Kanye collaborator visits area

Malik Yusef. Photo by Leon Laing.

When Lancaster-based rapper Terian Mack recorded at a studio in California, he would also forge a relationship with Malik Yusef, a music industry heavyweight.

Then on Sept. 8, Mack held a listening party for his upcoming album Independence Day at Tellus 360 in Lancaster. Mack told vigoronline that he’ll drop the album soon; the release date is tentative. Yusef and Rockie Fresh are some of the celebrity features on Independence Day.

Yusef, 50, a Chicago-based poet, rapper, writer, actor and producer, was the special guest. The celebrity gave some tips to the young audience and talked about working with artists Kanye West, Beyoncé, Big Sean and Snoh Aalegra. Earlier that day, Yusef spoke to the youth in Lancaster.

“We celebrated my birthday by doing the work we love,” Mack said on an Instagram post. “We went into the same high school I dropped out of to talk to the kids! I can’t explain how much this has impacted my life!”

In 2005, my friends Kiev, Eddie and I drove to MTV Studios to watch the recording of MTV’s Direct Effect. It was Straight Up Hip-Hop All Week on the show. During Direct Effect, Ciara did two takes for her impressive performance of “Oh” featuring Ludacris. Also, during the show, I gave dap to Fat Joe and shot the breeze with Sway Calloway. Yusef appeared on Direct Effect that day, too. We met Yusef after leaving MTV; Kiev and I have kept in touch with him since then. From time to time, I remind Yusef that I love his poem “Trouble Won’t Last,” which appears on Carl Thomas’ Emotional.

In 2011, Yusef affiliates Big Sean and Cyhi Da Prince performed at Lancaster’s defunct Chameleon Club. Yusef was also friends with the late Michael K. Williams, an actor who had ties to Harrisburg.

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