MeLo-X-Break From Flatbush

PARTYNEXTDOOR’s self-titled album/mixtape is easily one of the most underrated projects this year, and whilst Break From Toronto was recently given the video treatment, it’s probably fair to say that amongst those who did enjoy PND’s project, that track gets a little underappreciated as it’s rather short. Nonetheless, MeLo takes it for a spin here, and gives some extra shine to what is an excellent production.

No surprise with the formula: the atmospheric yet bassy sound of the original is completely intact, and MeLo just chooses to kick some rhymes over the top, throwing forth some fairly solid work that works well with the slow pace of the production. Whilst it’s missing that mix of both rapping and singing that PND offers, MeLo’s raps are generally clever and he switches through a handful of flows to offer a little variety. Nothing complicated, but a good remix and nice appreciation for an overlooked gem. MeLo’s GOD: Pièce de Résistance is available now.

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MeLo-X-GOD: Pièce de Résistance (Full Album Stream)

After a few short years of releasing mixtapes, EP’s, instrumental albums, collaborations, and traveling around the world, MeLo has finally released an official solo LP for sale. This year has been filled with amazing visuals and a EP series leading up to November 5th. Watch the shift occur.

So, there were several big album releases this week, but in truth, I’ll probably be giving this one priority over most. MeLo’s work over the last 18 months has been representative of a man at the top of his craft, having not only matured as a producer, but also growing as a rapper. Throw his enjoyable pack of videos into that, and you’ve got an artist who has developed every aspect of his game, and that appears to culminate with this release.

The 12 track LP features plenty of new material alongside choice cuts from the preceding three EPs released this year (LoFi, HiFi and WiFi), and features previous collaborators Jesse Boykins III and Cheri Coke, amongst others. Given his excellent work with both in the past, it’s fair to expect big things from those tracks, whilst I’m sure the rest will be thoroughly enjoyable too. Very excited about this one- you can stream it in the accompanying widget below, and be sure to follow that up with a purchase.

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MeLo-x-GOD:WiFi EP

For the final chapter of MeLo-X’s GOD EP series, we find the artist connecting the global dots he has acquired throughout his travels around the world. From enlisting producers from South Africa like B EZE, and joining creative seductive forces with Lary Poppins from Germany, to the small vocal dialogues throughout the EP in French, Spanish and more, MeLo-X paints a vivid picture of an artist becoming a globally recognized contributor to music and art.

Wasting no time MeLo will be readying his official album GOD: Pièce de Résistance as a culmination of all the EP’s with exclusive new material.

MeLo’s had a fantastic year with this GOD series, and he finishes the trilogy with yet another free EP. I’ve somehow missed the singles that have landed before today’s release, though the eclectic features listed above along with an appearance from Sango suggests we’re in for a diverse, varied EP that should offer yet another string to MeLo’s bow. He’s definitely turned some heads this year, and hopefully he closes the series with the same level of quality he’s previously delivered, ahead of that full album release soon. Stream and download for free below.


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MeLo-x-Handle It (Video)

Remixing archetypal visual concepts, we journey with sonic creator, MeLo-X, through space and time. Paying homage to Sci-Fis and classics by Jean-Luc Godard, Handle It combines the vernacular of hip hop and La Nouvelle Vague to take the artist’s vision to a new form of expression.

You hear a song like this, and you rightly expect a smooth, sleazy video to accompany the sexuality oozing out of it. However, this is MeLo-X; a man determined to prove his worth as an all-round artist, and hence that’s exactly what you don’t get.

The video is hugely minimal, contrasting with the lavish production in a monochromatic, hypnotising environment. As the character initially struggles within her apparent entrapment, MeLo’s comparative serenity contrasts that excellently, before his own level of activity rises to include falling through the blank space. The clip progresses to an interaction between the two, both seemingly accepting of their situations and bringing complete calm to the clip, before the ‘curtain is pulled away’ and MeLo is alone once more. It can be taken as the struggle of MeLo to court someone, the suffocation his significant other feels with him, or it’s more insular and about MeLo’s own repressed memories of a loved one and the internal struggle therein. Pick one, and see what works-either way, it’s a smooth, easy-to-watch video that certainly isn’t what you’d expect from the audio. Available on the free God: LoFi EP.

