Mello Music Group has long been a purveyor in preserving what little is left from hip-hop’s underground (read: indie) boom-bap scene. The group takes on the role as an independent label seriously, but perhaps what they hold to an even higher standard is the platform with which they have built for themselves and using the unique voices in their roster to uphold boom-bap’s signature identity and purpose. With the announcement of the compilation record “Persona,” (set to release on March 10) MMG pools together their roster (among them, Oddisee, Apollo Brown, L’Orange, Open Mike Eagle, Rapper Big Pooh) and pairs them with names often associated with the movement’s pioneers: Phonte, Blockhead, Ras Kass, Gift of Gab and Oh No, just to name a few. The idea isn’t to have a regular compilation of mismatched tracks but to bridge the gap between the former forerunners with the ones of the present, pairing tradition and expertise with the innovative and novel. “Requiem,” one of the first tracks from the comp, features Oddisee providing the drums and sample, while he and Phonte replay back and forth on the social ills witnessed in the previous year. Hit the jump to give the track a listen.
On sound alone, it’s a wonder these two haven’t worked together before and it’s a personal joy of mine to hear Phonte spit a verse since
he turned soft he started to favor singing once he linked up with Nicolay for the Foreign Exchange. The small celebration of Phonte rapping again aside, “Requiem,” provides a small taste of of “Persona,” and it’s ultimate goal: to “evolve and expand the art form, capture stories of the struggle, uphold the tradition, and keep the crooked honest.”