Miss Malik found emotional refuge in poetry amongst the turbulence of her parents' divorce and the nomadic lifestyle that followed.
Like many others, her story renders like an anecdote about a period of darkness that opens into a larger flash of light at the end. And in this case, that's been Malik's music career. This year, with a salubrious wink at her heritage, and decorated with some iced-out Cuban chains, Miss Malik's "Cadena Cubana ft. Lil K" stands as the latest clinquant stanchion into her Latino roots, which reign dominion over all departments of sultry, passionate and spicy sonics.
It's a recipe the Chicano chanteuse has nailed down with her authentic and empowered fervency.
Over a Soca-inspired contemporary cadence that fits into its trap-backbone like a bedazzled glove, Miss Malik opens by erupting over her tantalizing top-line with no time to waste.
"Cadenda Cubana Fría, Luminando Melanina - Ice-Cold Cuban Chain, Melanin Shinning," She sings with authentic Mexicana flair and a multi-verse of rich and imitating adlibs that bounce-about the atmospheres of this hot-blooded Latina anthem like a bipartite reverberation. She may be talking about jewelry here, but that's not the point.
When reaching further, Malik's MC-like verses of the past come coruscating through the steady-paced, yet gyrating verses of "Cadena Cubana." Here, she takes pride in Mexican roots and culture and infuses her voice and librettos with a genuinely keen spirit, "Yo Soy Indigena Morena Voluptiousa - I Am A Voluptuous Indigenous Brunette." Then, like a detour into Lil K's stomping grounds, you arrive into the auto-tune festooned riff through the Chicano's smooth crooning Spanish stanza.
With adhesive effortlessness oozing from this Houston-based artist's aesthetic, melody, and the texture she locks down with her Latina flare, Miss Malik performs a deep-audible brush stroke over the Contemporary Music landscape of 2020; soaking her roots over the page, and endowing the colorless canvas with more red, green and white cosmetics.
With "Cadena Cubana ft. Lil K," Miss Malik proclaims that you should be proud of who you are and your heritage, shining as a vivid representation of what that exact sentiment might sound like.
What were some of the emotions you found yourself diving into for the performances you captured on "Cadena Cubana"?
Latin music had a huge influence on my life, growing up. I loved the fearless attitudes I'd see the artists convey in their videos on mun2, a channel that was bought out by NBC. I used to look in the mirror and emulate the fierceness I'd witnessed in the videos. When we filmed the video for Cadena Cubana, I pretended the camera lens was that mirror.
How did you manage to get Lil K on a verse for "Cadena Cubana," and what was it like working with him?
Lil K has a natural ability to freestyle in Spanish and English. When I heard him freestyle for the first time, I suggested we do a song. He was hesitant because he was accustomed to rapping off the dome, not structuring a verse to a beat, in advance. I told him it was very important he partake in the song in order to serve as a representative for all of the Afro-Latin X, and LGBTQ people out there, that don't see themselves in the media very often. Working with Lil K was fun because he has an enthusiastic, heightened energy, and passion for his Colombian/Honduran heritage. Where did the inspiration for "Cadena Cubana" come from, and what were the main resounding messages behind the sonic aesthetic and lyrical narrative you chose to manifest here?
I wanted to do an urban, Latin song. I wanted it to relate to trending fashion, since I'm a freelance fashion model, and have a passion for flashy style. I love how this era has brought back the 90's flare with a modern twist. Cuban Links, having been popular in Hip Hop some years ago, has been revived in various colors, styles, and sizes for both genders. I love the way they can be rocked in such variety, and I wanted to highlight their influence on hip hop culture. The fact that they're trending, and derive from a Latino region, making them a perfect theme for a new song. I wanted to create lyrics that were easy to sing along with, fun, catchy, and relatable.
Bad Bunny and Drake are 2 of the world's leading stars. I wanted to highlight their joint song, Mia, as a tribute to them as influential urban artists, and recognition of the fact that they are leaders in current fashion. Within my verse, I wanted to shine a light on Latin X people that are visibly melanated. This is a very sensitive subject for me. I was always teased by my Mexican family for having a darker shade than them. It was a trait I had to teach myself to love. Colorism is profound in Latin culture, and I wanted my listeners to find pride in their melanin and indigenous roots. I also wanted to highlight the humility and frugality of my life, and reflect my go-getter ways, off of my family members, such as my maternal grandmother and aunt. Can you give listeners a few words that would act as a Prologue for the experience behind "Cadena Cubana," what would you want to say and why?
Cuban Links have been a part of hip hop culture for many years, and are once again trending, with an all-inclusive variety. They are the perfect pieces to recognize in conjunction with Urban Latin Music, seeing that they derive from a Latino Region, and are rocked by both American and Latin X Hip Hop heads. Lil K and I also wanted to put a spotlight on Latin X people that do not fit the stereotype of those you see on Telemundo and Univision. We both have experienced the ostracization of our Latino peers due to our racial identities. Cadena Cubana is about taking pride in our melanated skin, and humble roots. What has been keeping you inspired in 2020?
I've been very inspired to create this year, due to loss. The loss of the lifestyle I knew and was used to, the loss of those around us, and the loss of our human connection (due to social distancing, corona-phobia, and the covering of half our faces). Creation has been my therapy, and my opportunity to send a message to others since I can't interact with others in the way that I was accustomed to.