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MALIK RUFF

by Quadry

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about

Malik Ruff is Quadry’s biggest statement and his most intimate work. It’s an experimental Southern rap album that’s also a contemplative dance record. It’s a portrait of young black life in Baton Rouge, but anyone should be able to relate. It’s the hip-hop LP snuck into a neo-soul night. It’s the indie-rock record in Prince’s collection. Who is Malik Ruff? He’s Quadry, but a metaphor, a character. Who’s Quadry?

Quadry Winters, 23, started rapping before his years hit double digits. It might have been dreams of jewelry and attention, rapt audiences and sleek suits—and it was. Watching the BET Awards, a young Quadry noticed the respect given to artists onstage and on the red carpet. It looked pretty good. And growing up in Baton Rouge, La., he had local hip-hop role models on the national stage: hometown icon Boosie Badazz and New Orleans neighbor Lil Wayne. As a teenager, Quadry released a series of now-hard-to-find mixtapes, even producing his own beats for a spell. All that led to Dopè, which brought him attention outside of Louisiana in 2014. Then he met Tev’n.

Quadry first heard London producer Tev’n’s music with soul singer-songwriter Celeste. Looking to add more R&B influence to his own work, Quadry and Tev’n wrote the America, Me album together, which was released in 2016. By the age of 21, Quadry had started working with TDE management and, in Tev’n, found the 40 to his Drake.

Malik Ruff was made in Los Angeles, across the street from where Kanye West and Frank Ocean have recorded their own classics (The College Dropout and Channel Orange, respectively). In LA, new collaborators dropped by the studio, adding to Quadry’s unique vision for the record. Inspired by the far-out sounds of To Pimp A Butterfly and the genre-defying tastes of Atlanta’s the Dungeon Family, Quadry designed the music using an unlikely palette. The music stays true to his Southern roots with blues, folk, and funk influences, while pushing hip-hop boundaries.

Some of those new collaborators included Steve Lacy of The Internet, who produced the mesmerizing “1:04 PM.” Over a guitar riff that could have been a 90s alt-rock hit or an obscure Bandcamp find, Quadry raps about complex demands and sings about simple pleasures: "But we ride Benz though, got white friends though/ Got a little change in the bank, donate couple birds from the place/ that we came on holidays, oh yeah/ But is this shit enough? From the looks it don’t seem so."

Multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Teo Halm is another contributor, adding a sweet, wobbly hook to “Momma,” which is about the person who gave Quadry a love for music. “Cross (New Shoes),” an anthem for sneakerheads, features the Black Party, a soul singer cut from the same blues cloth as B.B. King. All these different voices (Ida'ye, BoyBoy, DJ Dahi, Skhye Hutch, and Dylan Brady to name just a few more) add a melodic sensibility to Quadry’s artistry.

Malik Ruff is soaked in Baton Rouge humidity. Its tracks are interspersed with ambient recordings of restless water and Quadry talking with his friends at home. The songs tackle everyday issues for the artist and his circle. The Tev’n-produced “Louis” is about the degradation of innocence and breaks down the relationship between violence and power: “That’s why I keep two on me now/ Hot rod, I need two to hold me down/ I might catch a case and go to trial.” It’s a day-in-the-life period piece about young adults playing football and talking about their dreams, all while having a semi-automatic weapon in the trunk. “Back home, it’s just the cost of doing life,” Quadry says. “When I come to LA, I see that it’s not normal. It’s not normal for your friends to die—tomorrow.”

More than anything, the album is a snapshot of black life in America, and an artifact of Baton Rouge living in this decade. “I wanted to leave a time capsule,” Quadry says. “Twenty years from now, my friends’ kids hearing this album might stumble upon it and be like, ‘Hey! That’s my dad!’ It’s an honest record that they can listen and relate to 20, 40 years in the future. If I never make another album, you can listen to Malik Ruff and get a good sense of where Quadry is from, what he’s doing, and what he wants to do.”

credits

released November 2, 2018

All Songs Written and Performed by Quadry
Executive Producers: Brock Korsan ⁃ Tev’n ⁃ Quadry
Mastered By: Tyler Page
Mix Engineer: Tyler Page
Mix Assistant: Brazzen
Mixed At: Studio City Sound ⁃ Beach House Studios ⁃ Grace’s Room
Recording Engineers: Tyler Page ⁃ Howell Arnold III ⁃ Najaya Ruffin ⁃ Nick Stanioski ⁃ Andres Aguirre
Recorded at: Beach House Studios
Album Visuals: Edny Jean Joseph

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about

Quadry Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Quadry Winters, 23, started rapping before his years hit double digits. It might have been dreams of jewelry and attention, rapt audiences and sleek suits—and it was. Watching the BET Awards, a young Quadry noticed the respect given to artists onstage and on the red carpet. It looked pretty good. And growing up in Baton Rouge, La., he had local hip-hop role models on the national stage. ... more

