Malkovich was conceived on the Pacific island of New Caledonia by his father and mother, then a bartender at a pub popular with escaped Nazis. She was in labor when Ayatollah Khomeini chased them from Iran during the Islamic Revolution. Malkovich was born extremely shortly thereafter in Christopher Columbus' hometown of Genoa, Italy, where he had his diapers changed regularly by Miss Italy 1978. Ronald Reagan almost bombed his elementary school in Libya, killing Colonel Qaddafi’s “daughter” instead. He moved to Los Angeles during the 1992 riots, where he heard Ice Cube's Death Certificate, rode the Northridge Earthquake, and formed BLX, a kind of pre-internet Odd Future with more grand larceny. He left NYC a week before the Twin Towers came down, London a week before the Tube bombings, and Istanbul a week before Kurds blew up the city square. He left Jamaica two days before Hurricane Gustav, and slept on a church floor in Louisiana and ate Red Cross gumbo for three days with 300 people after losing an important backpack in Hurricane Katrina. His father's a gem hunter who hates islands. He once fell asleep on a train and woke up in Spain. His best friend is a dirty cop in Belize City whose name comes up on a Google search on Amnesty International's most wanted list. URB gave his first album Skeletons one and a half stars out of five. A kid from North Hollywood has lyrics from that album tattooed on his chest. He lost his favorite hat in Hat Gai, Thailand, dodging rebels who blew up a local McDonalds. On January 1, 2012 he gave up his home and possessions to travel indefinitely until “something enormous happens”. He relocated to Namibia to record an album with Becoming Phill, a producer he met on Twitter, and subsequently did the same with Esa FunkPrez in Italy and Mute Speaker in the UK. He has worked with House Shoes, Dibia$e, Computer Jay, P.U.D.G.E. and Prince Po of Organized Konfusion. Gilles Peterson kicked off his BBC Best of Hip-Hop 2009 mix with a Malkovich verse. DJ Premier, The Wake Up Show and The Source support his album Great Expectations, which Hit The Floor Magazine called "genre-resuscitating". He's working on a book based on Before The Chador, a collection of photos of his family in 1970s pre-revolution Iran which was featured on BBC, PBS, The Atlantic and Vice. He's creator of Heverly Bills T-shirts, "for when your bills are beyond heavy". He's currently living somewhere between Southern Africa and the South China Sea. Click here to hear this bio in song form.
"I was a fan of Malkovich the first time I heard him. Yall know I do NOT F**K AROUND with my cosigns.” -DJ HOUSE SHOES "the new face of underground grime... this guy is owning everyone in the current scene, and you better believe it" -HITTHEFLOOR
"Malkovich fits into a niche being carved out by a new breed of rappers." -EARBITS.COM "Malkovich is a super duper greasy middle easty emcee" -KING TECH, WAKE UP SHOW "Mad Max, Ray Liotta and Banksy mixed together" @BeastySteeeve "P-P-P-Premier" -DJ PREMIER, while spinning "Bedbugs"
"Genre-resuscitating…" -HitTheFloor.co.uk "feels like you’re being confronted with power…" -ThisIsJohnBook "Malkovich seems to impress me with every project he puts out…" -Okayplayer.com "LA is a city of shiftless nomads. Malkovich might take the crown. Great Expectations could be his coronation" -syffal.com ”In the hands of a less talented MC, this type of thematic diversity might crumble chaotically”-Earbits.com "Showing a rare maturation most emcees never attain" -Audiocred.com "a fierce brand of no-nonsense lyricism that walks a tight rope between stark realism, fantasy, loyalty and alienation… beats that move back and forth effortlessly from Arabic rhythms, to acid jazz to 70′s soul to 90′s old school." -ViragoMag ”Great Expectations is the culmination of a lot of hard work and the realization of his abilities as an emcee. He’s got a unique perspective, and he’s found a great balance between smart, big picture analysis and honest and emotional introspection. There have been roughly a million hip hop albums to come out of L.A.. It’s not easy to release an album in this day and age that both pays homage to that past and still sounds fresh, but Malkovich has done that here” -ScratchedVinyl
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Those were The Hot Days. August and September with Pudge at my Palms apartment/sauna - hardwood floors, wooden roof. I threw away a lot of white tees with industrial yellow armpit stains. But we stayed recording. A homey or three would casually swim through to drop verse before running down the stairs sweating and screaming, shirts in hand. But mostly it was just us working on tracks, or the eternal business of staying afloat in L.A.. What day does the landlord really cash the rent check (the 10th)? What are the chances of the couch having magically sprouted some more change between the cushions in the last two days? Are those dudes outside with the bad tattoos still sitting on my car? A couple times a day we’d hop off the merry-go-round for pasta, blunts and TV. Lethal Weapon ended up in the DVD player for almost a month, and we started noticing similarities between Mel and Danny’s characters and us. He’s the black guy, I’m the white guy. He’s more laid-back, I’m more aggro. And Pudge and I had inadvertently become partners in the task of getting by in Los Ankkhheles. So we ran with it. We don’t give a shit about cops (although I don’t mind em at times). But the metaphor works. Every now and then we gotta swing through and lay the law down.
