t agree with the initial reports of what happened to Mike Brown. As you see now, that didn’t get documented. Everything wasn’t on camera so we don’t really know what happened and I don’t necessarily believe what was documented. I just don’t know anybody that’s gonna run towards someone firing on them. Where we’re from, we run away from the bullets. We don’t run towards the bullets. It’s only one side of the story being told. The other side will never be heard.
In the case of Eric Garner in New York City, that was documented and it still didn’t matter. That’s scary. That’s crazy. But I applaud Baltimore [District Attorney Marilyn Mosby] for setting a tone of that’s not going to be tolerated. That’s a start. It’s going to take more of that. It’s going to take folks uniting together and standing as one in a positive manner.
Collaborating With Kevin Gates & Glasses Malone
Sonically, Malta Bend is big. I wanted to go bigger and evolve from the last project. When you listen to the music in Malta Bend, you see we stretched the sound of the music. This is music that I’ve never done. I think that’s all about maturing and knowing what I want without knowing but by instinct. The majority of the music was done by Seven. We just got in the studio and got on the same wavelength even before he started doing the beats. Beautiful music came out. I wanted it to be rich. I wanted it to be strong. I wanted it to be 808 driven still. I wanted it to be melodic. I wanted live instruments. These are all the things I wanted to be incorporated into this album. I wanted stadium music. That was my vision.
We released a video for “Run It.” We just shot a video with Tech N9ne and Mystikal for “Rain Dance.” It’s really dope. We did “Fall In Love.” We did “Fucked Up.” There’s going to be more videos. We’re still shooting. “Boss Shit” with Kevin Gates is 808 driven. That’s for you to ride in your whip. That’s one of them thumpers. It’s that mentality.
What’s crazy is even before I started on Malta Bend, I dug Kevin Gates as an artist. I was saying to myself that I wanted him on this album. I reached out to him over Twitter but I didn’t get a response back. I actually got that beat from my homie RCM out in California. I spoke with Travis O’Guin and Dave Weiner to get in contact with Gates and to see if we can get him on the record. I’m actually in the studio recording the song and Kevin Gates actually walks through the studio with Travis O’Guin. Travis was giving him a tour of the studio. It was crazy! I hit Travis up after I was done and said, “I was going to see if you could help me get Gates on this record right here.” He was like, “Cool.” So him and Travis came over and listened to the record. Gates was like, “Send it through.” So we sent him the record. Stars just aligned. Beautiful music.
“Suicidal,” I want you to listen to that and listen to the skit right before that. We’re touching on the type of shit that’s going on right now—the characterizing of people. On this particular joint, me and my deejay, we’re leaving the liquor store. We’re just riding and we get pulled over because of the part of town we’re in and in a nice little car. It escalates into something else. What I wanted to show was something that’s common and happens all the time and how quickly it can escalate. So Glasses Malone, King Harris and I did “Suicidal.”
Ces Cru and I played lyrical volleyball on “Wait On It.” I did four bars, Ubi did four bars, Godemis did four bars, then we split the last four. We each did each other’s ad-libs and we did that on every verse—all three verses—but interchanging positions. It’s crazy. I had the idea of the format because I love how they feed off each other. I wanted to do a three-man weave with them. I got the beat from my dude J. White. I presented it to them then we all sat down in a suburban right outside of the studio, burned a couple back and wrote it all together. Then we went up in the studio and dropped it.
“Malta Bend” Is For The Fans
The [Charleston Emanuel AME] shootings were surprising because the most sacred place that we have on this Earth was violated and attacked in a violent manner. It’s surprising and sad and unfortunate. With having the Confederate flag up, you know historically what that flag means. So why not take that down? You talk about everybody joining forces, you’re setting a division by keeping it up because there’s an underlying tone to what that flag means. This is what I believe. I hear people saying it means “Southern pride.” Historically, everybody knows what that flag means. It coincides with a certain tone. Supporters have to ask themselves if that’s the impression that they want to leave. Is that the impression that they want to set?
I think that the fans are going to have an in-depth look on even before me. On Malta Bend, on the first song I start with my mother’s life. I don’t come into the picture until the second. There’s narration. It’s definitely more skit oriented than I’ve ever done before. It’s still a party. It’s still a rollercoaster ride. There’s a serious tone towards the end of the album. I call it a movie because you can visualize what’s happening with the skits. I think the fans will get an in-depth look and I think they’ll love it because it’s honest. If you’re a Stevie Stone fan, you’re gonna fuck with it. If you’re just now learning about it and getting to learn it, it’s going to put you on to something. I think I’m bringing a tone that’s been missing from Hip Hop for a while. I’m anxious to see the feedback. It’s definitely the best work that I’ve done, definitely evolved from the last album. I’m encouraging everyone to walk on this journey with me. I encourage everybody to walk through Malta Bend. Tap in.