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Track Name: Motion/Settle (feat. BoyBoy, Tev'n & Anjelihs)
I’ve been driving on this road- I saw three seasons here
I feel like I’m gonna fail, but I wonder if you’d still be here
Loyalty is in our skin
Do you question that at all?
My life is almost like a
Girl I just wanna love you
I just really wanna live my life…


Pink sands and horizons
My future bright islands
Tight getting out my head
Time feeling right
Night feeling quite young
I’m feeling quite done
It’s just me and my niggas talkin’ to ya ma
So are you a thought you should know
Got out and spoke, taught ‘em how to row
It was beautiful
enemy of my friend
In the field over here shawty, enemy on my end
Last night, mad real
Hennessey, crushed advil
Hit the gas with the right one, zig-zag on my right lung
Airbag, still speedin’
Got a pass, don’t need it
Hollaback, don’t leave me
Four, five, nothin’ like interstate 10 I’m in
Left and right back
Right back, left again
Had to pack my shit up
Long nights never end
On the ground, won’t give up
So afraid, I won’t live up to who I really am-
Or be gone before I can

I don’t wana wait here forever
When’s it gonna start getting better?
I’m feining for a change, never settle
On to the next, it’s whatever

Drawing circles in the sun
Pardon, on the run
Hard to be problem-free
Constantly arguing over cron
Getting colder while I stay
Tryna be out the way
We just wana feel safe so you know we got
Everybody thinks the same thing
Everybody thinks the same thing
Can’t tell if they’re sheep or crabs
Everybody thinks the same thing

I don’t wana wait here forever
When’s it gonna start getting better?
I’m feining for a change, never settle
On to the next, it’s whatever
Track Name: Bluegrass
BBQ, blue stone
Cornbread, collard greens
Bad bitches, red bones
All these other things
Mississippi River Banks
In the bricks after band practice
Hot, humid, Summer day
Black girls in their sundresses
Oh no, no, no, nooooo

Hell nah it’s not sweet
Couple blocks down the street, end up on 73
Somebody got killed last week
Seem like every other day
When night falls it feels safe
We smoking in the palisades

Some strains OG
Young with old stress
Friends dead before 23
Day 1’s get the short ends
Dead man walkin, use the two step
Show me the chart, so who’s next?

Rollin’ then I, then I... 1, 2
Solo then I want you, want you
Ain’t no clouds in the sky
Rollin up
Getting high

I’m from where the air gets still
Just pick a weekday
Gunpowder, power that kills
Go off the deep end
Opportunity knocking this year, I couldn’t sleep well

Really, I don’t care what you think
That don’t mean I can’t feel
You ain’t been through the wild, that don’t mean it ain’t real
It’s a war outside, outside men killed
Take a dive, steal the vibe, guess the fall is a thrill
I’m in awe, in the mirror at myself, I can feel
Lay back, stack 20 layers, wrap that back louis ears

I shift back with the pen, before I’m real with myself

Rollin’ then I, then I... 1, 2
Solo then I want you, want you
Ain’t no clouds in the sky
Rollin up
Getting high
X2

Talkin on my line
Sittin’ Indian style
Running from the Don, those were simpler times
I fantasized about being on, being content with your life
We supposed to grow apart but I’ll stick by your side
Things are common, get demolished when I leave and come back
You a whole other person, I evolved into that
Wings flap, rose to the public
I put my coat in the back
So sorry for the startle, I can’t hide who I am
Where we park? Harass the valet
Snatch the keys, the walkie-talkie, we argued after
I just need some space, your timing been off
I feel the warm embrace because on the real, it’s really changed
I’m scared you’ll run away
I feel fake, my life plastic
Fuck it
I done had it
I tried to pump the brakes
Slidin’ in the rain
It’s burnin’ my skin like acid, it ain’t the same
Track Name: Louis
I need two, watchu know?
I need two, how that go?
x4

I need two on me, I need you on me
I got two rollin’, we got two smokin’
Pull up, crawl out, waddup
I’m with two homies
They got two, paper view showin’
I’m in new clothin’, yeah I’m too focused
Bobby Booshay, got the juice on me
Mikey love ballin’, stacked a cup and swished it
Jay he cracked a sticky, jolly ranchers at the bottom
Innerstate, through the trees, can’t even see straight
Dilate, back it up, shake it up, vibrate
Annihilate, I can’t wait I’m on my time
Occupying my line, compelling me to decline

I need two, watchu know?
I need two, how that go?
x8

Caesars Palace with the moon ceiling
Out the window, it’s a new feeling
Levitating on that Holy Water with the green in it, like I’m really Venus
Steady schemin’ on the low though
Me slippin’ is a no go
Runnin’ with horses and duckin’ with forces, watch out for the beast on the logo

