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Steven Malcolm: The Next Step in Artistry and Ministry

Malcolm StevenSteven Malcolm sat on the edge of his comfortable chair in a downtown Grand Rapids coffee shop.

"The past few years have brought a massive amount of transformation in my life," said the faith-based, hip-hop/rap artist. "And through it all I've been able to not only hear - but also experience - what God's been telling me.... transformation I've needed to grow as a Christian."

The West Michigan native hit stride with a national platform on the release of his self-titled debut album two years ago. The crescendo led to a slot on the huge Winter Jam tour that year, various media profiles and three Dove Award nominations that came with a performance on the Dove's nationally televised award show (read our coverage online ) More tours, public appearances and filming music videos also filled out his schedule.

And all of that was stirred into his experiences written into his brand new album, "The Second City," which drops Jan. 25.

"When I write music I go by the philosophy that if you take the instrumentals and production away, I could preach a sermon with my lyrics," he told a listening reporter. "With this album I wanted to step away from talking in generalities and actually tell my story – what God's presence looks like in my life."


Malcolm (he turns 28 this month), previewed fans last year with two EP releases featuring several of the new songs.

But with this month's project comes all 15 tracks filled with easily the most personal lyrics he's ever written.

For example: an obvious theme emerges in "On The Move" – the story of his life's frantic pace over the last several years. "Devil Is A Liar" speaks of the temptations and challenges in his life – a song in which he admits there are times he can be his own worst enemy.


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But its central tenet comes with the title track –"The Second City" – a reference to Montego Bay, Jamaica, the home of his late father.

Winston Malcolm came to the United States where he met Steven's mother, settling down in Michigan and establishing a family (Steven was born in Kalamazoo, MI). But a descent into drug dealing and other illegal activity eventually got his father deported back to Jamaica when young Steven was just 9 years old. He never saw him again.
"I felt so abandoned," he recalled. "It had the biggest impact in my life due to his absence. And that drove me to look for my identity. And I found my identity in Jesus."

It was in 2010 that the Wyoming Park High School grad walked into a hip-hop church and came to faith.


That church was the Edge Urban Church on Grand Rapids' southwest side. It had an in-house recording studio where he soon was laying down some music, wanting to express his new-found faith. Some of his tunes found their way to producer/record label ears, and he was one of the first artists signed to a new Curb/Word Records imprint called IVAV (4 against 5).

Despite his national travels, Malcolm maintains his Grand Rapids connections, including Edge Urban pastor Troy Evans. (Malcolm's stage companion/DJ/hype man is Mark Evans II, Troy's nephew).

"My life has changed so much – doing music full time, traveling, more people hearing the music and approaching me, I've experienced anxiety and depression for the first time....there is no growth without testing."

He's locally rooted more now than ever. Last year Malcolm married his fiancé Teaira and bought a home in Kentwood. But with the album release, January was rough for travel – he was scheduled to be in Grand Rapids for just five days during the month.


Malcolm's music video for his song "Fuego," reached one million views. The new video for "The Second City"  with touches of reggae along with rap gained 40K views its debut week and premiered on "BET Jams."

His mother Kimberly Ellin knows the personal stories he has shared in "The Second City."

"He really let himself be vulnerable to show the world his testimony," she said. "At the same time he was able to find some closure as he went to his dad's gravesite in Montego Bay," she said of the episode which was recorded for a future video.

Malcolm is especially pleased at a local gig he is able to be part of – a March 23 show at Billy's Lounge in Eastown where he will be featured with several area mainstream artists. "I'm a Christian hip-hop artist with quality stuff and I feel people from the hometown are taking notice," he said.
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Author Information
Terry DeBoer
Author: Terry DeBoer
Terry is a journalist/feature writer for newspapers, magazines and websites, with a background in radio broadcasting. His usual beat is arts and entertainment, specializing in Christian/gospel music. A married father of two, he is based in Grand Rapids, Michigan Contributing Writer: West Michigan Christian News August 2011 – Present Feature writer: -Mlive.com (website and various newspapers) 1988– 2016 -Spotlight New Christian Music Magazine 1997-2008 -Church News Editor, Church Herald Magazine 2004-2009

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