With just more than 24 hours before his first big performance in his hip-hop career, Malik Shahbal walked around campus with his headphones in, listening to his music and preparing for the stage.
Shahbal, whose stage name is M Shah, is a computer science senior and rapper who will be the opening act for the Mike Stud concert at SLO Brewing Co. on Tuesday.
Shahbal’s high school friend, journalism senior Esteban Yanez, has helped promote him and contacted SLO Brew for the gig, Shahbal said.
SLO Brewing Co. agreed to give Shahbal the opening spot if he could sell 25 tickets for the show. With completing that task, Shahbal will perform five songs at the event.
“I’m gonna be performing a song called ‘Where I’m From.’ It’s probably my favorite song I’ve written, and I’ve never performed it,” Shahbal said. “I feel like it lets people in on a very basic level. It’s all about where I come from and how I became who I am.”
Shahbal has produced more than 30 songs in his career so far. He began listening to hip-hop in middle school, but started to notice his interest in the industry far surpassed that of his peers. With his growth as a rapper, all of the music he has recorded is his original work.
His style has a more laid-back feel and “is not crunk or anything like that,” he said. He strays away from radio-style hip hop and “people should expect to come out and hear some good music,” he said.
Yanez said he admires Shahbal’s hard work and the attitude he has toward his music, which led him to want to help Shahbal by drawing up a press release.
“Malik, the stuff he writes about, he’s very honest with what he writes about,” Yanez said. “When he performs, you can see the passion he puts into his music.”
Tickets can be purchased for $12 at Boo Boo Records or at SLO Brewing Co. All ages are welcome and doors open at 8 p.m.
Tayler Duprel contributed to this article.