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The name Steven Malcolm may be brand new to many catching the Christian hip hop trendsetter on the current edition of Winter Jam, but to those in the know, he’s been steadily climbing the ladder to success since 2014’s well-received Monsters Ink. The following year, he was nominated for “Best New Artist” on Rapzilla.com, can be heard on the “Sideways Remix” with KB and Hollyn, while also scoring tour time alongside Lecrae, Andy Mineo, Da T.R.U.T.H., Canton Jones and many others. And when he’s not on the road as an opener, headliner or appearing at major events such as the Big Ticket Festival, Lifest, Unity Fest and the Urban Youth Workers Conference, Malcolm leads worship at a hip hop church called The Edge Urban Fellowship in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Add it all up, and the singer-songwriter-rapper recently caught the attention of Word Records, and more specifically, the folks at its hip hop branch 4 AGAINST 5, who quickly swooped up the burgeoning star for a self-titled release coming at the top of 2017 (buy). Every song on the project was either penned or co-written by Malcolm, while also featuring a slew of GRAMMY and Dove Award-winning producers, including Derek Minor; Beam (Tyshane Thompson) of Track Or Die; Dirty Rice, Joseph Prielozny and Juice Bangers of COBRA (Lecrae, Andy Mineo, Blanca); and Scootie (Ariana Grande, Chris Brown). CCM Magazine caught up with the “Hot Boy” (to borrow from the project’s lead single) about the unconventional ride from building a spiritual foundation to embracing artistry and striving to impact the world at large.

CCM Magazine: It sounds like you didn’t grow up in a church going home per se. How did you come in contact with faith for the first time?
Steven Malcolm:
A good friend of mine, who I played high school basketball with, got saved a year prior. We ran into each other and he asked me if I was interested in coming to church and told me it was a hip hop church. At the time I had nothing to do and was at a rocky place in life, so I gave it a shot and that’s all God needed.

CCM: What inspired you to pursue a career in music?
SM:
A year after getting rooted spiritually, I wanted to serve my church. I decided to join the worship team at my church, The Edge Urban Fellowship, and found my passion for using music to glorify Jesus. I fell in love instantly and knew that’s what I wanted to do the rest of my life.

CCM: Give us the brief backstory of getting connected with Word Records and its hip hop arm 4 AGAINST 5.
SM:
[Eight-time Dove-winner] Joseph Prielozny, who was A&R for Reach Records at the time, connected with me on Twitter and we began to build a relationship. He told me he loved what I do, so we continued to build [our relationship]. When he made the move from Reach to Word Records, where he started the new hip hop imprint 4 AGAINST 5, Word felt I would be a great fit for the team.

CCM: So, what exactly is a “Hot Boy?”
SM:
Anyone who is made alive in the Son, Jesus, and has a burning passion to glorify God is a “Hot Boy.” God has given us all a gift and we should be on fire, giving 100% to steward that gift.

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