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MeLo-X-God: HiFi (EP)

After a successful release of the GOD: LoFi EP, MeLo-X releases the second installment of his three part EP series, GOD: HiFi. GOD: HiFi sets the bar higher and represents an indie artist’s rise to fame- first, you’re LoFi (Underground), then you reach your high point (HiFi), and next up is GOD: WiFi, which represents an artist finally becoming internationally known and respected. Stay tuned – It’s The God, God.

I’m a massive fan of MeLo as an all-round artist, and getting so much new material from him this year (click here for a refresher course) has most certainly been to the benefit of my ear canals. Whether it’s video or audio, MeLo’s really stepped from behind the boards to demonstrate his gift as a solo act, without compromising the quality and diversity of his production work. This EP comes in a little longer than the last, a 9-track offering which features 3 of his most recent audio releases and only 2 features from artists I’m not quite familiar with. It’ll be interesting to hear how MeLo works in these extended circumstances, especially with a couple of guest producers on board to mix things up a little, and you can stream the EP below, and also grab it for free down there too.

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MeLo-X-The Truth

MeLo-X expresses social commentary on recent incidents that have occurred in East Flatbush Brooklyn and speaks about Police brutality and the direct effect it has on the youth and families in our communities. MeLo-X cleverly samples Elliott Wilson’s “The Truth”, which is associated with building a community of conversation, and idea sharing about Hip-Hop’s highs & lows but flips it to talk about the truth of what goes on in Black & Latino communities across the United States.

Whilst he’s undoubtedly exceptional behind the board, MeLo’s recent work has really spotlighted his ability in front of the mic, and though he’s been keen to demonstrate versatility in both his raps and beats, it’s refreshing to hear him simplify everything here to deliver a socially-conscious piece. The production is gentle enough to ride along unobtrusively in the background, with the soft melodies and easygoing percussion being extremely conducive to the reflective lyricism provided, and generally exuding a rather sombre, elegaic quality. MeLo’s vocals are similar, interchanging between speedy, passionate raps and delicate singing, though on occasion the quickfire rapping will require a rewind to fully catch the lyrics. Nonetheless, a good slice of hip-hop with a solid message behind it.

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MeLo-X-Mojitos and Little Dragon

From the stoops of East Flatbush to beach fronts world wide, MeLo-X puts us all in the right frame of mind for that summer time weather with his latest single. This is the first release from MeLo’s forth coming EP “GOD:HiFi” which is a follow up to his last EP “GOD: LoFi”. The new EP is scheduled to drop in June.

MeLo has been absolutely relentless in the last 2 months, churning out singles, videos and an EP, and there’s no sign of slowing down. It’s certainly not a bad thing, as not only is his work unerringly consistent, but there’s so much variety in his craft that it’s difficult to get bored of his output, and hence there’ll be no complaints here. MeLo moves slightly away from the slower, R&B-influenced style of his previous two releases and throws out a production with a strong electronic influence, with crisp melodies flowing above sharp percussion for a piercing, slightly experimental beat, with hints of Flying Lotus’ style embedded in here. His raps are relatively high-paced, with his speed and intensity matching that of the frenetic electro melody, whilst the comparatively gentle hook provides a nice cool-down and contrast from those direct, punchy verses. another good release, and I’m looking forward to getting that full EP next month.

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MeLo-X-Girls Love Rihanna

Drake says one thing, MeLo says another. They’re both right, but with markedly different executions.

Sampling parts of the above Drake and James Fauntleroy track, MeLo takes those sections and weaves them into a unique, signficantly more lively version of his own. One aspect MeLo grabs is James’ work on the backing vocals; they go slightly underappreciated in terms of the value they bring to the original, but for the first half of this, they really blossom and give the track a little flash of elegance. In that opening half, MeLo also throws in some lively synths, particularly when switching in a sample of Rihanna’s Diamonds hook, taking the track toward a dance-pop direction befitting the sample and the song’s featured subject (of course, mirroring the R&B style of Drake’s Say My Name sampling version), one which expands into a dominating feature toward the final third. Those soft backing vocals are seemingly stripped away, and in comes a thick, bassy synth to add intensity and drive, without overly compromising the feel of the track. Truthfully, the track survives with or without that addition, but it does make for a logical progression in terms of the way the track evolves over its 3 minute span. A good listen, and worth a go.

