by Gabriella DePinho, News Editor
Junior marketing major Treysaun McGeachy transferred to Manhattan College in the fall semester of the 2018-2019 academic school year. What Manhattan College did not know when they accepted him was that in addition to academics, McGeachy was looking for a place where he could make and appreciate music with others. When McGeachy couldn’t find that, he decided to take matters into his own hands, starting the unofficial and underground “Hiphop Society” that hopes to become a recognized official club now that the moratorium is lifted. McGeachy writes, produces and releases his own music under the name “Malcolm Da Kid” and created “Hiphop Society” as a place for other artists and interested students to come together to collaborate, teach each other what they know and develop new skills together.
The Quadrangle: How did you first get into music?
Treysaun McGeachy: I first got into music in about eighth grade. Like, I knew about music but I really started getting into it around that time. I used to write rhymes in my notebooks and hang out with friends and joke around and make raps. I started taking it seriously in high school when I met one of my other friends whose like a producer. He made beats and was telling me “yo bro, I make beats you should get on one” and I said okay because I wasn’t taking it too seriously. But then I realized like ‘okay maybe I should.’ There was this one class where we did free writing and I took that class as an opportunity to test out some of my raps. The class loved it, other people started doing it. It was fun. Around that time, the same person who was a producer and wanted me to be on this beat, called me and was like ‘yo we’re in the studio, why don’t you come check it out’ and I was like “really?”. Around that period of time, I was more to myself so when I received that phone call there was a part of me that wanted to say no I’m busy but I really wanted to experience that so I decided to branch out and see how it is. I went and it was pretty dope, I met some really good people, got closer to some people. That environment, from there on out, I just started making music.
TQ: When you’re making music, is there a specific process or does it just happen for you?
TM: When I’m making music, I usually start by finding a beat because I feel like the beat is definitely an important factor for when you start writing. I like to play with the beat and I feel like certain types of beat that create the sound. There are some that you hear and you’re like “eh it’s kinda sad” but there’s another one that’s more happy. I have to listen to the beat depending on my mood because if I’m feeling kinda sad or I want to talk or express myself, I look for a slow beat, something calm or chill. Then I start writing. I usually try to rap with the beat before I start writing, trying to find a melody. Once I find the melody, I feel like it helps me better to write. When I get to the studio, usually I try to prep myself because when I go to the studio, I usually am paying for the sessions so when I get there, I want to make sure I do what I have to do because I don’t want to waste money. So I prep myself. I’m ready to go in, the engineer puts on the beat and I go into the booth. I always, the first time at least, practice with the mic and stuff because I feel like you can’t just go into it. You need to hear how you sound, the engineer needs to hear how you sound, play with your voice a bit. The second time, I take it a bit more seriously.
TQ: Who would you consider your biggest musical influences?
TM: Definitely J.Cole for sure. He’s definitely like my top one just because growing up, I listened to a lot of J.Cole and just seeing what he’s doing now. Not only is he at the peak of his rap career but he’s also helping out the younger generation and pushing his guys out which I feel is very important. He realized, he owns a label, so he has to eat with his label basically. You can’t be the top guy and not have anyone else have the spotlight, but yeah, he definitely his storytelling abilities through his music and how he’s so vulnerable and real and just the way he does it too, in an authentic way. I have a lot of different influences in a variety of ways, J.Cole is definitely one of them and if I’m talking visual, I would say ASAP Rocky. He came from a place kind of similar to the one I’m from. He came from New York – he’s from Harlem and I’m from the Bronx – but they’re both very similar in some ways. He came from this place and transformed himself to stardom. He went from the hood but he mixed the hood with luxurious things… If you’ve ever seen a video, it’s definitely like woah but he creates such crazy visuals.
TQ: Do you have a favorite song that you’ve written and put out there? How are you putting your music out there?
TM: Right now, one of my favorites is the one that I just released. It’s called “Dream of You.” I’ve been putting out music on SoundCloud but now I’ve branched over to Apple Music and Spotify because that’s really where people of this day and age are listening to music and streaming it. I had to get away from SoundCloud. I still use it but I use it like if I wanted to drop something, I’ll just drop it on SoundCloud. That’s kinda what happened with “Dream of You.” I first put it on soundcloud but then it got so much love that people wanted it to be on Apple so I was like “okay.” The reason I really like that song is because people see it as a love song, which is dope and it kinda is like that, but I feel like I made it in the way that it’s dealing more with insecurities. This song is basically about me desiring somebody else but I’m not sure if I’m good enough for that person but it’s basically me, opening up, giving people how I feel in a way that might be a little hard to tell, but it might not be. If you listen to that song you might be able to hear what I’m talking about.
