Interview by Louie Lopez (@ThatzCrack)
Photo by Jennifer Hueston
Haleek Maul is a 15 year old kid from Brooklyn New York, making a serious buzz all the way from another country. Though he was born in Brooklyn, Haleek was raised and still lives in Barbados. I got the chance to chop it up with Haleek about his up brining in music, daily routine, and how he balances school/ and music.
Where are you originally from?
We’ll I’m originally from Brooklyn New York. I grew up in Canarsie but when my parents got divorced I ended up getting sent to live in Barbados when I was pretty young.
Do you currently attend school in Barbados?
Yeah I’ve been going to school in Barbados for awhile, I’m in college now. The scene over there is just way different you know? I feel more Barbadian than a New Yorker, It’s like both influences intersect and it makes me what I am.
Would you say you’re more in tune with your Caribbean culture?
Oh yeah I love the Caribbean culture and the whole west Indian way of living. The upbringing is very old fashioned. It’s just a different way of living.
What are you studying in college?
Well right now I’m doing accounting, business management, Spanish, and communication studies.
That’s dope. It must be a lot of work combining school with music and your daily errands?
Well yeah during the week it gets hectic for me. I wake up at 5:30 am everyday for school , When I’m done with that if I don’t have anything to do after school I’ll just go home take a nap and when I wake up I just start working on my music. That’s pretty much my life man.
So with school and all other things in Barbados, how often are you in New York?
It use to be every summer but now with shows and interviews and all that stuff I come back and forth more often now.
How’s the transition been from a regular kid in Barbados to a rising artist in the U.S?
It’s crazy because back home people know I rap and whatever but it’s not a big deal to anybody over there, they don’t really care about much. It’s hard trying to explain what I do in a couple minutes to them. When I’m in New York people literally walk up to me with open arms asking for autographs happy as fuck and at shows people go wild just to see me perform. It’s crazy.
What’s a regular day in the studio for you?
Well when I’m in the studio I will already have a bunch of verses together and ready to lay down. My engineer Strat Carter and I just sit and talk a lot of shit; we’ll always throw crazy questions at each other we have that type of relationship. It feels really good to get the work done and to get it all together.
(Haleek changes it up and asks me a question)
So have you listened to any of my music?
Yeah, I have actually. I’ve bumped “88”, “Teufel”, “Inebriated” and some of your collabs with Supreme Cuts. I’ve gotten in tune with your music recently and I have to say I’m really feeling it.
Oh alright that’s cool, thank you so much! I’m glad that you’re into it and people are feeling it. It’s been crazy trying to get people to understand where I’m coming from.
Your more on your deep rap, the type where you might have to play it back two or three times just to really understand everything you’re talking about.
It’s essential music man, but I make sure I do it for everybody. I make the beats and everything because I want my shit to translate to the life I’m living, even though there’s the deep rap element in my music I still want people to listen and have a good time. It’s just good music with very heavy lyrics you know?
What’s your creative process when you’re making more personal tracks?
We’ll my creative process is not even like “yo I’m about to write the most depressing record ever,” It’s based more on my mood and how I’m feeling that day.
So you’re into producing as well I see.
Yeah I co produced a good 80% of all the tracks I work on. I started making beats when I was around 11 or 12, which is around the same time I started rapping. The whole reason I started producing was because I didn’t want to rap over anybody else’s beats so I just put everything in my hands.
Who are some producers that you’re currently working with?
I just finished a record with Clams Casino, I’m also working with Supreme Cuts obviously and pretty much the people you see me working with already.
Who are some people that have influenced you into making music?
My influences are Andre 3000 for sure, Mr. Cheeks, he was a big influence on me. In a really weird way he inspired a lot of the anger, deep tracks because he’s a pretty angry dude himself.
Aside from music, what are something’s that you’re into?
Um I don’t know. I’m really big into animating and into fashion; Junya Watanabe is my favorite designer. He’s defiantly a genius. I’m just into art in general I have a huge appreciation for it.
What’s the biggest misconception people get about you?
That I’m a huge drug addict. There was a time in my life where I used to indulged in certain things but I’ve calmed down now because music has a bigger presence in my life, also people think am a really angry person which I’m not. I’m just a very contemplated person, I just think about a lot all the time. That’s just something that I want people to know about me.
When can we expect some new projects?
I’m currently working on my new tape called “Prince Midas”, I will make sure to get it to everyone very soon. It’s going to take awhile to get it how I want it but trust me, when it’s done everyone will love it.