Mallory Bros. Imagine A World Where Kendrick Lamar's "good kid, m.A.A.d city" Is Turned Into A Movie

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The Mallory Bros. podcast hosts, consisting of twins Terrance and Terrell, speak to HNHH for Black Future Month about their perspective on Black film and where they think it needs to go in the future.

As avid hip-hop fans and music listeners, Terrance and Terrell Mallory got their start through their genuine album reviews and reactions on YouTube. Outside of music, though, one medium fuels their drive more than all else: Black Film. The duo attended Full Sail University for film, an experience that altered their perspective on the world as a whole. In a field dominated by people that didn’t look like them, they learned to maneuver and grow in their own way. Since that time, they’ve been focused on going the whole nine in everything they do.

Image provided by Mallory Bros.

The pair of twins, 27 years of age, have a deep appreciation for excellent content and craftsmanship. This dedication to quality can be seen on their platform, Mallory Bros. Podcast (available on YouTube and streaming platforms). More than a simple visual pod, the Bros. incorporate a variety of cuts, transitions, and synchronized shots that enhance the product the audience receives. While speaking on everything under the sun, their eyes brighten up when talking about Black film and how critical it is to the progression of our culture.

HNHH had an opportunity to speak with one of the two twins, Terrance, who spoke on behalf of both brothers about their goals and aspirations, as they relate to pushing Black film forward towards the future.

Read the in-depth interview below, edited for clarity and length.

HNHH:  Most of the questions I have to ask, well not most of them, but a lot of them, stemmed from how you broke down– remember, like one of the biggest moments in your guys’ video history is you breaking down Gorgeous. That’s a big deal. The idea to interview you guys stemmed from that, and the video of you guys breaking down how the black film community really needs a lot more adjustment per se. You talked about what movie was it–  Coming to America 2? That video really spearheaded the idea that I had for pitching this. There’s a gap that needs to be bridged between the two as well going forward, because music and Black Media go hand in hand. So with that said, what is the first movie that you can recall that really got you into film?

Terrance: The first movie that got me into film would have to be Do the Right Thing. Only because we were in film school. And in film school, it's not about just black film. And when we grew up, it was about, these are the good black films. And these are the ones that are just kind of funny, but I wouldn't really be proud to show that to somebody. Like, when I went to film school, I might have seen Booty Call, but I wouldn't want to say “”Yo, y'all should watch Booty Call.” One of ours like, y'all might not even get the comedy in it. So look, Do the Right Thing happened to be the one that I could talk shit about, like, it had the cinematography, it had the story, it had the acclaim. So I just felt like, that was one movie that I felt like, okay, we can reach that height. You know what I'm saying? 

Yeah, it actually competes with other movies that are like, not directly tailored to our comedy, you know?

Yeah, that they consider great. Yeah.

No doubt, no doubt. So, because you brought up the film school experience, what are some things in film school that changed your perspective on black people in the film industry? Not necessarily how we operate in that setting, but how we have to change and adapt to jumping into their environment, you know?

Yeah. And I think it's just the primary thing about us as creators, getting into their environments is always being exactly who you are, and not losing sight of our ideas. I remember being in film school, and you know, that the people that would judge the content that you will create, they might not relate to it. We would do a lot more, I would say hip hop, a lot more black film-related content. Like we used to do skits that I felt like was more geared towards the black community. And when we got into film school, we felt like we had to switch it up, because of the people that we was around. So I feel like a lot of times what we do, even as big-time film creators, is we know we in their world, and that would definitely influence the way we create, like, that's why you see certain big movie-makers making stuff because they know that certain white audiences will want. You know what I mean? Tyler Perry keeps making Madea movies because the white people will watch. He doesn’t give a f**k if we think it’s crap.

Right? I was actually just thinking about that. Because isn't he coming out with a new one? 

Madea Homecoming or something like that? 

And I was wondering, because when talking about the big budget black filmmakers mentioned in Coming to America 2 video, you actually hit the nail on the head with what Tyler Perry is doing. He could be taking that money that he's using to make every Madea, the same movie over and over again, and putting that to two smaller black movies that have ideas that would push the culture forward.