TQ: Do you drop your music under your name or a stage name? If it’s a stage name, where did you get it from?
TM: I drop it under my stage name which is “Malcolm Da Kid.” I got that name from, well growing up, I used to have these glasses so people said I looked like “Malcolm X” or something, so I was like “cool.” And then a movie came out, called DOPE, the main character. He was kinda like a little bit nerdy but he was really into music. He did his thing with music but he was also into school. The main character’s name was “Malcolm” so this Malcolm thing seemed to be popping up a lot so I’ll run with it. I took into consideration another person. I forgot to mention but a person I look up to is Mac Miller and his name is Malcolm and I thought that would kind of be a tribute to him. I added “the kid” part because I felt like it makes more sense. I feel like we’re all in some ways still kids and we hold onto that memory of still being a kid, we hold onto these memories and hobbies that we grew up with.
TQ: Do you see yourself – post-graduation – pursuing your music or your marketing thing or finding a way to combine both?
TM: Definitely a way to combine both. The reason I took on marketing is to learn to market myself because that’s one challenge as an independent artist is to market yourself and get out into the world. I have to be able to brand myself. What I’ve been learning in marketing I’ve been putting towards my music and it’s been working. Also, as a career, I really want to get into the music industry so I’ve been applying to internships where I can get involved in that industry. I would feel more comfortable there but I would work wherever I can get experience but my end goal is to end up somewhere involved with music or even start my own thing.
TQ: Do you go out and perform places or are you just releasing your stuff online?
TM: I actually go out sometimes and perform places because I feel like me doing that, I get to meet people and they get to her my sound. It’s good for me to practice, being on front of stage and people. Obviously, it’s a little nerve wracking knowing you have to get on stage and then you’re performing your song and you’re wondering are people going to like this song. Honestly it’s all about confidence and doing the best you can. Usually after my performances people will go to me and be like ‘oh what’s your instagram’ or I really liked that so you get that feedback. You can understand what the people liked and what they didn’t like and the target audience. Usually, the open mics that I’ve been attending are full of people and they’re usually 18 and up. You get to see how the younger people interact with each other and how the older age group interacts. Some older guys be coming in and they’re rapping and sometimes they do interact with the younger generation but sometimes they don’t. The younger generation, when they perform, the young guys be getting wildin’ and some of the old guys just be chilling. Being in that environment you get to see what people like and feed off their energy and get motivated. I’m motivated by these artists because I’ve seen a lot of talented people and it’s really dope because me meeting these people and sharing my music with them and hearing what they have to say is really important.
TQ: Have you had any cool collaborations come out of your experiences at these open mics? Are you open to them?
TM: I’m definitely open to them and I feel like people might not know that. Usually after performances, I’ll hit up certain people and tell them I thought they did good and they’ll say thank you and they thought I was good too. We’ll share music and whatever but hopefully, there’s one guy that I did meet and me and him are planning on working together soon. I met him at an open mic. There’s another dude I met just going to a concert and he asked me if I was an artist. It was weird how he sensed that. He was like ‘I’m an artist too, maybe one day we should work’ and during the summer we actually got together and he booked this session at a studio called The Quad – yeah it’s really called The Quad. It was really fancy too, had the plaques up and stuff but it was really dope. We recorded a few songs. I’ve gone with another friend and we’ve recorded some songs. Experiences, getting yourself out there, it opens the door for opportunity.
TQ: Do you have any music projects – like an album or an EP – that you’re working towards?
TM: Right now, I’ve released two songs that are on platforms and I want to release one more and another one on SoundCloud but I really want to start working on an EP because I feel like that’s important. I want to give people a variety of songs rather than just releasing single after single so I’m really going to try to aim and do that for this summer, after school is done. Maybe go to more studio sessions, get that stuff in. I’m in the process of writing songs, seeing what I want on there, what I don’t.
TQ: Now that you’ve had music in your life for so long, when you first started did you see it becoming this important to you? What does it mean to you to have music?
TM: I always knew that it was going to be important because I’ve always done it. It was something that I didn’t let go. All the way in eighth grade, just rapping with my friends, I went far from that to where I am now. Music has become a thing where I have to find a way to do music, be involved in music or be involved in the community of music or work in that career path of music. I feel like it’s something in me. There’s something about music, it just gives me that feeling, that happy feeling. That’s why I want there to be more music events at this school, just unity and together and being together with everyone and everybody enjoying the music. It’s wild. The way I see it, there are so many different concerns going on in the world, people have their own opinions, have their own views and perspectives but when music comes on, everybody gets together and they just enjoy it. That’s what I love about it.
You can check out McGeachy’s music on Spotify, Apple Music and SoundCloud under the name “Malcom Da Kid” and follow him on instagram @treysonn_