The Break Presents: Bruno Mali Kidd
A second chance to make a first impression doesn't come often but luckily it happened for Bruno Mali Kidd. The Miami-bred rapper is hardly a rap neophyte. Seven years ago, he was dropping songs like "Lay Low" under his former moniker Young Spook. Based on his lyrical delivery and the catchy hook on the track, he seemed to have a promising future as an artist.
However, his career hit a road block just as he was getting started. Two years after "Lay Low" arrived, he released the Local Addiction mixtape in 2012, but then it grew pretty quiet for Bruno Mali. The relationship with his former record label didn't go as planned ("They went they way, I went this way") so he had to take a step back to learn the game and refocus.
Equipped with a new name, his own label, Blocc Money Billionaires Music Group, and the same passion for rapping, the MC went to work once again in the studio. Since Bruno Mali is a student of the game (he prides himself on wordplay and studying its different elements), hitting the booth for countless hours was the norm. Last year, the lyricist, who was born in Freeport, Bahamas, hit hip-hop gold when he released "HA," a track paying homage to Southern rap veteran Juvenile.
The song proved he not only had respect for his hip-hop elders but the ability to make an enthralling record. While he models his flow after Juve, down to the added "ha" at the end of every bar ("Know how to use a triple beam, ha/You got a team, this a movie, I ain't tryna skip a scene, ha/Screaming money ain't a thing, ha/With yellow diamonds in your ring, this all started as a dream, ha") Bruno made the track his own.
Now the rapper of Haitian descent is getting love from a fellow South Florida artist, Rick Ross. Earlier this month, the Maybach Music Group boss welcomed Bruno Mali to take the stage to perform "HA" at the 9 Mile Festival in their hometown. Little did the public know at the time, that wasn't the first occasion the two rhymers had connected. A week after their festival performance, Bruno dropped the minacious ode "Monkey Suit" featuring Ross.
With more collabos alongside the likes of Zoey Dollaz ("Ima Zoe") and Ace Hood ("King Kong"), and freestyles to the beat of Future's "Mask Off" on his resume, Bruno's been keeping his name in the mix while working on his forthcoming mixtape, M.A.D.E. An acronym for Money, Attitude, Direction and Education, Bruno's new project will be a reflection of where he comes from, Little Haiti, and where he's headed. "Now, even in the city, they see me moving on my own," he tells XXL. "That alone is a whole 'nother vibe, my own aura, you know? I've been gone for so long, and then, even when I was doing my thing, it was always controlled and stuff like that, you feel me? Now to finally see me move by myself, I feel like that alone, just know we self-made now."
Get to know more about Bruno Mali Kidd's vision, the New York rapper that made him respect the sport of rap and more in XXL's The Break.
Hometown: Little Haiti, Miami
I grew up listening to: "Jadakiss. Jada never gave me a wack verse. Funny thing, where I come from, they make fun of a nigga for listening to that. 'You listen to that New York nigga?'... I'm a fiend for wordplay. Let me learn how to put words together. I'm listening to it, that's what always made me respect the sport. I respected the sport on a whole 'nother level. I grew up listening to Jada, my favorite rapper.
"Styles [P], [Jay Z] Hov—I love Hov for the business aspect, you know, the way Hov move and stuff. You know, of course 'Pac and Biggie, of course 'Pac and Biggie. I'm just following the tradition of that hip-hop, I can't forget it. I can't forget what made me. Scarface, Tip, Luda, [Lil] Wayne. Who else from the South that put it down? Big K.R.I.T. Big K.R.I.T. been putting it down for the longest."
My style’s been compared to: "They talk about Brisco. Jada...I dig the Jada [Jadakiss]. Ja [Rule]. They came to me with the Ja. Z-Ro. Texas Z-Ro. I could understand. The Z-Ro and the Ja Rule I could understand because everybody would say that. I grew up listening to Z-Ro too, and I grew up listening to a lot of Ja too. So my voice with the Z-Ro, and I can sing—I can harmonize with my voice, kinda sing—whatever I do with that, they just [say], 'It sound like Z-Ro.'
"And I know exactly what they talking about because I took some pages out of his book too, you know? And Ja, that other singing voice too, that [sings 'What would I be without my baby?'] I can see why. I let the work talk. I really like letting the work talk."
Most people don't know: "I listen to certain motivational speakers. Les Brown. It was like, dark points in my life. I can give you one example. It was a time when I was like, 'cause I used to work out, we still work out now, but it was all about the physical when I was first working out, keeping my physical up, and I went through some shit when I was just, I lost 10 pounds within a week. My mom passed, you feel me? I lost 10 pounds within a week.
"Just losing it, I'm getting skinny. Then I came across that Les Brown. I started to build myself back up working out, but while I'm working out, it was more in my mind. It was a discipline thing, and he was feeding me spiritually. And it sound crazy but I went like, three months and I built myself back, like, I seen I can do it and he was just giving me that strength. Forget the physical, it all started with the mental, mental discipline, and I disciplined myself mentally and it started to show."
My standout records to date have been: "'HA.' It was already familiar to the people, Juve [Juvenile] came through and did it how he did it. So I think it was a breath of fresh air and it was familiar too. It just kinda caught them off guard. I was like, I could've gave them any one of them records and they would've vibed, but I was like, Man, let me just pay my homage before I step inside, wipe my feet on the carpet, 'Hello.' That's how I'm coming. And it worked. It worked exactly how I thought."
My standout moments to date have been: "When Ace [Hood] gave me that shout-out on that mixtape, on that Starvation 5. Ace gave me that light, and ever since then I've just been running. I mean, to be honest, I'm looking for that moment right now. I feel like it's about to come, like when I'm finna really prove myself. But what really got the light on a nigga was when Ace gave me that shot on Starvation 5."
My goal in hip-hop is: "Be one of the staples for the next 10 years. Be one of the staples, and to help the other up-comers come through. Most likely be a staple for the next 10 years. Through music and business."
I’m going to be the next: "Hottest thing, what the game been missing. What I'm coming through with, I'm coming to bring them pieces, what the game been missing. Shit, like Jordan in the fourth quarter, I'm coming to save the game. I'm coming in."
Follow Bruno Mali Kidd on Twitter and SoundCloud.
"Monkey Suit" Featuring Rick Ross
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