That’s why I keep two on me now
Hot rod, I need two to hold me down
I might catch a case and go to trial
Outside, shimmy outside

I need two, watchu know?
I need two, how that go?
x8
Track Name: 1:04 PM
Tell me what’s the difference between a nigga and a man? I’ll wait
Maybe one has the chance to make a change if he can, touche
But we ride Benz though, got white friends though
Got a little change in the bank, donate couple birds from the place that we came on holidays, oh yeah
But is this shit enough? From the looks it don’t seem so
We done had Martin, had Malcolm, had Michael, had Jay, in the hood- still dreamin’
Wana be a baller, and a one shot caller
But really can you blame him? Niggas came from the bottom
I’ve been thinkin’
All that thinkin’, got me smokin’, drinkin’
I’ve been singin’, get fresh
Step out with my people, oh yeah
Then we ride out
Baby hide out with us
Then we vibe out
Baby hop out with us

On my couch, at my house
Talkin’ bout diamond rings
Summer night, parents out
Air it out, something’s changed
Yeah I can feel it from a distance
But I can’t hear it in your eyes
I knew you just came through to kick it
It was something different when you arrived

Tell me what’s the difference between a dream and a plan?
It’s 5am with a blunt rolled
Just wrote one song
Don’t like it, do it again

Packed clothes, back door
Left note, I’m gone
I board, middle row
Lift off, back home

Got me thinkin’
All that thinkin’, got me smokin’, drinkin’
I’ve been singin’, get fresh
Step out with my people, oh yeah
Then we ride out
Baby hide out with us
Then we vibe out
Baby hop out with us
Track Name: Nowhere To Be Found (feat. Ida'ye)
We be swappin’ our energy, we tapped danced and got up
Slept with the enemy, we not givin’ a fuck
I mean silly me, Hennessy got me runnin’ ‘em up
You see it really be anything brown that be chargin’ me up

The piece, the part that I love
I keep talkin’ you up
But we startin’ to chill, the weed sparkin’, I’m feelin’ a deep torment
We move at the speed like
You part of me, think about you when I’m way cross the country
Ain’t hard on me
I’m ‘round Booku weed and bitches
It’s something, you got over it
Called a quits before it turned into somethin’

Was through a text, was off the drip
Was thinkin’ “That’s how you feel?”
Until your basement steamin’, like a water heater, It’s me
Sweet cause you followed your heart
Bitter it wasn’t me
Ain’t wrong for the player you choose
Learned that from Pimp C

Things change
Tryna be grown
Forgot the rules, don’t be a lame
You know the game and how it goes

Sittin’ at the top of the mountain spinnin’’ and thinkin’
Thinkin’ ‘bout this particular girl hard like cement
I’ve been on a ride, switchin’ lanes on ya

Sittin’ at the top of the mountain spinnin’’ and thinkin’
Thinkin’ ‘bout this particular girl hard like cement
Swing on her, swing right by
Yeah baby you can fly right by

If you see me with a smile, come with me- you know I’m stressed
Lies of well being,
Even a mess, my time precious in fact
My pockets be fat, that’s called per diem
taught me that
Also the kind that break past
They go on the 96 jack, trick question- they ain’t gone none
Talkin’ bout a lump sum
Ridin’ bump to bumper with my commas down
You know we whippin’ foreigns
You know the women local
Big booty, tongue long
We laughin’ and we smokin’, ride off in the sunset
Bumpin’ Boosie old shit
Switch it up to Pink Floyd
Now we really floatin’

Sittin’ at the top of the mountain spinnin’’ and thinkin’
Thinkin’ ‘bout this particular girl hard like cement
Swing on her, swing right by
x2
Track Name: Cross (New Shoes) [feat. Black Party]
Money on my mind
Green in my eyes
Stop ‘em like where you get them bitches from?
Cop ‘em in the mall, ain’t gone tell you which mall

Bro you a hoe, yeah I know
Fuck it Christmas coming, and my bday- we out
Got a couple hunnid if I need a way out
But ima blow it on some cheeks
Blow them niggas out the streets
Sneak a war like battleships
12 get behind me
Wonder if I’m gone live, woah

The Summer’s comin in
I feel the breeze on my skin
As memories turn to an end
We get high, then we do it again
Then we do it again

Red with the white stripes, I think I’m tefflon
Shell toe, GPS- I need a redbone
My life, raw, uncut- no need for step on
Stepped on,
Bets off, levitating all up in the hallway
Shawty dead wrong, asked me about them bitches on Friday & Monday
He was gone, ran to the beasts on the highway
Pickin’ up the pieces, tears slappin’ on the cement
Least she get a decent settlement, her son breathing sediment
He was loaned cash and seen his way out
Headed to the mall, that’s a way to go out

The Summer’s comin in
I feel the breeze on my skin
As memories turn to an end
We get high, then we do it again
Then we do it again
X2

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