By Dylan Deprey
All Meccah Maloh needs is his Akai MPC Live and a wireless speaker to make beats. As he sits on his porch taking in the fall weather, his hands move at lighting speeds scrolling through sounds. He assigns samples, snares and hi-hats to one-of-the-twelve illuminating pads.
A booming bass blasts through the tiny speaker and shakes the table. “Mhmm! That’s good,” he said while ferociously jabbing the pads.
After tailoring the beat machine to his caliber, it was go time. He began with a few light taps on three of the pads, which issued an eerie sample loop. Then, in an instant, his fingers flashed and the drums fired off.
If someone asked him what he’d be doing a year ago, it would not have been preparing for his first local beat battle. After nearly a decade in the rap game, he was still making music, but ultimately had his heart set on graphic design.
That all changed after getting into a fight on his birthday, while on probation. He ended up getting revocated and spent six months in jail.
“What a night right?” he said jokingly. “It wasn’t the most enjoyable six months of my life, but it was the most transformative.”
He did any and every program that was available to stay out of his cell. He received his high school diploma and five other certificates.
When he got home, his friend gifted him the MPC. He told him to hop back in the music producer’s seat.
The plan was to get out and start making beats for his own album, but he started watching videos from new school pad drummers: BeatsByJBlack, Lisa Vasquez and Trizzy Track, who recently went viral.
“It was like, ‘let me see if I can do that,’ and it was easy for me to make the transition because I’ve been playing the drums since I was five. So, all it took was for me to put the sounds on different pads and know where those sounds are on the pads, and now I can play with my eyes closed,” Maloh said.
After six months behind the pads, he has participated in in two beat battles in both Las Vegas and St. Louis. The next one on the docket is the Second Cream City Beat Battle on Oct. 25th. He said he has been focused preparing for it.
“I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve when I go up there,” he said. “We’ll see what happens, but I definitely think I’m going to wow the crowd and the judges. It’s going to be crazy.”
Along with solo competitions, Maloh has engaged in a renaissance for pad drumming in Milwaukee. He has been named team captain for the recently created, Milwaukee Pad Masters.
The MKE Pad Masters will compete across the country as a part of the National Beat Battle Association. Demaryl Howard is the team owner and DScribe is the general manager. Local producer 40 Mil is the Pad Master’s official coach, and the team hosts eight other spots.
“We’ve got some talent on our squad,” Maloh said. “We’ve been having team practices together, just bouncing ideas off each other and just helping each other get better.”
The MKE Pad Masters will have a good amount of time as battles don’t start until August 2020. In the meantime, Maloh will continue to hone his craft one day at a time.