For Penn State student and burgeoning hip-hop artist Malik LRB, it’s all about climbing that ladder to the stars. He’s been hard at work these past few months, traveling all across the country to meet and record with the hottest new producers and artists, film music videos for his much-anticipated releases, and spread his name across the United States. He certainly accelerated his career with his previous release: the somber and hard-hitting record “I Never Made It,” which gathered an impressive buzz across the Internet. And now he’s back with another jaw-dropper: the compact, pop-brushed, vibrant track “We Are Young,” featuring fellow up-and-comer The President. If you thought “I Never Made It” was impressive, then press play, turn up those speakers, and get familiar with LRB’s newest smash.
Produced by the talented Fresco Bangaz, “We Are Young” utilizes the hook from fun.’s planetary breakout smash of the same name, warped through an altered pitch and rich synthesizers. The song has a definite bounce to it, as the clinking piano keys and stuttering hip-hop beat add some buoyancy to The President’s and LRB’s verses. The President kicks off “We Are Young,” diving headfirst into the track with no hesitation and a lot of brawn, his deft flow adding a pretty hefty kick to the lighthearted production. LRB’s bars in the second verse are just as solid, showcasing his impressive speed and golden one-liners (check the Hunger Games reference and cereal line). Once again, LRB dominates the beat and proves his musical versatility. We had the opportunity to interview LRB about the track, and you can check it out below!
So before we delve into your new track, what’s it been like since “I Never Made It” dropped?
Dude it’s been wicked. I’ve only been at Penn State one out of the last 10 weekends. I’ve been at Philly, Boston, Chicago, just got back from Houston. It’s all starting to add up and stack up. And we did get a lot of love on “I Never Made It,” which is awesome. It was a different concept and we ran with it. A lot of people really liked it, both the video and the song.
What made you decide to follow up “I Never Made It” with “We Are Young,” especially since they’re both such different tracks?
How it worked out actually, I was in Chicago. We filmed four videos there, but three out of the four were more serious and down to earth. It wasn’t just punchlines and having a good time, it was the opposite. So we decided we wanted to go one serious vid one week, and the next week fun, and back and forth, back and forth. So that was planned that way intentionally, just to show that idea of not limiting yourself with your audience so that a lot of people can appeal to it. You might be having a rough day so “I Never Made It” might be the perfect song to throw on your iPod. And maybe you’re going out to a party, and “We Are Young” is gonna be the song to bump on.
So what’s the story behind the song?
What me and Nick (The President) were looking to do was a fun upbeat track. The concept for it was all about adolescence and growing up. Our bars are two different sets, and it shows our two different personalities, lifestyles, and ways we grew up. But we used the same line: “we were young man, and we had fun man. But now it’s business, I need to be number 1 man.” We’re saying we’ve had our fun, growing up was sick, but now at this point we have to step it up. Nick’s bars I love personally, he just goes so hard and it’s so good. When he first sent me his recording, I listened to it 30 times on repeat because I loved it. Mine are the idea of that come-up, and how its transformed, and how its happened in such a short amount of time. “We Are Young” was based on adolescence, but also that we are trying to grow up at the same time and move on from there.
Tell me about The President. Who is he and how do you know him?
Nick’s the man dude. First of all, what I’ll say about Nick is I did not expect Nick’s look to match his voice. When I heard it I thought it was a completely different person. We met a while back, but we never actually met in person until this song. We’d been talking for a while about a collab, and never really went through it. I liked his music; he liked mine, and I figured it was a matter of time before we came together. I liked that fun. beat, and then reached out to him. That whole homie-compaionship never really developed until we started this project. We were originally just two artists who knew about each other, but hanging with him in Boston was awesome. He took me around and showed me the town. It was a great weekend. And there was no acting in the video, that was just us hanging. That’s when you really know you love what you do, when you can just bond and love your job. It was sick, everything was fun, it never felt like we were doing business. He did all the mixing and mastering for three of my songs while we were there. I actually did a second song with Nick that hasn’t been announced yet. It’s called “Let’s Go,” and it’ll be released soon. Definitely look out for new music between the two of us, collabs and etc.
What’s the message behind the music video?
I get that question a lot, a lot of my videos usually have a story line, but this one we didn’t. This was originally supposed to be a studio vid, but then we wanted to have a professional visual. So we decided to go to Nick’s turf. The storyline we were planning was based around the video for “Dear Professor” by The Dean’s List, and that whole video is like these 3 kids who are rapping, and you look back and see them as three little kids in the video. We were gonna do that, but then we were like “hey man let’s just go to Boston and have a good time.” And you see it. I’m jumping on his back in public, we’re hanging with a homeless guy, we were in a comic book shop. It was fun. We were just walking round, and the vid producer Miles kept the camera out while we were walking, we didn’t even know it was going. We didn’t want to over-complicate things, we just wanted a cool video for the track. Don’t assume that the next few videos in the future won’t have story lines though, they definitely will.
If you could sum up “We Are Young” in one word, what would that word be and why?
Let’s go with energetic, I would definitely use the word energetic. There was a lot of energy, very upbeat, and a lot of fun.