Mahawam is the studio recording and performance outlet for Oakland based musician, songwriter, and producer Malik Mays. Black and queer, among many things, the 30 year old’s work combs the borders and unexplored terrain of self and other, with themes of discovery, reclamation, and purpose through a deeply considered, intersectional lens. Mahawam’s output speaks to the spirit of curiosity joyously persevering in the margins, specifically that of queer persons in Black America and other previously or currently colonized communities, as it resists forces that challenge the human need to decide boundaries and create peace.
“Mahawam allows me to investigate what it means, has meant, and will mean to be me. In that way, Mahawam is how I experience time. It’s my fourth dimension.”
Sobering punchlines, meticulously worded flows, and propellant, genre-defying productions combine in frequently unusual ways to form a mercurial hip-hop sound all their own. Mahawam translates this atmosphere to the stage with understated confidence. Solo or with their 4-piece band, Mahawam presents a raw and immersive experience during their energetic live shows.
As a producer and collaborator, Mahawam employs a left-leaning, pop informed approach, taking recent remixes and features for fellow Bay Area acts Emily Afton, NRVS LVRS and The Seshen into unforeseen territory.