89.3 The Current presents
HEIRUSPECS HOLIDAY CLASSIC
MaLLy and DJ DAN SPEAK
As decreed by the Mayor of St. Paul, Christopher B. Coleman, Saturday, December 22, 2007 was officially Heiruspecs Day. Heiruspecs celebrated by playing two sold out Ten Year Anniversary shows in St. Paul and releasing a limited edition full length disc with out of print or unreleased songs and five brand new songs, titled Ten Years Strong. After the merch got counted and the openers got paid Heiruspecs, and a group of their close friends, walked the half block back to their rehearsal space, shared a couple high fives, drank champagne and celebrated ten years of Heiruspecs. Upon finishing his second glass of champagne the mayor of St. Paul leaned over to Heiruspecs and handed them a biography of Heiruspecs and a briefcase brimming with pardons for unpaid parking tickets. It goes like this:
Heiruspecs started in 1997 at St. Paul Central High School. The founding emcee of the group, Felix, had been honing his freestyle skills in turntable based settings when he found an unlikely partner in the form of aspiring bassist, Sean ‘Twinkie Jiggles” McPherson. The duo improvised music with a rotating cast of emcees and other musicians four days a week in Central’s recording program and cheated on theory tests every Friday. After a year of great freestyle sessions and mediocre grades the nascent group put together a full band and started booking shows and writing songs. Heiruspecs was welcomed into the thriving Twin Cities hip-hop scene and were performing in night- clubs long before they were drinking in them. Heiruspecs released the tape Live From the Studio to high-school-esque acclaim. Their status as successful high school musicians making no money cemented their faith in not going to college and seeing how the rap life style would work out. It worked out pretty well, as it turned out.
Heiruspecs hit the road in 2002 with the second pressing of a thousand copies of their new record, Small Steps, in the back of the trailer hooked to mom’s minivan. The record got Heiruspecs some good national press and people were coming to shows around the country. Heiruspecs also became the solution to the sick, drunk, late, broken equipment-having or otherwise occupied DJ. The band played as a backup band for many of underground hip-hop’s up and comers including Atmosphere, Aesop Rock, Sage Francis and The Typical Cats. The group is featured on Atmosphere’s Live album Sad Clown Bad Dub 3 and the Typical Cats/Oddjobs record Live at Bryant-Lake Bowl.
As Heiruspecs continued to tour they solidified their lineup. Felix on vocals, Muad’dib on vocals and beatbox, dVRG on keyboards, Sean ‘Twinkie Jiggles’ McPherson on bass and Peter Leggett on drums. Recently, Heiruspecs has also welcomed back their on again/off again guitar player, Josh Peterson, into the permanent “on again” position. Heiruspecs caught the attention of Razor and Tie records and in September of 2004 they released A Tiger Dancing. The record brought Heiruspecs national press and tours opening for Cake, Lyrics Born, Tre Hardson (Pharcyde) and Ja Rule. Yes, Ja Rule. Heiruspecs put 130,000 miles on the E-350 before they flipped their van over outside of icy Fargo, North Dakota. The band walked away from the accident and took a much-needed break from selling t-shirts and losing guitar stands. Heiruspecs retreated to the frozen Minnesota tundra to get involved in side-projects, paying rent, college, cooking, traveling and weekend touring. The time off from full-time touring helped Heiruspecs expand their musical and personal horizons and aided in them not killing each other.
Move forward to 2009 and Heiruspecs has released the best record of their career. The self-titled, self-released record came out on December 12, 2008 and the band celebrated with a sold-out show at the legendary First Avenue Nightclub in Minneapolis. Heiruspecs is sporadically touring the Midwest in support of their most recent record. Since the release, the album’s music has been featured on VH1, MTV, ESPN and much more. The group also recently held their second annual Heiruspecs Scholarship Concert where they award scholarships to promising students from Central High School who are pursuing further education in the arts.
Malik Watkins, better known by his stage name MaLLy, is an independent hip-hop artist from Minneapolis, MN. Active since 2009, MaLLy has cemented his place in the Twin Cities music scene with a strong discography boasting three critically acclaimed albums—The Passion, The Last Great..., and The Colors of Black—along with two well-received EPs including Free on the 15th and Strange Rhythm.
In 2012, he was voted the Twin Cities’ best hip-hop artist by the City Pages, and has been recognized by other local and national press outlets including the Star Tribune, 2DopeBoyz, Uproxx, and Complex Magazine. Prominent industry figures such as Monie Love, Sway Calloway, Swif N Wessun, and Chuck D have lauded his work.
MaLLy has toured nationwide with Atmosphere on their “Welcome to Minnesota” tour in 2012, with Brother Ali on his “Home Away From Home” tour in 2014, and with Webster X and Kweku Collins on the Orbit Series Tour in 2015. Additionally, he’s made two appearances—one as a performer (2011) and one as co-host with Brother Ali (2012)—at Soundset, the largest Hip-Hop festival in Minnesota.
MaLLy is known for exhibiting a strong artistic duality in his music; he owns both a commanding, fiery delivery of rhymes detailing his ambition with an introspective tone of a man striving for improvement of self and the world around him. His wordplay, tonal variety and the universal nature of his subject matter are highlights of MaLLy’s content which appeals to a broad spectrum of listeners.
He continues to perform, serve as a teaching artist and collaborate with community-oriented organizations dedicated to the arts and social justice such as Common Ground, TruArtSpeaks, COMPAS, Kulture Klub Collaborative and KRSM Radio. In 2018, MaLLy was awarded the McKnight Foundation Fellowship for musicians. In September 2019, he released his fourth solo album, entitled The Journey To A Smile.
One of the Twin Cities best party Dj’s for almost 20 years, Dj Dan Speak has come to be known for a smooth mixing style, and his heavy knowledge of music. He was first influenced by the classic Minneapolis sound of the late '80s and early '90s, then the Golden era of Hip Hop which eventually led him into the 5 elements, settling on deejaying. Easily flipping the script from the Old to the New school, he has spun clubs and events consistently in the Twin Cities from the mid '90s up to today.