12 Songs, 44 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

A fast-rising, spiritually minded vocalist/producer from Savannah, Ga., Mali Music (real name Kortney Jamaal Pollard) got his start playing keyboards in church and began recording in his home studio at age 15. After building a dedicated online following, he released several independent albums (The Coming, 2econd Coming) and was soon performing at big-time events like the BET Awards and the Essence Music Festival. His major-label debut, Mali Is..., showcases his well-balanced artistry: a compelling mix of singing, rapping, relentlessly positive lyricism, and breezy, well-produced beats. Fusing modern hip-hop, R&B, pop, and gospel, he presents listeners with a dozen tracks mostly about life and love, interspersed with messages of faith. As he proclaims over hypnotic synths and horns on "Make It to Heaven": "In the circle so much I'm nauseous/I'm so sick of materialistic nonsense/So I made a whole disc of hits/Mali is/Making the dead rise/Live/Consciousness." It's an impressive effort. Don't miss "Heavy Love," "Royalty," and the Bob Marley–esque "One."

EDITORS’ NOTES

A fast-rising, spiritually minded vocalist/producer from Savannah, Ga., Mali Music (real name Kortney Jamaal Pollard) got his start playing keyboards in church and began recording in his home studio at age 15. After building a dedicated online following, he released several independent albums (The Coming, 2econd Coming) and was soon performing at big-time events like the BET Awards and the Essence Music Festival. His major-label debut, Mali Is..., showcases his well-balanced artistry: a compelling mix of singing, rapping, relentlessly positive lyricism, and breezy, well-produced beats. Fusing modern hip-hop, R&B, pop, and gospel, he presents listeners with a dozen tracks mostly about life and love, interspersed with messages of faith. As he proclaims over hypnotic synths and horns on "Make It to Heaven": "In the circle so much I'm nauseous/I'm so sick of materialistic nonsense/So I made a whole disc of hits/Mali is/Making the dead rise/Live/Consciousness." It's an impressive effort. Don't miss "Heavy Love," "Royalty," and the Bob Marley–esque "One."

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