The approaches we took to this song and video were clearly very simple. There’s no complex storyline or contact lenses to make us look like supernatural blowfishes. There’s no elaborate costumes, curvaceous women or flocks of nameless dudes standing around and sitting on cars. The song structure is far from revolutionary, and the verses are as straightforward as it gets. There aren’t any swimming pools, umbrellas, blunts or barbeque pits. Matter of fact…there’s not really anything besides two dudes rapping in the fucking desert. Two dudes who are extremely good at what they do, rapping over a beat done by a producer who’s very good at what he does (BecomingPhill). It’s a simple video shot by a rapper who’s fast becoming a rising star director (Ivan Ives). There’s not much to it besides the bare bones of the craft and a message delivered with all the peaceful desperation of samurais doing what they does best; going for what they know as if they’re about to die and nothing else mattered. As simple as this song and video are, I think it’s a major statement and a foreshadow of what you’re about to see from our camp over the next couple of years. Those of us who’ve been patiently waiting in the wings perfecting our techniques, getting more deadly with each passing year are finally ready to arrive. There won’t be any question about our music savvy, our access to resources, our global brotherhood or where we stand in relation to everyone else. We’re in our own lane, and although it took us a while to pave it, we’re rolling thunder down the highway. Going for what we know is the mantra. When Ivan hit us up on a Monday and told us the only chance we had to shoot a video for this song was on that Saturday morning in Vegas, it was clear what we had to do. Plus, I’d never been to Vegas….so what better way to make my debut than on some rap shit? Malkovich wouldn’t take my “maybe, but I’ll be tired as hell” for an answer, and off we went on one of my favorite musical excursions to date; shooting a video in what was clearly a former bomb-testing site while our camera crew caught heat strokes and tried to hydrate themselves with poached eggs. And here we have it, a video embodying an unofficial mission statement for 2012 and beyond. -Sum
"PALMS" directed, shot and edited by me | from GREAT EXPECTATIONS (download) | song produced by X-Man featuring the late great Jesse The Parking Lot King (read)
read my long-running blog The Palms Weekend, all about the L.A. neighborhood of Palms
Jesse almost died during the making of this video. I’ve seen him almost die three times, and only once I wasn’t sure he would die cool. The first two strokes he rode out in the driver’s seat of that truck like fevers, nodding at me as I walked up and squeezing out choice words through wet lips. The last time he couldn’t walk, all he could do is stand in the middle of the lot and cry in his friend’s arms while people drove around them trying not to cry too. He told me he wouldn’t survive surgery, he was tired of the hospital, he wanted his mother to fly him home. On the way to his cousin’s house he forgot both our names and where we were going. But he made sure I stopped by T&D’s on Slauson and Keniston to cop his last cigarette. By his fifth cellphone call to St. Louis from his cousin’s lawn he was barely breathing. By the time the third fire truck showed up he had to be talked out of walking off down the street. Pride kills him and revives him, every day. He was mad at me for a while for making that call. And I was mad at him for forcing me to make it. When you’re really hurting, you handle that alone. You spare your people your burden. His mother sent me a thank you card. Mrs Brown downstairs passed away a couple of weeks ago. The funeral announcement had the first young photos of her I had ever seen; made me wish I had known her then. Don’t get buried at Inglewood Cemetary if you have soft-speaking relatives. The planes overhead will drown out every other heartfelt word of their speeches. Lucile was 80; she had a good run. And even when she had fallen out of her walker, she would wait thirty minutes before shouting my name, and she would apologize until I was gone, happy to help, sad that I couldn’t. She knew the rules, too well. Nights I lay sweating atop hardwood and bedbug stains, hours after trying to sleep way too early, 15 feet in either direction from two people dying slow. I wish I had been there more for the people around me. But I always was. Just behind a wall. I hope they could feel me. I definitely felt them. Larry & Angel sent me a thank you card. Lot of thank you cards this summer.
Jesse Servey died on October 31, 2011 peacefully at his sister’s home in St. Louis.