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MeLo-X-Sweet Bitch (Video)

In the first official visual from MeLo-X’s GOD: LoFi EP, he brings us to East Flatbush, Brooklyn for a traditional Caribbean meal while enjoying his favorite wine “Sweet Bitch”. Looking as though she stepped off the red carpet, a femme fatale stumbles into the restaurant where MeLo-X sits sipping his wine and thinking about the future.

In the last 2-4 months, MeLo is one of few acts keeping me interested in hip-hop. That’s not because he’s a complicated wordsmith, but because his unique method of blending in touches of R&B, soul and more adds a depth that’s keeping his work away from the genre’s general malaise. The GOD:LoFi EP is a great example of what he’s capable of, with smooth sounds grounded in hip-hop sensibilities that give his work plenty of replayability. This track is a prime cut from that mould, with jazzy yet soulful melodies slowly marinating over sharp percussion, whilst MeLo’s speedy flow and semi-passionate delivery coolly contrast that backdrop for an engaging piece.

The clip allows MeLo to step out from behind the boards and enjoy some camera time, which he’s allowed to maximise courtesy of regular, everyday surroundings not deflecting attention away from him. That environment gives the chance encounter with the leading lady much more believability too, and as fantastical as the meeting may seem, it feels rooted in reality thanks to the ambient settings. A good video for an enjoyable audio, grab MeLo’s free EP here.

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MeLo-X-God: LoFi (EP)

After a month of audio releases and visuals, MeLo-X unveils his latest piece of work the “GOD: LoFi” EP – It’s The God, God.

His offerings from this project have been thoroughly excellent so far, and MeLo kindly comes through with the full free EP, a 5-track album in total. As one of the few genuinely multi-talented and productive acts in hip-hop (and beyond, of course), this release should be yet another to file in his growing back catalogue as a step toward more widespread recognition, and even if it isn’t, the rest of us know the music won’t disappoint. If the two previous releases are anything to go by, we’re in for one of the year’s highlight EPs, and you can stream and download the whole thing right here.

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MeLo-X-Handle It

Originally a remix of Gotye’s “Somebody I used to know” ft. kimbra produced by m-phazes, MeLo decides to take this track and completely transform it into cosmic private dancer music. Handle It tells the story of an encounter with a women who moves like she’s from another planet.

This guy can do no wrong. He’s been releasing music very consistently in recent weeks, and not only is the supply steady but the quality is thoroughly excellent too. A SoundCloud commenter may have summed this track up better than I can: indulgent. The production combines equal levels of atmosphere, smooth soul, electronica with a dash of sleaze for a lavish, near-ethereal soundscape that’s most definitely fit for use in the context described above. From those thumping bass hits through to the spaced-out synths, it’s a beat that’s right from the top drawer, and that’s supplemented by mellow vocals in the hook and solid storytelling raps from MeLo; the highlight of those is definitely his speedy flow, with it operating as a good contrast to the slow, winding backdrop. Really enjoyable work all-round, and I’ll give this plenty of replays in the coming weeks.

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MeLo-X-God Magic

melo x
One of the best attributes about MeLo-X’s writing is his ability to be honest. With that being said, this is exactly what you get from his first single “GOD MAGIC”, off his forth coming EP “GOD:LoFi”. MeLo genuinely speaks about paying dues and looking within himself (It’s the God,God) to control his destiny. This quality of music usually stands the test of time.

One the most versatile acts in the hip-hop game comes through with brand new solo music, with this being an easygoing jam that’ll slide right into many rap playlists. The production’s admirably simple (particularly for a man with an experimental nature), utilising crisp percussion, glum, atmospheric synths and a few small touches here and there for a laidback beat that’s conducive to delivering reflective raps. MeLo doesn’t disappoint either, with plenty of internal monologue mixed with storytelling and outwardly philosophical work that prevents the introspection becoming too overbearing or repetitive, capping off a strong all-rounder with a lot of replay value.

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Cheri Coke and MeLo-X (X/COKE)-The Garden of Eden (Maths Time Joy Remix)

Another of the superb tracks from the X/Coke EP gets a rework, this time the incredibly laidback The Garden of Eden, a personal favorite of mine from the original EP.

The additions here combine to add a little more urgency to the track, doing so in a freeform manner that infuses the vocals with a touch of energy, and hence moves them away from their mellow origins. The range of samples, instruments and effects used here is far too numerous to list, with influences from island music to deep electro, and it ends up fragmenting the track into 5 or 6 distinct sections; some won’t like that, but given the consistency of tone in the vocals, it works well enough to showcase the adapatability and versatility of that vocal performance. The level of activity will be too much for some, but for me its a grower that packs plenty in.

