Magazine article The Fader

Haleek Maul

Magazine article The Fader

Haleek Maul

Article excerpt

During an early August afternoon at Best Pizza in Brooklyn, 16-year-old rapper Haleek Maul acts like an average teenager. He's slightly timid, easily distracted and doses his iced tea with a ton of simple syrup. The only indication of a dark disposition is the way his face lights up when he slays a witch in the vampire hunting game Castlevania that he's currently engrossed in on his laptop. To explain his penchant for the morose, Maul likens himself to the ocean surrounding the island of Barbados, where he grew up. "You think it's exciting and exuberant because of all the children and the things around it," he explains. "But if you've ever been to the beach at night, you realize how rough the seas are. When it hits the cliffs and the shoreline, it just seems so angry and powerful."

He relies on that power to write, often crafting lyrics in the middle of the night after having one of his recurring, lucid dreams, including, lie says, a nightmare where he's attacked by hooded creatures in a strange temple in the woods. The violent fantasies explored on his tracks have led some people in the tiny, hyper-Christian community back home to call him a Satanist. "No one [in Barbados] really fucks with my music," he says. "They're sheep." On "Fraulein," Maul raps, Baby, I'm a demon/ Think you better hide your soul over a crawling King Britt beat. It's a far cry from the jubilant soca music he was raised on.

For a teenager who raps about pill-popping, suicide and sexual exploits, Maul has surprisingly solid judgment, thanks to his grandmother's firm hand in raising him. …

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