MBE Nov. 9: Radio Race finalist Shaka Mali races to KCRW HQ to be our latest guest DJ

Anthony, Shaka Mali and Novena hang out at KCRW. Photo by Arielle Torrez.

Mid-week, Wednesday heat coming atcha, straight from the crates!  All of the varied stories, and sounds you’ve come to expect from MBE are cranked to 11 as we  welcome audio producer Shaka Mali to the chat. Tune in for deep reflections on Mali’s experiences with KCRW’s Radio Race (the 2022 edition is right around the corner). Hear about his life before and after winning the race’s “LA Award — best radio story with a strong sense of Los Angeles” in 2020. Come for Mali’s pro-tips for this year’s contestants, stay for his curatorial prowess to fill the airwaves with Afrobeat, Nigerian rock, and (that extra special ingredient) love.

Mali also reflects on his upbringing in “Dogtown” — a past nickname for the now-gentrified Venice Beach — a community whose change he’s steadily observed over the years. And the observations extend far beyond Mali’s childhood stomping ground. Before transitioning to his current life as an audio-documentarian, Mali was a rideshare driver who collected stories and inspiration from those he drove. He’d introduce riders to his milieu with the phrase, “Welcome to Shaka’s Lyft Lounge” (Side Note: New podcast??) His loving fascination with people combined with his sturdy Jamaican roots have forged Shaka Mali into the artist and storyteller he is today. When you’re inevitably craving more after his MBE hang, acquaint yourself with, “Black in America,” the Radio Race piece that put him on our radar. And absolutely carve out the space in your schedule to fully absorb his immersive exploration of LA’s Little Ethiopia.

Interested in entering this year’s Radio Race? More information, including requirements and deadlines, can be found here. We wanna hear your story!

Plus, we remember the larger than life legacy of Brazilian singer, and leading figure of the tropicalia movement, Gal Costa, whose very recent passing offers a real-time shock to the senses mid-show. Ease the pain with a few of her most classic cuts including “Baby,” and “Meu nome é Gal.” 





Anna Chang