Artist Spotlight is a series whose basic aim is to highlight promising and interesting up-and-coming recording artists. From relative newcomers to underrated veterans, from mainstream to underground, we simply want to shine a light on talented musicians that are making great music.
The 21-year-old, Afro-Latina singer/rapper Melii grew up on hip-hop acts like Lil’ Kim, Nicki Minaj, and J. Cole, as well as Dominican artists such as Miriam Cruz and Juan Luis Guerra. These sources of inspiration have undoubtedly made their way into her music, which fuses elements of R&B, latin pop/reggaeton, and contemporary hip-hop.
In 2017, Melii first made waves with her remix of Cardi B’s smash hit single “Bodak Yellow”, which showcased her penchant for bilingual singing and rapping that would later become her personal hallmark. A few months later, she dropped the banger “Icey” and secured a co-sign from Rihanna, who shared the song on her Instagram stories.
Late last year, Melii landed a spot as a feature on Meek Mill’s song “WTS” off his album Championships, and subsequently went on tour with him. She later signed with Tory Lanez’s One Umbrella label imprint and released her long-awaited debut album, phAses.
Why You Should Know Her:
Uniqueness, versatility, microphone presence, and swagger. Each is a hallmark of some of hip-hop’s best artists. Each is also an attribute Melii possesses. That sounds like a reason to keep an eye on this exciting young rapper from Harlem.
Sing-rapping, especially in 2019, may not necessarily feel like a special feature in and of itself, especially since it feels like a majority of contemporary hip-hop artists employ singing is some kind of way. But where Melii differentiates herself is by her bilingual versatility and her vocal potential. When she really wants to, she can SING, as is evidenced by the track “Mister” off her debut album phAses, in which her sustained high notes and background vocals make for a gorgeous, borderline-heavenly experience. And when you couple her vocal capability with her ability to effortlessly transition between singing and rapping in both English and Spanish — then you have yourself an exciting musical prospect with a killer combination.
If there are ever complaints about flaccidity or dullness amongst new-school rappers, Melii certainly isn’t amongst them. Her versatility as an artist is as clear as day, with her ability to capture moods across the spectrum — from melodic R&B/latin pop ballads to high-octane bangers. Her energy and swagger are absolutely contagious, and her confidence seems to resonate out of every one of her rhymes.
I don’t know about you, but I am absolutely PUMPED about this wave of women that have emerged in hip-hop recently, and Melii is one of the most promising of the entire bunch.
3 Songs to Get You Started:
“Bodak Yellow (Remix)”
The song that first her on the map; Melii’s remix to “Bodak Yellow” caught a lot of people’s attention and showed the world her potential as both a singer and a rapper.
With the song “Icey,” Melii saw her profile increase as she garnered co-signs from artists like Rihanna; the superstar pop artist’s co-sign manifested itself recently in the form of an endorsement with Fenty Beauty. Perhaps there’s a Melii-Rihanna collab in the works…
One of the singles from her debut album phAses, “See Me” is a dreamy, wavy track that help her garner further attention and co-signs from people like Joe Budden and Meek Mill, the latter of whom took Melii on tour this past winter.