And then think of the platform. You just got a new deal. This movie that you're doing is with Netflix. So you're bringing that Netflix audience, this is what you chose to put on Netflix. You have a whole deal with BET. He did bulls*** shows– Brother, Sisters. It was like, do you really care about the limelight and how we look or are you just trying to stack your wallet? You know what I mean? 

Image provided by Mallory Bros.

Right. With that said, that's actually a good segue into black film. I've been watching the podcast since you guys first dropped it. The first reaction I watched was the “Damn Reaction” back in 2017. So I know you guys really intend to take that leap into film itself. With that said, and the thing about just jumping in and starting, where do you start on such a big project, per se? Where do you get into the film industry? You know, as smaller, black creators?

The craziest thing is– I'm not going to speak like I got my foot in any doors yet, per se. Just more so a strong opinion. But what I think the next step needs to be is– If you think about what Steph Curry did in the NBA, he did some s**t that could have been done. Nobody was just going to put in that work to achieve that level of the game. You know what I mean? Steph has the whole league– it’s a three-point league now. Simply because of the threat that he posed. It's almost to the point where if you tried to come with the regular two-point ball game, it’s looked at as trash. To me, I think as a young creator, it's not necessarily about trying to do what you've seen. And I think too many times, we say, “You know what? I love Do the Right Thing. I'm gonna go and make Two Distant Strangers.” It's like, you're trying to achieve the same achievements that we've already gotten. We've already gotten that Do the Right Thing. This is polarizing. We've already gotten certain acclaim from certain movies like that. So what I feel is, I believe when we step out there, we just got to be fearless in just creating some s**t that we want to create and not some s**t that we feel the need to create.

"We've already gotten certain acclaim from certain movies like that. So what I feel is, I believe when we step out there, we just got to be fearless in just creating some s**t that we want to create and not some s**t that we feel the need to create."

That actually makes a lot of sense comparing it to the Steph Curry thing, because anybody in the league could have decided, “I'm gonna be a three-point specialist that’s better than anybody else.” Of course, not everybody is able to shoot that well, but somebody could have been like, “Okay, this is what we're gonna do from now.” So basically jumping into it with the passion for innovation is a way to step into the door and that makes a lot of sense.

100 percent. Honestly, I don't like to come off like “I hate all movies.” Like I thought, The Harder They Fall, I thought that that was a good movie. We were critical on it, but that, to me, is an example of us saying, “Okay, we normally make this, but we can actually be in this.” Like, there's movies that we love, that we don't even expect ourselves to make. It's almost like, we don't feel like we're on that level, when we really could be. And already we've been on that level. We’ve won the awards for it. I just think, like I said, bro, we get in that field and it's like, I gotta just do what they’re doing so that they think that I'm cool. Because for real, I think a lot of people are scared to be polarizing, and then get a certain– because look at Nate Parker.

Nate Parker did, What’s the name of that movie? The Nat Turner movie– Birth of a Nation. He did Birth of a Nation and he was very stout and having a real strong message behind that. You know what I mean? And they jerked him. I mean, he had history. Like, there was apparently allegations or whatever, that funneled his whole rollout. That movie was supposed to be one of the biggest of the year. He was supposed to get Oscar noms and all of that. But because of those allegations, he literally watched firsthand how, when we decide to be real passionate about our s**t, they're gonna do their homework to destroy you. That instills fear, not only in Nate, but in us too. It goes way back to the slave days where they'll beat the s**t out of somebody and we like, ‘Damn, I don't really want that to happen to me. I’m a good ‘ol boy.’ And it's like, we got that good old boy syndrome, where we want to create some s**t for everybody. Bro, this is the issue. We aren't creating for just us. Spike was creating for just us. John Singleton created for just us, you know what I mean? Higher Learning was for nobody but black people for real.

