MeLo-X: Be The God Of Your Destiny

Mustafa, better known as MeLo-X, hails from Brooklyn, New York “by way of Jamaica.”

An emcee, DJ, music producer and laptop musician, all we know of him so far is what he’s chosen to share with us through his music; mixtapes the likes of More Merch and Mustafa The GodKing: Rise of the Merch Album (his two most recent releases) as well as a multitude of remixes.

Although growing up listening to a lot of Hip Hop, the likes of Nas, Biggie Smalls and Tupac, his taste became more eclectic with the rise of MTV – “I started listening to Nirvana, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Oasis…”; evident in his music today. There was no particular moment through which his love for music grew; it was more the fact that he grew up surrounded by it.

He was “constantly around people who were throwing barbecues and parties and back yard events,” where music evidently played a big role. This became all the more so once his mother got him a little tape recorder and a piano; “I think that kind of set and placed me into wanting to be a musician.”

These days Mr. X mainly listens to himself, although Little Dragon, Machine Drum and Jesse Boykins III are also name-dropped to appear on his iPod (if he had one, which he doesn’t). Explaining that he works on projects for years before he releases them to the public, (he’s been working on his upcoming debut album since 2007), he illustrates that he’s always listening to his own music, “revising and writing and just producing more and more stuff.”

Although MeLo delves into art, photography and music, he believes his main form of expression to be through writing, “that was the first thing that kind of led me to everything else, creatively” he explains. As often occurs with creative minds, writing and producing, for MeLo, enables him to learn about himself and how he feels about situations he’s been through.

“A lot of things I probably wouldn’t talk about to people, when I hear certain music or create certain songs it might come out in the music,” he says. To this respect, there isn’t really anything he deems too personal to reveal. “I mean of course I’m not going to talk about me brushing my teeth, what kind of toothpaste I use,” he laughs, “but I try not to limit myself in what I say or put out… If it’s true or real to me then I’ll put it out – and whatever the consequences of that is, I’ll deal with.”

Describing his sound as “experimental free world music” he claims there’s no real genre to it, just whatever he feels like doing. Alongside producing however, the multi-talented artist is also an emcee, a DJ and a laptop musician. Describing the latter, for those who don’t know, he characterizes it as creating music in a live setting. “It’s more like creating a whole new version of your sound, of your song, or just creating on the spot… in front of a live audience.”

This talent, tied to a fascination with computers, began at a young age. “When I was in high school I think I was voted… (I’m sure there’s a cooler word for this) but I was basically like the computer nerd,” he laughs. “So if I wasn’t doing music I’d probably be a computer programmer.”

Currently working on an EP entitled Zulu Guru with Jesse Boykins (set to drop sometime in September) the multi-faceted emcee works mainly based on feeling. “I never do anything that’s forced or any idea that’ll make sense… like, ‘oh I should do this because it will get this much hits’ or whatever. Its really just whatever gets me.” This approach, as well as being a breath of fresh air in an industry so often ruled by personal interest and bank accounts, also ensures that the music that comes out of the MeLo-X camp is all the more honest and real as a result.

This approach may, however, be more of a recent transgression. In discussing the evolution of his music Melo reveals that when he was younger he focused more on what he thought he should be doing, “I would be rapping about things that I had no idea about but that was just the thing to rap about.”

He continues to explain that now that he’s travelled the world and gotten to know himself and his culture better, he’s more comfortable and knowledgeable in what sounds he wants to use and what direction to take. This is evident in the extent to which MeLo-X is supremely hands on with his music. “I mix, master, produce, record everything that I do… and I usually do all the art work and everything. I’m a mad scientist.”

Keeping it real personal he explains how he has to really know someone before he works with them “for at least two years,” he stresses. Evidently supremely proud of his work he explains that this is because he wants to know exactly what his name is going to be attached to. “I wanna know where they’re gonna go, or at least at the moment know what they’re trying to do and be down to support them…

“If I support you, I support you 100% so I wanna make sure I have that criteria set before I work with anybody.”

Often remixing entire albums the likes of Maxwell’s Grammy Award winning BLACKsummers’night; it emerges he takes the same approach to remixes as he does collaborations. When asked what inspires him to remix a song MeLo responds that it has to give him chills. “Whatever inspires me or makes me listen to it like a million times. I might start hearing my own version of it in my head so then I remix it.” Keen to work with Maxwell again, he reveals that he’s supposed to be doing some official remixes for his next album.

Perhaps in terms of truly understanding MeLo-X, it’s important to look into the overall message he is trying to portray. And that, in itself reveals a lot. “Just be free. Be free to yourself, understand your faults and understand your greatness that’s within you. Be the god of your destiny.”

This positive message is not only depicted in his music, but also in his goals, and aims for life. “I want to be a philanthropist in the future,” he explains. Wishing to focus primarily on children he explains that with the technology we have access to these days, spreading the word on something positive is so much easier to do.

“The world that kids are living in today is endless, they can go online and find any information about anything they want… I feel the more kids who have that outlet; it will build a better mind. You can’t really be racist if the music you listen to doesn’t promote that. Or if you’re interested in something you go research it and find out it’s from this culture or this culture… you just feel more connected, you know?”

An avid traveller, MeLo cites his favourite places “as of right now” to be Berlin, France and Scotland, although, of course, Jamaica comes as number one. And having performed at London’s YoYo just a few months ago, he’s keen to return sometime this year for a string of performances. We’ll definitely be there, will you?

MeLo-X online: | @MeLoXTRA | Facebook | tumblr | YouTube

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