Melii has been using her style and flair to blow up from her block to big time.
The Harlem rapper’s re-working of Cardi B‘s “Bodak Yellow” last year put her on the map; her half-rap, half-sung delivery earned the video 2 million views to date. Wisely, she used the momentum to drop the catchy song “Icey” in March 2018—the track, which sits at 4 million streams, has become her calling card ever since. And just last week, Melii’s collaboration with Meek Mill, “Wit The Shits (W.T.S.),” appeared on his excellent Championships album. Clearly, the 20-year-old rapper is one to watch.
Before Melii began snagging huge features and streams by the millions, she was a teenager who was interested in the arts. “[I was] expressing myself through journals and poetry,” Melii tells XXL. “I already had a passion for singing… [I] turned it into raps.” She took this talent and shared it with the elderly, volunteering to sing at nursing homes. Yet by 2017, Melii decided to tweak this musical foundation, taking on one of the biggest songs of the year.
“With ‘Bodak Yellow,’ I was like I’ma just go in and talk my shit,” she recalls. “I’ma do it but I’ma make it mine.”
Riding the wave of her bilingual appearance on Meek Mill’s new album, Melii is hard at work on a project of her own. Get to know her better in the latest edition of XXL‘s The Break.
I grew up listening to: “Lil Kim, Nicki Minaj, Drake, J. Cole, Amy Winehouse (I love her), Adele, Jhené Aiko, Tory Lanez, [Playboi] Carti. I would just listen to what [Cole] would speak about [to] motivate his listeners.”
My style’s been compared to: “Jhené Aiko, Kehlani, Cardi [B], Tory Lanez, Lauryn Hill, Drake.”
My standout moments to date have been: “Collaborating with men in the industry that I listened to all the time.”
My standout records to date have been: “They’re not out yet. I actually think ‘Icey’ is trash compared to my other songs.”
My most slept-on song is: “‘Ballin.’ I feel like the bars on there was lit. Even Rosenberg and Ebro was like, ‘That shit is hard.’ A lot of people just now getting hip to it. I was doing a lot of remixes. All my remixes, everyone was like, ‘Oh, she remixed this?’ There was comments like, ‘Where’s her original shit?'”
Most people don’t know: “I get depressed if I can’t give to a homeless person. Even if I’m hungry. I never pulled out a camera to share with people. I do it out of the kindness of my heart. I wanna give back to the community.”
I’m going to blow up because: “I’m just different, I put a lot of faith in God and I believe in myself. I work hard. I’m never giving half-ass energy. I’m bringing diversity. ‘Charlie’s Line’ is melodic. ‘Shit Talk’ is bars. You don’t know what to expect.”
I’m going to be the next: “Legend.”
“Bodak Yellow (Melii Remix)”
“Wit The Shits (W.T.S.)” Meek Mill featuring Melii
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