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Cheri Coke and MeLo-X (X/COKE)-The Interlude (Sango Refix)

When recieving this a day or two ago, it occurred to me that the original X/COKE EP was released over 7 months ago. Not a big deal for many, but given it’s not even come close to leaving my regular playlists in that time, it was a surprise to find it was so far back.

They recently announced the X/COKE Remix EP is due this month, and normally, I’d throw the ‘it’s about time for a refresh’ line in here. However, as the original works still sound so fresh, that’s not applicable and instead the EP should be a nice accompaniment rather than a replacement. They’ve apparently included some ‘forward thinking’ producers on it and grabbing Sango is a great start in that respect, Sango being the man behind some excellent Weeknd remixes last year. Here he adds even more atmosphere to the original’s already-spaced out production by slowing it right down, stripping out the existing percussion for something more minimal, and including both soft, high synths and those of a deeper, bassier nature. A good take on what was already a superb chillout soul effort, and I’m looking forward to hearing what else that EP holds.

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13 for '13

2013 v3(2)

Year after year, we change the format of the end-of-year OTU round-up (routine is boring), and this year I’ve opted for a forward-looking feature rather than reflecting on what was a rather disappointing year in the music world. Many are desperate to have their tastes for 2013 dictated to them by either the BBC Sound of 2013 or MTV’s Brand New for 2013, but the interesting thing is we’ve been championing some of the acts they’ve thrust upon you this past week for quite some time. The rest of them we probably don’t care about.

So, here’s a chance to get clued up with some genuine upcoming talents that I expect to release more fantastic material this year and break through that next barrier of success, whether it’s into mainstream consciousness or slightly wider underground appreciation. Note that I didn’t say commercial success. Whilst some will certainly find that and it is a facet of their potential growth this year, it’s far from essential, and each selection here deserves to be so on quality and potential more than anything. Regular reader or not, you’ll have heard of several of these selections before and be assured those acts are here on merit, not because a label asked us to do so; something the aforementioned 2013 ‘predictions’ from the mainstream outlets can’t honestly claim. Let’s go. → Continue Reading

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MeLo-X-Inside the Mind of MeLo 3 (Mixtape)

Compiled of Remixes MeLo has done through out the year mixed with original tracks, exclusives, and unreleased material this is one of the most extensive collections in the series so far.

This should be an excellent listen. With original tracks such as the superb Live from East Flatbush alongside his exceptional work with Cheri Coke and remixes of songs by Yuna, Azealia Banks, Rihanna and Marvin Gaye, there’s a ton of diversity to enjoy. Add that to the consistency of quality that MeLo brings to the table, and there’s no doubt this will be an enjoyable 14-track journey. Free grab below.

MeLo-X-Inside the Mind of MeLo 3

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MeLo-X-Live From East Flatbush ft. Joey Bada$$ & CJ Fly

In recent weeks, I’ve realised that MeLo’s actually far more than a producer, and is an accomplished rapper in his own right. Little late to come to that realisation, but there we are. This is another example of his multi-talented capabilities, with his work as both a beatsmith and an MC being on show here.

The track genuinely does sound like a live, one-take performance, and that adds a fantastically organic quality to the entire song. The production is minimal, mostly a metronomous percussion and the odd hit of deep, soft synths, and that stripped-back style only serves to enhance the raw vibe of the track. MeLo opens with a solid verse, delivering a couple of likeable lines in a confident, consistent delivery that makes for easy listening, whilst Joey follows with another good all-round verse to add to his growing catalogue of mature, age-defying performances. CJ closes with a slightly different approach, opting for a single word repetition style that offers a nice touch of variety on the track, and he smartly winds that ‘gimmick’ back as the verse continues on. Chilled and easy listening, this is a mellow slice of hip-hop to satisfy any music head.

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Jesse Boykins III and MeLo-X-Black Orpheus (Video)

Considering I’m a big fan of both acts, you’d be well within your rights to assume I’d checked out their collaborative Zulu Guru album. Yet, I haven’t and not only that, I had to skip their album release show recently. Mum, if you disown me, I’ll understand.

