Mike Melinoe is an artist of play and of surprise. Once he returned from SXSW, Melinoe came home hungry and ready to work. Now, he arrives home with his latest single “Cyclone”.
His Noisey debut single “Phase Face Moonlight” was touted as “hotter than fire itself” for his audacious posturing and avant-garde imagery. Reminiscent of MF DOOM for his abstract lyricism, specifically his jagged and slanted rhyme, Melinoe weaves a complicated tapestry of music which often can take multiple listens before one can fully ingest. If Melinoe isn’t interested in making lyrics which readily allow his fanbase access to his interior landscape, who his work in service of apart from himself? In that same interview with Noisey’s Alex Dorman, Mike Melinoe admitted he’s not interested either way:
“Mike is more concerned with accurate expression than with accessibility. When I asked him if he feared that his work was too abstract for a mainstream audience, he replied, “I don’t really give a damn.”
His new single “Cyclones” is a complete departure for Melinoe’s (s0 far) typical rapping style, a style which seems to fumble words together into a frantic, energetic churn, not all that different from bluesman of the 1960’s. In “Cyclones”, the Detroit Rapper slows his cadence down a bit so we can hear him clear as day. The hook repeats the same bars: “Most of y’all niggas be trippin’ / I’ma find a way to get the riches / Pull up in the Bentley with the bitches / Then woke with a headache from the liquor” until we reach the [0:42] mark where the verse begins but also his voice bears a resemblance to Isaiah Rashad on his track “Park”
The song continues on this stasis until we reach the moment where he says, “I had to slow-stroke her to Aaliyah”. The beat abruptly pulls up the turn-table needle and voices can be heard on the track asking why did he change the hook at such an inopportune moment. At best, it feels as though Melinoe is staking his claim in his work that he will not be limited by the expectations of others, yet at worse it disrupts a track that was just warming up.
I think Mike Melinoe is a highly charismatic rapper who can successfully switch up his cadence at will. As a rapper, you have to be able to ride the beat. Mike Melinoe does exactly what a rapper is supposed to do: ride the beat instead of letting it trample over your bars. Yet, what is urgent for Mike Melinoe? With his EP set to drop this fall, I’m really hoping Melinoe will return with not only more energetic tracks but lyrics which have something critical and necessary to say.
Check out Mike Melinoe’s ambitious new track right here:
I.S. Jones is a writer living in New York by way of California. She is the Managing Editor of Dead End Hip Hop. Her Twitter inbox is closed until further notice, so please send music to firstname.lastname@example.org. She’s writing herself into a better future. You can tweet at her here