With hip-hop music, there is a whole spiritual side that often gets ignored because of the glitz and glamour of it all. With his new studio album, Tree, hip-hop artist Steven Malcolm makes sure to emphasize his spiritual connection with music and life. With a host of high-profile collaborators, Malcolm makes his statement as an artist, one that he began to make on his 2021 EP, All Is True. That album was a meeting between more traditional Christian music and large, bombastic hip-hop, featuring universally appealing songs about faith, family, and fidelity. Think of it as a conjoining of the spirituality of Sunday mornings with the frenetic energy typical of Saturday nights.
Featuring 16 new tracks, Tree was released to high praise on June 3rd. The songs are a further exploration of his spirituality, as well as his versatility as an artist. It’s a reflection on Malcolm’s past, present, and future, with a whole gang of high-profile collaborators along for the ride. You’ll find tracks featuring the likes of Shaggy, Childish Major, Taylor Hill, Jay-Way, and the one, the only Snoop Dogg. Music has been Malcolm’s source of stability, and he has slowly made his way through the hip-hop underground to where he is now a featured artist, collaborating with some of the genre’s modern icons.
“Summertime” is one of the most notable tracks on Tree, featuring both Snoop Dogg and Jay-Way. Malcolm recently released a spectacular, appropriately summery video for the song, featuring some impressive visuals of him and his collaborators making their way around Los Angeles on a beautiful day. For our latest Behind The Video interview, we connected with Malcolm to discuss the video shoot, its development process and vibing with Snoop Dogg on set.
Snoop Dogg is EVERYWHERE these days. How did this collaboration come about?
Steven Malcolm: “He heard the record on a TV show he was hosting and loved it. His team connected with my team and we made it happen. Snoop sent his verse back in 24 hours. It was crazy.”
How was Snoop on set? Did he share any words of wisdom?
“Snoop was a freaking legend on set! Down to earth, turned up, and was into the vibe. Bro gave me the dopest word, he said, ‘Great music makes moments like this.’”
What is your favourite Snoop music video and did you have any secret nods to it in “Summertime”?
“My favourite Snoop video is ‘Gin and Juice.’ Yes! In our video, Jay-Way has on the same Pittsburgh Penguins hockey jersey Snoop wore in ‘Gin and Juice.’”
Can you elaborate on the concepts seen in the music video?
“The concept of the ‘Summertime’ video is to make everyone feel and reminisce on summertime vibes. That West Coast sunshine and palm trees, you can’t do anything but thank God for the peace it brings.”
Did you develop any concepts where you started and, midway through, thought, “what the heck are we doing?”
“Yeah, but it was a miscommunication on what the vision is. There is such thing as dwelling among the mainstream and not compromising.”
Snoop released a gospel album in 2018 entitled, Bible of Love. How does it feel to be the first Christian hip-hop artist to work with him? Are the benefits worth the costs and effort involved to work with such a high-profile artist?
“It feels legendary! Like I’ve done something special. As for the costs…. we’ll see. God is at work.”
You had your family in this music video. Why was that so important to you?
“It was important because that’s who I am. A father and a husband. That’s what I praise God for every day so it only makes sense.”
Where does this rank among the various accomplishments throughout your music career?
“This is number two in my career when it comes to accomplishments. It would be number one, but it’s not as personal as it SHOULD be…. but who knows what God may do in the future.”