Malc Stewy on the Long, Slow Process of Coming Up in the South Florida Hip-Hop Scene

When speaking to Malc Stewy, the hip-hop moniker of the Boynton Beach-raised Malcolm Stewart, he repeatedly takes the time to emphasize and underline the hard work that has not only defined his burgeoning career but made it possible. Within 30 seconds of our conversation, he alludes to repeated and lengthy rehearsals for this week’s show at Bamboo Room in Lake Worth. The show, which will see Stewy accompanied by fellow South Florida acts Drea Real, Devin Lee, and Zoediac, represents something of a coming home party for the 21 year-old rapper.

“I haven’t performed in Palm Beach County since I was 15, and we did a release party for this mixtape we recorded with no [external] microphone [on a MacBook],” Stewy says. He was in high school then, an admitted novice. “This is a show after my first time traveling the country and performing in these historical venues… and I feel like it has a different impact to me and to people who’ve been watching since I was 15.”

Stewy recently embarked on his first national tour with the Smokers Club, opening up for the likes of Cam’ron, Smoke DZA, and the Underachievers in venues far removed from the Miami clubs he’s used to occupying. Besides offering an extraordinary experience, the tour also presented an educational opportunity for Stewy, allowing him to both rub shoulders with the greats and familiarize himself with non-Miami audiences and sensibilities. “That opened my eyes — just being able to reach different markets,” Stewy says. “And that’s a valuable asset to what I’m trying to do.”

As for what exactly it is that Stewy’s trying to do, it's not too different a goal from any other kid out there with a MacBook and a dream: make it. The only difference is Stewy actually possesses the tools, discipline, and drive to make his aspirations tangible. In addition to hitting the road with Killa Cam and Smoke DZA, Stewy has already opened for Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, Dead Prez, Flatbush Zombies, Gunplay, and Kevin Gates in Miami, a sizable resume for someone who only recently earned the ability to drink legally. The opportunities haven't come easy, though.
“I was looking online, trying to find upcoming shows where people were coming — what venues were having shows — so I could call somebody and try to reach out and speak,” Stewy says, detailing how he became involved in Miami’s hip-hop scene. “[T]he only place I could really find things going on was Miami, as far as hip-hop goes. They have big concerts and stuff that come to Palm Beach, but that’s at the amphitheatres and shit like that. So as far as underground clubs — hip-hop vibe, you know — opening up for somebody… that’s all in Miami.”

Stewy is reluctant to affix specific adjectives or points of reference to his style or flow (“I don’t like to put myself in a box and say: ‘It sounds like this,’ or ‘I would describe myself like that,’” Stewy says), but he is quick to acknowledge that he often operates in a heavily percussive, almost trap-like realm, a production style that is usually not accompanied by a heavy emphasis on lyrical progression. To Stewy’s great pride, he actively works to buck this trend. “[I]f I write something down that I don’t like, I erase it… I’m big on that first impression.”

Having heavily invested in Miami and his own career, Stewy is eager to take what he learned on the road and apply it toward forging a career defined by consistency and quality both on the stage and off.

“No one really took what I was doing here seriously until I went on the tour and started performing elsewhere. So, that’s my main focus,” Stewy says. “I feel like I have my own place, and people will see that soon.”

Malc Stewy
with Drea Real, Devin Lee, Zoediac and DJ Heron. 8 p.m. Thursday, August 11, at Bamboo Room, 25 S. J St., Lake Worth; 561-585-2583; Admission costs $7.