And then that even branched into the lineage of us doing good films that are still for us, like Fridays, for example. Like, that’s a well-written comedy vs. just making things that everyone is gonna watch. Things for us that can happen to have a bigger impact. It's definitely something we should look into.

And what's crazy is when you watch Faizon Love and the guy who plays Ezal, they both have interviews on DJ Vlad believe it or not. On that interview, they was both talking about how when they were saying the jokes for Friday, they were looking at each other, like, “Nobody's gonna think that this s**t is funny.” They were saying a lot of times on set, they were like, “Yo, we’re clowning like s**t. They're really not gonna take this serious.” And because they made that so fearlessly, look at what we got. Not having a filter about what we will make we just gonna do us. And if they like it, then they like it. If not, we've gotten some bad products in that way, but we need that risk to be taken for us to move up.

I was actually going to go into that about... let me see real quick. Okay so, you tend to be the slightly more unrestrained voice on the channel. Why do you feel like that's an important thing to have in the field you're going into with all of the possible backlash that may be received just from saying your opinions? Even if they aren't negative, just from having an opinion?

I think those are the best filmmakers. Look at Lena Waithe.We know you're not coming with nothing. We know you're not coming with nothing, and she's great people. But like, we know that you're going to do some s**t that they're going to want to see because you have a specific name. I wouldn't want to make all black movies like Nate Parker. I didn't like Nate Parker's plight after a while. Because I felt like all the movies you’re making now are like– you did the Nat Turner movie, now you're doing a movie about police brutality. I just want people to say, “Yo, he's a fearless filmmaker that wants to make what he wants to make.” Because my favorites did that. Quentin Tarantino, not black, but I watched him go through, not the same outlash or backlash that we went through. But he went through more of a backlash within the art, which means they didn't like that he was using gore. They didn't like that he was using blood and violence to tell his stories. And he said look, “I really don't give a damn because people are enjoying it, and regardless of what y’all think I should be doing, I'm gonna do my own thing.” So, a combination of seeing somebody be fearless like that. Seeing Spike be fearless with a combination of seeing where we're going, that's what makes my voice stand out the way it does. Because I'm starting to see where the game is shifting for real. It don't seem like when I talk, it doesn't make sense. It just seems like people are being more and more awakened to the fact that, “Yo, like, we haven't been paying attention to the quality that we're getting, we just will accept it.”

I’ve actually noticed, as far as on the pod, even just in the comments on Patreon, for example. In the comment section when you first started speaking out loud about certain things, of course, you've always been opinionated. But when you started pinpointing the issues that were coming up in black film… at first comments were like, “Oh, he's always tripping. He's talking too much about this.” And then like, four or five months later, people in the comments, a lot of that has died down because people are like, “Yo, that Coming to America 2 was kind of eh.” It was shaky, you know. So do you feel like more people are starting to get aware of where we need to be headed? Or do you feel like there's still a lot of hesitance in moving forward in the black film community?

I think what I'm doing is, and my goal, is to just open our eyes to what we live in and the plate that we get. Because we've always wanted a seat at the table, but we never really looked at what we was getting on our plate. We were just so happy to be sitting at this table with everybody that we don't look down when it's time to eat. And even when we do, we just happy to be there. Like all of our parents, when movies come out, like this Color Purple Musical that's coming out. Fantasia Barrino is going to be Sealy. They got Hailey Bailey in it. Great singers. But we don't really think about quality. We just think, “Oh, this is a movie and they’ve they got black people in it. So I’m going to go.”. And I think when we do see it, we be so happy that they did it. Like with Coming to America 2, you watch people say, “Oh, they got James Earl Jones back. They got Gladys Knight in this.” They got all of these people to do this. That be it. That's the only thing that it seems like we care about. And when you really look at the product that we getting, it's really garbage, bro, it's garbage. And when you're into film, and you watch other movies that are good, and then when you double back to the movies that we have. You know what I'm saying, like the big money behind it it’s like, “Yo, like the industry is cool with our movies being s**t.” It's gonna make some bulls***. Because let me tell you, the people, you're gonna compete with these people in that industry, you're still competing. So do you think that they want us to have a reputation for having good movies? Probably not. It will still find bull***. They will put bullshit on the front lines. And we need people like Tyler Perry, who has that voice to say, “Yo, this actually the biggest film that was in this film festival and I'm gonna get behind and and see if we can do it.” We need more young directors, bro, we don't have none I don’t think.