Jesse’s soulful yet ever-experimental style seems a natural fit for MeLo, a producer who blends and transcends genres seemingly with ease. It’s that category-bending style that comes to the fore here, mostly provided by an offbeat production that’ll throw you initially, before gathering more solidity as the track progresses-the clunky percussion is first joined by Jesse’s whispery voice, before keys, synths and plenty more are added to the mix. It never loses that unusual aspect, but the latter additions add just enough regularity to keep this one listenable, even if it does become quite hard work after the full 4 minutes or so. Surprising to hear Melo rap on this one too, and he does a good job of keeping his delivery consistent over a production that would frighten most rappers. One that’s worth a couple of plays, but with the abilities these two possess you’d be forgiven for expecting something as eclectic but slightly more polished.

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Cheri Coke and MeLo-X-X/COKE EP

Cheri Coke and MeLo-X presents the brain child of late night sessions at the Bermuda home studio in Brooklyn. The X/COKE EP is an exploration into a new plateau for Cheri and MeLo respectively. From bass knocking rhythms to spaced out echos that travel around the proverbial sound scape this project is a natural high for all who listen.

Big fan of MeLo-X’s production style, and pairing him with a smooth vocalist in Cheri Coke is a move destined to really bring the best out of those beats. I’ve heard one track from this already, Free, and thoroughly enjoyed the laidback vibes of the song, making for the perfect relaxation music on a nice summer day. Free project too, so you’ve really got nothing to lose; hit that link below for the stream and download.

Cheri Coke and MeLo-X-X/COKE EP

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R&B Fridays: Episode 135

I wanted to open this week’s episode with a breakdown of why the number 135 was special. Turns out, nothing of any significance is tied to the number, so that’s that.

A few decent posts to recap on from the week gone by, with Ed Sheeran and Yelawolf teaming up for the first track from their upcoming EP, John Legend hooking up with Ludacris for a solid R&B jam, the excellent Elle Varner dropping off a brand new mixtape for her fans to enjoy, and finally a fantastic chillout instrumental from MeLo-X.

All caught up? Good. Feel free to resume your browsing by clicking below for this week’s instalment. There’s also a surprise new feature included in this episode that we’ve been requested to add for some time. Mysterious.
→ Continue Reading

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MeLo-X-The Dark Joker

MeLo-X is a name you often come across (mostly in association with Mickey Factz and Jesse Boykins III), and you probably have a few of his songs and/or remixes but have never really quite known who he is. I certainly fall into that category, so hopefully this track from his upcoming Fewture album will help us all get more familiar.

I’ll not lie here: it was the title that made me initially give this a go, but the quality of the track is what’s kept me repeating it over the last 24 hours. Genre-wise, it’s mostly grounded in a chillout electronic style, with light lashings of other genres mixed in, and Melo proves himself as an excellent producer of progressive, ambient instrumental music full of intrigue and atmosphere at every turn. Opening with soft electronic samples and airy synths, the track slowly reveals itself with more lively elements thrown into the mix, with the final third of the track having a real epic film score feel about it, and credit goes to mellow for producing a track with such a wonderful depth of layers. An unmissable slice of instrumental excellence.

MeLo-X-The Dark Joker

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Remember Outkast/Andre 3000's Prototype?

You should do, because it was the standout song from The Love Below. It really shot to prominence (if I recall correctly) when Andre performed it on an MTV awards show, and upon that performance the legendary track built its reputation. It’s upon a new version that it may cement its legacy.

I wanted to leave this for R&B Friday, but caved in. Understandably, Jesse Boykins III may not be a familiar name: my only exposure to him was through Mickey Factz mixtapes, as they’ve collaborated several times to good effect. He takes a swing at this track, and does a monumentally good job in not only retaining the beauty of the original, but stamping his own indelible mark on the song. Vocally, the work is very different to the original, being a lot more relaxed and rooted in vintage soul, whilst the production follows suit and drops the sharp guitar notes of the original in favour of a lighter, vocal-boosting sound.

They’re differences that allow this version to stand alongside the original without being hindered by direct comparisons due to the nature of the changes: it’s not about which ones better, but being able to enjoy them both for their respective merits. For me this absolutely consitutes unmissable music, and makes you truly appreciate how there are very few things better than a perfect soul track.
Jesse Boykins III-Prototype ft. MeLo-X and Trae Harris

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