An intellectual gangsta is one way to describe Malik Yusef, but you can’t forget the rest of his titles. Malik Yusef is an artist, poet, songwriter, actor, and servant (his words). It may seem unusual to call someone a servant, but when you use your gift to help others achieve their dreams, you’re for the people. Most people recognize the importance of teaching others, and Malik Yusef is one of them, as he’s been sharing his words and knowledge with the world. Malik began his career when hired to work with Larenze Tate as his coach for the film Love Jones. Coaching Tate resulted in Malik having a cameo as a poet. With heavy influence from people like Lauryn Hill, Erykah Badu, and Common eventually birthed the award-winning wordsmith into a position to create his narrative.
Growing up, Malik faced challenges as early as six years old. Social anxiety, dyslexia, and an abusive mother made it difficult to excel as a child on the southside of Chicago; Forcing Malik to indulge in the street life and seek nurture from older women. The game started to change and wasn’t worth the risk for Malik to continue once he began to invest in the music industry. Malik Yusef was in the streets before realizing his purpose in the entertainment industry as an artist, servant, and wordsmith. It was musician and mogul Lauryn Hill who encouraged him to release a poetry project.
After receiving Grammys, ASCAP Awards, Chicago’s Best Poet, and numerous other awards, Malik has channeled his focus to sharing his knowledge through his writers camp. Malik is taking his writing camp online with the wave of virtual seminars. Malik is responsible for contributing to big projects such as Beyoncé’s Lemonade album and Jay-Z’s 4:44. The couple publicly went through marital issues both expressed their views in their work. Malik was the lead writer of Beyonce’s Sandcastles featured on Lemonade. He recalls the impact Beyoncé had on the world with her album and how it inspired other women from America to Turkey. Malik was invited to Lemonade parties by fans celebrating the body of work. Months later, he found himself working on a project with Jay-Z that turned out to be 4:44, an apology album to Beyonce.
Through the idea of community and respect, Malik created the guidelines for his success by doing onto others as you would want God to do for you. He believes that sometimes you can help others before they can do anything for you and that you should use your gift to do so. For instance, beauty bias, using something beautiful to shed light on dark or ugly things.The challenges he has experienced and witnessed for others leads him to share his testimony and shed light on things like the realization to protect Black women. Malik recently worked with Wyclef, Chance The Rapper, and Vic Mensa on the newly released record, Shelter. The song Shelter is about displacement living (homelessness) for the youth and specifically a young Black woman who’s paid tribute to at the end of the video.
Look for Malik Yusef’s Docuseries and some upcoming tour dates where he’ll be having intimate shows across the country. The humble Malik Yusef is continuing to leave his legacy as he gears up to write for more artists and inspire those around him. Malik thanks his good friends like Common and Jay-Z for opening doors for him to change his life.