"Like with 'Coming to America 2,' you watch people say, “Oh, they got James Earl Jones back. They got Gladys Knight in this.” They got all of these people to do this. That be it. That's the only thing that it seems like we care about. And when you really look at the product that we getting, it's really garbage, bro, it's garbage. And when you're into film, and you watch other movies that are good, and then when you double back to the movies that we have."

I was actually just about to ask. Okay, so who are some of your favorites at the moment? Like it could be in television or film. When we speak on film, we’re just talking about obviously, television movies, whatever. So who are some of your favorite black creators in film right now? And what do you feel like they bring to the table?

I think we have a lot of talent out there. But as far as a favorite black director, I don't have one, bro. And that's to me that is– I would be lying if I say it's Spike. I don't want to see his new movies. I'd be lying if I said John– R.I.P, he's no longer with us. I love Ryan Coogler and what he's doing. I love people like, me and my brother love– what’s my man's name? Bradford Young. Ava DuVernay. Ava DuVernay, to me, is also a very important voice. I feel like what she has done, to me, Ava DuVernay has shown time and time again that she's about quality films. She's about black people. I do feel like when she got up big she had opportunities that she took advantage of. She did the Disney movie. I wouldn't expect her to make all black movies, but I think with her resume, if you look at what she's done, we need more like her. I feel like we got a lot of talent out in the acting world too. You're seeing people with no acting experiences just polarizing the screen. You’ve got dude from BMF. But we could go further than that. You got people like– who was somebody else that just came out on the scene and just popped with zero acting experience? I can't even think of it now. But my thing is, these days, I feel like messages and stories can be told with more than what we have always seen. I mean, when I first watched Roll Bounce, I didn't know Brandon T. Jackson. I didn't know most of them dudes on them skates, for real like that. It was just this young group of kids and they created who I eventually knew them as. I didn't know Esquire and I didn't know, I think his name was New York, from ATL when I saw ATL. We didn't know them.

Just about the quantity over quality thing in the industry currently. How we're being oversaturated with a lot of trauma film. We’re being oversaturated with a lot of retellings and repackaging of the same product. What do you feel are some good traits that can make black films new? 

I think I get what you’re saying. What is something we can see in movies that's different than– 

Yeah, and it doesn’t have to be specifically pulled from black films. It can be films you've seen that you think are good. What do you feel like we can incorporate more into our filming?

I think what we need to see more of is just more diverse stories. And I'm not talking about diverse skin tones. I mean, we have the same love stories when we have a love story. You know what I mean? The first movie that I would ever do, I always told myself that my main character would be just different. I feel like we got a bad habit of doing this. We'll do a love story. Dude is perfect. Sweeps girl off her feet. Soon as she started falling in love with bro, he's on his like, “Yo, I got a lot going on. I can’t really take it serious.” They fall off. It's the same bulls***. Like you can literally look at a trailer of these movies and say, “Alright, whatever.”

Image provided by Mallory Bros.

Like the Issa Rae and Lakeith Stanfield movie. I liked the movie, but I’m like, I’ve seen this movie before.

Basically seen it. And you know, what we so used to when we’ve gotten something that we enjoyed already, that's the reason why we'll be cool with getting it again. Because, “Oh, that was like Love and Basketball. Oh that was like, Mo Better Blues or something like that.” To me, we just need to be more daring. We need more people, and it's not like it just hasn't been done, just more. What Jordan Peele did and is doing, regardless of if we didn't like Get Out like that– I'm sorry, no, we liked Get Out. What was the other joint that he did? Us? We was kind of like, “Okay, I get it.” But my thing is, I appreciate somebody that's going to do that. “Hey, I'm a different filmmaker. I'm out here to do this. I'm out here to include black people, but not necessarily be to–” I'm scared for Jordan Peele, because it's like, alright, let's not take too much of the black trauma route, like you’ve got a great mind. Just put black people in it. Like, there's so many movies that they can point to. And when I say they, I mean everybody else, the Korean filmmaker, Japanese, everybody. They can point and say, “We’ve got these movies, these movies. We’ve got a Mission Impossible type movies. Matrix, all these type movies–

