I want to be accurate but I’m afraid of reinforcing gender roles by telling you that when I phone Mala Reignz, she’s cooking. However, while melding ingredients for a traditional Puerto Rican meal, she also mixed in a ton of profanity, during our chat so perhaps that balances things out? Okay, forget that; let’s say you are out, enjoying a testosterone-fueled night on the town and you see an attractive girl and you attempt to win her affections with a remarkably rancid cat-call. She, being an attractive woman, has probably heard this one a plethora of times, in her lifetime, and maybe even a few times already tonight. She’s cool-headed but decides that she doesn’t want to reject you and then deal with your sorry-ass appeal(“you sure you don’t wanna roll with a champ, mami?”) so she just knuckles you down. However, as you stare up at the oscillating parakeets in the starry Bronx-sky, this pretty 4’11 Puerto Rican girl feels a little bad about the K.O. and helps you up–maybe even fetches some ice for the quickly bloating bruise below your right-eye. You’ll leave on two feet, with one functioning eye but without seven digits.
That quasi-metaphor may just capture the ethos of self-proclaimed fem-cee Mala Reignz’s; Her delivery is fierce, her rhymes intelligent and self-aware but she’s also a sweetheart–there I go with the damn gender-roles again–but she is indeed truly sweet, in a tough way. She’s so sweet in fact that she took the time to talk with Zebra Is Food about bubble baths, Derek Jeter and of course, her beloved Bronx:
ZIF:Lately, the Bronx has been quiet, why do you think this is?
MR:Yeah, on a mainstream level they have been quiet. But on the underground its been here. I really don’t know why, maybe because Fat Joe moved to Florida and Remy got locked up but as for the underground, the Bronx has always been here.
ZIF:You used to be a slam poet, what drew you to rap?
MR:I first started writing poetry when I was a freshmen in college, life was difficult and I was going through some things. Poetry helped get shit off my mind. I would just sit and write poetry and I had no aspirations of doing rap, but I would write while listening to radio. Little did I know I was writing to the beats and essentially writing raps. Now, writing raps has become my love.
ZIF: You rep Bronx pretty hard what’s so great about the Bronx anyhow?
MR:I think NYC is NYC, wherever you’re from here, when you’re gone, you miss it. But the Bronx has a feel to it; you’d know it if you were here. When I’m here, I feel like I’m at home. In other boroughs I feel like an outsider. As far as the boroughs go, the Bronx is one of the grimiest, even Harlem is on the fashion tip now. Bronx keeps it gully.
ZIF:Does that carry over to rappers from the Bronx?
MR: Yeah, we’re grimy! When you hear Pun or Joe or Remy, you know you cant fuck with the Bronx.
ZIF:Why isn’t their beef between boroughs anymore? Don’t you think that’d help boost New York’s status?
MR: We dont need beef to raise status, New York is always gonna be here; our hip-hop is very lyrical, metaphorical, and conceptual. We’ve always held it down so we’ll be cool. We don’t need beef anymore to boost our status.
ZIF: Explain your creative process
MR:It depends; a random thought can pop into my head, other times the beat is hot, I can go from there. Some of the best times for me are while writing on the train. If im having a hard time, I take a bubble bath. Great stuff comes to me when I lock myself in the bathroom, as long as I don’t fall asleep or get my Sidekick wet, I’m cool.
ZIF:What’s the word on the album?
MR: I’m working on an album right now, I have a single but I’m waiting for the end of a bidding war with the labels. As far as producers, big dudes! buts its under wraps but big dudes!
ZIF: What’s the biggest rap purchase you’ve made thus far?
MR: Like a a car or a mansion? nah, I’m playing it safe, I’ll be reinvesting my money back into myself and into the promo of the album!
ZIF: Do female rappers have groupies?
Yeah, they do, even if they don’t want to admit it, it’s the same thing as with the guys. But, they’re a little more careful then the men are.
ZIF: Dream posse cut?
MR: Wow that’s tough! Jay-Z…man, that’s hard… I love T.I. and Jadakiss… man, I feel like I’m being so typical right now! As far a female posse cut…I love Jean Grae, Rah Digga…and of course Lauryn Hill.
ZIF:So what are your thoughts on the Yankees?
MR: I’m a fan, I’ve got no choice.
ZIF: Was it quiet in October without playoffs?
MR: Yeah, It hurt a little bit but we’ll pick ourselves back up, I know we will. You know our rep; we’ll be back.
ZIF: A-Rod or Jeter?
MR: I’ll always have a place in my heart for Jeter, he’s a fly looking dude.
ZIF: What else would Mala Reignz like to tell the world?
MR:Shout to my brothers, Elus, Hecklerhouse, Jberry and Triboro!