Mali Music

The 2econd Coming

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Since the name "Mali Music" has turned up frequently in the 2000s, it is worth noting that this album has nothing to do with Damon Albarn's 2002 album called Mali Music or with the rap artist MalĂ­, sometimes referred to as Mali Music, who made the Flow 55 mixtape in 2007. Rather, this Mali Music is the performing name of young gospel artist Kortney Jamaal Pollard of Savannah, Georgia, and is the follow-up to his first album, The Coming. Actually, Pollard might take issue with the description of him as a "gospel artist," since he professes never to listen to gospel music. And his music is not recognizable as part of any traditional or even contemporary gospel style. What he does listen to, obviously, is hip-hop music, along with alternative rock acts like Radiohead and, occasionally, Bob Marley. Pollard is well versed in the elaborate studio effects available to pop and hip-hop acts, and he is ready to use Auto-Tune on his voice, to employ radical edits, and to create novel percussion tracks in the search for a contemporary sound. He is not a rap artist, although he includes rap in his arsenal. All of this is in the service of his religious sentiments, which dominate the lyrics. It is common for Christian artists to ape the sounds of the hit parade, and it might be suggested that Mali Music is simply the inevitable adaptation of current pop trends to religious purposes. But Pollard is sufficiently inventive to belie that judgment. Rather, he comes off as a talented and original synthesist of contemporary styles, a significant artist in his own right, who happens to sing all his songs about God. No wonder he doesn't identify with gospel.

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