And we don't have such a wide variety. That's partially why like, you've spoken on the pod multiple times about how Lovecraft Country should be an example of what people can aim for. Like, it's a story that has black people in it. Of course, there is some black trauma because of when the story was told. But that's not the emphasis of the entirety of the show. It's just a mad creative story. And they centered black people into it.

Yep. And I feel like, even with shows like Lovecraft Country. What I love about it is it just not only shows the potential that we have, but like the difference that we can make. Because that type of show displays how we can use our history if we want to. And we can do it and be creative with it. We don't have to retell the same stories anymore. One of my favorite things that Quentin Tarantino ever did, one of my favorite filmmakers, was Django Unchained. Simply because instead of giving us Roots, instead of trying to say, “You know what, I'm gonna give my best rendition of some s**t that actually happened.” He went back and said, “You know what, what if they just had a brother that just killed everybody and got his wife out?” Bro, these are the types of movies that I love–

Right. If we're gonna do that, really do that.

Yes. I promise anybody. If I ever get blessed to make a movie one day, you would not be able to be like, “You know what? This is gonna be some regular s**t that we already seen.” Also, let me say this. We don't have any directors that can get our pop figures, our main hip-hop main figures, we don't have anybody that can bring them in on films the same way John did with Tupac. Tupac was supposed to be in Baby Boy, and if you listen to Jodi talk on Baby Boy, just really listened to him, it was written for Tupac. Specifically the scene where Rodney calls from jail and he was like, “Yo, don't be calling my phone and to my girl.” That one scene, you can just hear that he was writing for Pac. And I feel like we have people in this world with the chops. Like always said this. I want you to think of a good movie. What's a good movie that came out? Maybe just a dude and a girl. 

"We don't have any directors that can get our pop figures, our main hip-hop main figures, we don't have anybody that can bring them in on films the same way John did with Tupac. Tupac was supposed to be in 'Baby Boy,' and if you listen to Jodi talk on 'Baby Boy,' just really listened to him, it was written for Tupac."

Black film or just anything?

It could be black film, but my thing is this. Look at what we did with ATL. Look at it with Lottery Ticket and Roll Bounce. We were taking big hip-hop names and putting them in movies that fit their potential.

Yeah, like it's Roll Bounce fit his entire– my bad. Lottery Ticket fits his whole discography.

Yeah. But it didn’t even have to fit his discography, but it's like we could comfortably put Bow Wow in a role where he's a younger guy. He worked at Footlocker. It was just some chill s**t, but I think we could get people like Chris Brown who has been in This Christmas. Chris Brown should have been in somebody's big movie as the main guy. I will go watch a movie with Chris Brown and Drake. Did you see what they did in the “No Guidance” joint? That shows potential, bro. Drake has acting chops. Now I get it. He's a big, big star. He probably wouldn't want to do it. But I feel like we have so much potential that's untapped that we get sneak peeks of. The beginning of the “No Guidance” video to me, shows like “Yo, Drizzy and Breezy could do a whole movie if they wanted to.” And you think people wouldn’t go see that?

That actually pushes us further into the intersection between hip hop and film. That’s actually where you guys’ channel and podcast really stand, right in the center of both. So it seems as though breaking and dissecting both mediums down, have some similarities. Where do you feel like black music and black film really intersect? Where do you feel like they meet in the middle?

