On her debut LP “Can You Handle This?!!!” Marlen (a.k.a. Malicious) is able to balance her dual personalities and various musical styles in a way that isn’t banal or contrived. As a hip-hop Jekyll and Hyde, Marlen, and her evil half Malicious, seamlessly weave through the 13 tracks sometimes complementing themselves on the same one. The album is a variety of dance infused hip-hop and straight hip-hop which blends smoothly to make a refreshing overall sound.
Her schizophrenic personality acts as an angel/devil on the shoulder and demonstrates the struggle to control the world around her. Her most introspective track “Remedy” clearly details this device as the two adversaries banter though out the track and the chorus blares “give me a remedy, kill my insanity”. The two can agree about one thing as they rap in unison at the end of the track, “One things for sure, I’m not from this planet”.
Marlen takes over the next track “Girlfriend” which deals with women rising up and not taking shit from bad boyfriends or ugly situations. It highlights her feminism and shows that even nice girls can take a stand to get what they deserve and be treated with respect. She goes about it in a way that is strong but not destructive; which is what Malicious does on the next track, “Demolition”.
Malicious is at her most destructive in “Demolition” a track that spews malevolent messages with a nursery rhyme sounding delivery. There is no room for compromise in her world and wants to obliterate everyone who prevents her from what she wants. She delivers an open threat to any man who wrongs her, “We’re gonna burn your house down”, in a devious but childlike canter.
A debut album is nearly impossible to pull off without one minor flaw and Marlen needs to find some consistency in her flow to be considered a serious hip-hop artist. Her singing and ability to create danceable hip-hop songs will carry her a long way but her choppy delivery on “Erase the Pain” sounds forced and distracts from the track, creating a small speed bump in the album. “Oil Change”, another hip-hop heavy track provides a smother flow and shows she has the ability, but the consistency needs to be there.
“Can You Handle This?!!!” is a strong debut for the up-and-coming Marlen and it definitely deserves a few rotations in the iPod. There are many layers to this schizophrenic artist and she/they provide a glimpse into the mind someone conflicted with the moral standard of life. www.MarlenakaMalicious.com