• Michael Bugeja

UMANNIMALI: NEW SOUNDS FROM THE UNDERGROUND


That contemporary music in the Maltese language has experienced a revival in recent years is no secret, and the local hip hop scene has certainly been among its foremost flagbearers. Indeed, apart from Hooligan, who is more or less inclined towards the mainstream side of the genre, other acts such as Sempliċiment Tat-Triq, No Bling Show and Marmalja, have worked to get their music and their message heard beyond the underground circuit they were born into.

The latest addition to this ever-growing list is Umannimali, a two-man act featuring rappers Il-Majċa and Trabokk, whose debut release Makkinarji was released on You Tube last January. The two have been part of the local hip hop scene for a number of years. Il-Majċa has already worked and recorded music with G-Force, Il-Ġulepp and Sempliċiment Tat-Triq. As they emphasize with great conviction in the song lyrics, they are totally dedicated to music and to the real hip hop sound in particular, with no delusions of grandeur.

Although they’ve only recently released their first track as a duo, they’ve been working together for a few years already. “We first met back in 2008. I was performing at an event, and Trabokk happened to be there,” Il-Majċa explains. “We talked for a couple of hours after the gig.” One might assume this was what set the ball rolling, but they actually didn’t speak again until a year and a half later, when by sheer coincidence they bumped into each other. “Trabokk told me he had written some lyrics, which I took a look at, and it was then that we decided to try and do some work together.”

They discovered they had a lot in common, and before long, Il-Majċa had brought in Trabokk to rap on some of his own songs, among them Duħħan Biss (which featured on the Elfejnutnax mixtape) as well as on Toroq Imħarbtin, Stqarrija and Pistoli, off Il-Majċa’s latest album. After that album was released, the two of them decided to set up a new project, and Umannimali was born. “We’re quite pleased with the feedback that our first release received,” Il-Majċa said. The song Makkinarji is taken off their debut album, which should come out later this year. In the meantime, they are also working on another project. “Our plan is to upload a new track every couple of months and build up Umannimali’s profile gradually.”

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Watch the video for Makkinarji here.

This article was first published on The Sunday Times of Malta (16 March 2014)

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