Incubated in the early 20’s dissociations of Oakland based songwriter and producer Malik Mays, Mahawam is an antagonist. But only if you believe you’re the good guy. “I like to think of Mahawam not as the person I am when I put on or take off a mask, but the lingering feeling of awareness of the action. The not-so-objective, often unimpressed observer in and of the whole of my experience. Maha makes it make sense.” Black and queer, among many things, Mays’ work explores the borders of self and other, subject and object, agency and powerlessness, and the forces that disallow the Black and the queer to decide those boundaries for themselves. “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.”
That euclidean ability to abstract the self bears itself both in Mahawam’s lyricism and musical output. 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, presenting a raw and immersive experience during their energetic live shows. As a remixer Mahawam employs an if-you-squint approach to production, taking recent releases from fellow Bay Area acts Emily Afton, NRVS LVRS and The Seshen into unforeseen territory.
Mahawam is currently developing a new collection of songs alongside co-producer and mix engineer Aki Ehara, tentatively titled “Foils.” Mahawam’s debut EP “Is An Island,” is available everywhere via Molly House Records.