Man, it's like peanut butter and jelly. You don't have black films without black music. My favorite black films? Because of the music. Do the Right Thing. Most of Spike's movies, go and look at a movie like Belly or you go and look at a movie like– I love… This is my guilty confession, or whatever they say. Carmen: The Hip-Hopera. I loved it because of how it's our music in film. That movie, I can admit, like I said, it's like a booty call movie. Like I won’t show that joint. But to me, black film thrives with music. And I feel like if you look at the black films that you really might not have liked, the music probably had a lot to do with it. The same way the black films we love, it's the music. It's like, I think about when Ricky got shot on Boys in the Hood, that fucking high a**... That sound when Cuba Gooding Jr. is walking across the street, that music. I don't even know what instrument that is. That high pitch instrument that speaks to the whole scene. Without that, we don't have that. And I feel like when we use our music in our films, we always have an upper hand. Why do you think? Because we make the best music.

"You don't have black films without black music. My favorite black films? Because of the music. 'Do the Right Thing.' Most of Spike's movies, go and look at a movie like 'Belly.'"

I was just about to go into that. Okay, so when you were speaking of artists really displaying their potential for acting– I feel as though a lot of the music actually has to do with that too. We  were speaking about your reaction to Kanye’s “Gorgeous” right? So the storytelling that is interwoven into a lot of albums, do you feel like we should view that a lot more and realize what they can do in film as well?

I do. 100%. I think there are actual albums that could be made into movies. Can you imagine going to the movies and seeing Kendrick Lamar GOOD Kid, m.A.A.d City directed by Ryan Coogler, who is also from LA? Can you imagine that? Bro.

"I think there are actual albums that could be made into movies. Can you imagine going to the movies and seeing Kendrick Lamar 'GOOD Kid, m.A.A.d City' directed by Ryan Coogler, who is also from LA? Can you imagine that?"

Because Kendrick already has videos and his whole entire cinematic universe is based in acting. A lot of times artists voices’ and projection and what they express is acting as well as music. Kendrick does that a lot.

That's a fact. And my thing is, we've already seen success with hip-hop-driven movies. I don't get why that's not something that's oversaturated.

Image provided by Mallory Bros.

Well, what is the next step for you guys? Think big picture. I’m sure you already have concepts, ideas you want to do. What is the next big thing for The Mallory Bros.?

I think the next big thing for me and Terrell is to step into actual filmmaking. Like, I think it starts with a short. It starts with us being experimental and actually putting our foot out there. I always tell Terrell, like, my home address when I grew up was 10215. If you add them numbers up, it's 9, bro. Right? So that's my home address. So I told Terell like, we didn't go to film school for nothing. My favorite filmmakers didn't really make their movies until their 30s. You know why, bro? Because young filmmakers haven't really lived life yet. You're gonna make a whole bunch of high school, a whole bunch of s**t that's not really polarizing. I felt like, over these years, me and Terell picked up a lot. I feel like now, if we decided to step into the film world, we're not stepping in as some young guns. We will be stepping in as people who will only be green to the tools. Only green to what camera to use and what light should go here and stuff like that. But I'm not green to my intent. I'm not green on my ideas. And I've stepped into that role and knew I was.

Understood, no doubt. Lastly, do you feel you can speak to about the 9 a bit? Because a lot of people that will get this interview aren't entirely aware of what it means to you guys. So, if you could break down the 9 for us real quick.

For sure. I think the 9, it literally originated with almost like a mantra that we would say at the end of our video, just to get people to support. So the 9 has always essentially been about support. End the video and Terrell would say, “Like, comment, share, subscribe the whole nine,” meaning just show all the love you can. If you like, comment, share, subscribe, then you literally did the whole nine for us. So we just started saying “whole nine” at end of every video. And the first merch that we dropped said “whole nine.” Whole nine was essentially just about going for it all. Literally like living up to, almost like your biggest potential in a way. Like just go the Whole Nine.

For sure. For sure. Man, I really appreciate your time.

Yes sir. I'm appreciative, man. This is the first time that we kind of doing some stuff like this. And that was a big part of like, what we want to do to kind of get our name out there is take more opportunities like this. People have always wanted to just sit and chop it up, and we just for some reason never got to do it.

Glad we were able to get it done, bro.

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