The manifestation of MuQaBaLa is quoted as being ascertained subsequent to the birth of the Houston-based artist's firstborn son, which was cited as "the inspiration to go all-in to music," the avenue for which the anti-conformist nature of his music manifests itself.
With his debut reaching us from the Darian Hatcher's production lair in Austin, Texas, MuQaBaLa draws inspiration from the sentiments he holds for college students everywhere grappling with post-COVID-19 schooling practices. Now more then ever, he reminisces over the college days in his debut cut "Back Ta College," embracing the nostalgia amidst the absence of normality we're feeling in these uncertain months.
As the track opens, a playful tone evaporates from the steamy edges of a tropical calling sample amongst the saturated tubes of a tasty sub-synth. It's immediately established that this song was designed to evoke nostalgic and wholesome vibes through the picturesque scenery of hot-boxing bathroom dorms, buying 'swishas' at the local corner shop, and saving up to get loose on Grey Goose for the weekends. As his straightforward lyrics playfully land over the pumping trap-reminiscent creation. We can't help but chanting along to the addictive topline in the chorus, "take me back, take me back, back to a college, back to college, when all we needed, when all we needed, was some knowledge."
MuQaBaLa sings with a swagger in his flow, like the college veteran he proclaims to be amid the scintillating trickle of the hi-hats and the filtered swells throughout the transitions. It's not a profound song in its message by any sense. Still, it excels at producing an easygoing listening experience while cleverly denoting his escapades over the not-so-taboo post-secondary academy topics in a straightforward and engaging way.
How did you feel going into this nostalgic mindset amid the cause we've experienced until now this year?
Grateful for my own college experience, a lot of the learning for me happened outside the classroom walls. For example in the vibe of a campus, the energy, the mini-city feeling even in a smaller community, and that feeling of always growing: growing your mind, growing your soul, growing your plants, whatever it is, you always growing. Not to mention the feeling of expense: YOU SPEND a whole lot, and will maybe be in debt for a long ass time, but you get a lot out of the experience of college, not in the classroom though—maybe not a job in the field you hoped for, but you got a network, and you gotta put that NET to WORK.
I feel so much gratitude for my school experience, but right now I'm feeling bad for all the students missing out on that due to COVID19. That’s what inspired me to make this song. My cousin learns in the classroom the best, but with him sitting in front of a screen at home all day, it's so easy for him to get distracted, and that makes it even harder to focus.
With all the eye candyon the college campus, it's easier to stay focused, you know if you tryna impress them, with your mind.
What has been fueling your creative energy while being locked inside because of quarantine?
1. Music is my best friend, music has given me so much. It has fueled me through some dire situations, helped me look for the silver lining, and gave me hope in times when I couldn't find any or confide in anyone. So I felt it was time for myself to give back to the game.
2. Chaos. Life is harder than ever now, you either adapt or die. With all that stress that builds up within us, if we dont channel it right we are doomed. Think how hard it must be quarantined with someone you've already spent a good piece of your life with & feeling like you probably need some space. I'm a father to an infant son, who's spent most of his life in quarantine. My wife and I are both working full-time, raising our son, keeping our marriage healthy, and trying to buy a home—I’ve been able to channel the challenges of my home life into this. Embrace the chaos.
3. Routine/Sacred Space. For me, to keep my music so brand new, it’s important for me to be able to rediscover myself and also disconnect. I try to sweat in the morning somehow, either run or do some yoga, then meditate and after that I'll make coffee, spark up and just start writing, unwinding my mind and get everything out of my head: my feels, my energy, affirmations and sometimes songs too.
If you could pick a perfect scenario or scenery for "Back Ta College" to be indulged in, what would you describe and why?
Oh man, that's easy: when it's a Ring Day, so whole lotta ring dunks, when it's big ass football conference gameday, and we win! This way you can be out all night celebrating the win and partying, and ring dunks mean free party favors.
What can we expect from your next up and coming releases as the beginnings of your musical career start to unravel and develop?
I'm just getting started on this journey, like teenagers getting carded. So I'm just trying to bring awareness to the game, let ‘em know I'm coming. After that, I'm going to build a fanbase here, but before I do, I need to see what sticks so you'll see a lot of range. At the end of the day I'm being true to who I am, and storytelling about my life.
My next release, Aztecos Pachecos, is inspired by Dia de los Muertos - an Aztec tradition. The release is Spanish and English since I'm from Texas and you gotta know both if you wanna flourish out here, mayne! Plus my wife is also Mexican and my mother-in-law is at home helping us with the baby and she only knows Spanish, so as soon as I picked up the Spanish, I put that to work!
Also, if you follow my playlist on SoundCloud, I'm putting out a surprise new song, 30 now, on that playlist in association with the Back Ta College Release.
What has been keeping you inspired throughout 2020?
Maintaining inspiration is hard, no joke. Like I have no idea what's going to happen, especially in Texas. But you gotta accept the situation with open arms and open eyes and make the most of it. I hope for the best, but I prepare for the worst. I wouldn't have jumped into this if I wasn't sure I could do it. I know it's going to be a rough path ahead, but I’m all about the process and the journey, baby! That’s how you grow. Plus, I gotta infant son, 8 months old, and I don't want him to grow up listening to shitty music. I also gotta prove to him how important it is to have dreams and to work hard to make them happen despite the odds.