MixedByAli launches a new label, listen to an exclusive unique premiere
Derek “MixedByAli” Ali, the mixing engineer behind classic albums by Kendrick Lamar, Nipsey Hussle, Mac Miller and SZA, has launched a new label, NoName Recordings. Its first signer is Baltimore artist Malik Moses, whose first single, “Show Me Something” (with Bas), is featured exclusively here.
Ali teamed up with longtime friend and business partner Dan Maynard for the new venture. Both are music veterans, having created EngineEars, a music technology platform that provides tools for under-represented sound engineers to help them grow their businesses. Last year, the duo acquired NoName Studios, which was housed in Death Row Records’ former recording facility, Can-Am Recorders. Ali recorded and mixed some of the most defining albums of the 2000s for Top Dawg Entertainment and others, earning him six Grammy nominations and two wins, including Best Rap Album for his work on Kendrick Lamar. To pimp a butterfly and Record of the Year for his mix of “This is America” by Childish Gambino.
The label was already in the works when Ali discovered Moses, 25, at the start of the pandemic. Ali and Twitch have teamed up to help artists keep making music amid the uncertainty of the lockdown, holding weekly competitions where musicians from around the world submitted songs. Twitch viewers then voted for their favorite live on the platform. The artist with the most votes received an all-expense paid trip to Los Angeles to record in the studio and have his record mixed by Ali.
Moses won over hundreds of record submissions. “The way he really managed to grab my attention with his selection of beats, the way his production was presented, the way his songwriting and the way he sounded, it reminded me of to work with Kendrick and to work with Thundercat and Terrace Martin, ”says Ali Rolling stone. “It gave me the same feeling instantly as soon as I heard the first four bars of his music, and that’s rare these days.”
The first single for the label – and Moses – stars Dreamville rapper Bas. “Show Me Something” was produced by Groove, and one of the first tracks they recorded when Moses arrived in LA is about relationships, ”Ali says of the fast-paced and moving single. “A lot of people are desensitized in a way, or want to keep these things private rather than putting emotions on the table. It kind of made me open up to him a little bit more just because he was vulnerable in those songs.
Ali says his mission with NoName and his other businesses is to give back to underrepresented communities that struggle to break through. “We just want our label to be this safe place where artists can create, artists can have this creative freedom,” he explains. “I don’t hear from a lot of sound engineers going into companies like this, so it’s a different perspective to bring to the industry, the perspective of someone who is in the trenches to understand how it works and what it takes to really be successful. “