Artist – Melanie Fiona
Rating – $$$
Melanie is a soulful singer that has not only opened for ‘the’ Kanye West on select tour dates, but she’s also aligned herself with The Legendary Roots Crew. Despite these two “heavy co-signs”, she still is going through label hell and for some reason she can’t get any love over here in the States. Mel’s album “The Bridge” has already been released in Europe to rave reviews, but for some reason she can’t seem to get a firm release date in the U.S. After hearing her mixtape, you’ll understand why this is such a #FAIL. The #FAIL is not on Melanie’s part, but on that of her wack-ass label. In today’s climate, artists are starting to realize that they can no longer depend on a label to generate their buzz. Enter ?uestlove. ?uest didn’t need a label to tell him who’s dope and who’s not…so he gathered his friends, The Illadelphonics (?uestlove on the drums, Adam Blackstone on bass, Randy Bowland on guitar, & Eric Wortham on keys) to support Melanie as they remixed a few cuts in a recent studio session so that they could give the world an appetizer of all that she has to offer.
Now don’t get too hype, because this isn’t exactly a mixtape by today’s standards. Of the 12 total tracks, only 7 are actual songs. The other 5 tracks feature ?uest and Melanie discussing Mel’s background and her inspirations. If this is your first time getting involved with Mel, then these 5 tracks are for you. If you’re like me and you’ve been familiar with Melanie for a while, the tracks take up disc space and are only good for providing gaps so that you can yell at your co-workers for bothering you during your jam sessions. Regardless, the music is the music and these 7 joints are quite good! If you’re longing for auto-tuning and lyrics that are so obviously written by prepubescent teenagers longing for their first action, don’t even download this cause it might be over your head a bit. If not, dig in and enjoy the 7 tracks and get ready for Melanie’s full-length LP whenever a release dates comes our way…or whenever I write a review of the import LP.
Top 4 songs to check for:
Ay Yo (An up-tempo track with enough snare-love to make you want to get to the dance floor and showcase your meanest 2-step)
Heartless (Mel covers Kanye’s single from “808’s & Heartbreak” & shows him how to sing w/o autotune)
Cupid (A Sam Cooke cover…she does it justice and not many can say that, plus I love Sam Cooke…Southside Chi stand up!)
Give It To Me (The Illadelphonics pour some more funk on an already funky original from Mel)
Despite its brevity, I do encourage you to get your hands on this prelude to Melanie Fiona’s album. Just in case the U.S. never gets a release date, you can always say that you heard her official coming-out party backed by ?uestlove’s snazzy drumming and the Illadelphonic’s sonic treatment. Not too many other R&B artists can claim the same ties to such royalty. Get involved…