Hey, y’all! I hope you guys had a wonderful Thanksgiving and holiday weekend. Considering I actually wrote that review for 03 Greedo’s Netflix and Deal last weekend, I have not been at the keyboard for a week now, and it is good to be back! I find it strange that I have not really seen any major music publications talking about this new YNW Melly album Melly vs. Melvin. If you follow major music magazines like Complex or Spin online, you would know that they did not just stop posting about music the last few days, so it is weird that everyone is ignoring this record, especially considering how well it actually charted in the first week of its release. Don’t worry though, trap music fans, because your boy is here to cover this new Melly record because I love trap music and it is definitely good enough to warrant some hype in the music industry. I have a feeling that major music publications are sort of avoiding covering Melly because of his current legal situation; YNW Melly is currently being tried for a double murder of two of his best friends. I do not want to get into what I think about this case, as I honestly do not feel like enough information has been released for anyone to have a real basis for an opinion about it yet. That being said, Melly vs. Melvin is obviously a record that YNW Melly’s team released for him while he is in prison. Albums released by artists that are locked up always intrigue me; sometimes, because the rappers have nothing to do besides sit there and write down their boiling emotions, albums released from prison are awesome because they are super heartfelt and honest. In other cases, the artists’ team outside of prison are seemingly trying to take advantage of their popularity and end up using incomplete songs by the artist and adding random features to just get some content out; obviously, these types of albums typically kind of suck. Admittedly, Melly vs. Melvin feels like it has elements from both of these kinds of releases; on one hand, I know that this album was supposed to be close to coming out before Melly actually got arrested, and there are songs on this record that were obviously recorded well over a year ago, making them feel outdated in away. I do appreciate the fact that there are not any random, shitty features added on to these older sounding songs, though. On the other hand, there are obviously songs on this record that Melly has recorded or at least contributed to since his arrest, as there is a sort of emotional and introspective tone to some of the songs that are noticeably different from the ones that were probably recorded before he got arrested. Ok, this intro is starting to get crazily long, and I need to wrap it up. I will say that if you are intro auto-crooning trap music, this record is definitely better than most albums released with this kind of style this year. With all of that being said, let’s just get into my opinions on Melly vs. Melvin.
Considering the title of the album, I would say that the opening track of this record is very aptly named. ‘Two-Face’ has this retro kind of melody that reminds me of early 2000s R&B that seems to be very prevalent on this project; I would say that because of Melly vs. Melvin, it is pretty obvious that Melly loves artists like Brandi, Aaliyah, or Monica, or at the very least loves the types of instrumentals that they used. The opinion about YNW Melly that he actually has multiple personalities or is even schizophrenic is totally supported by the intro of this song; I mean the first several lines consist of Melly repeating the phrase Melly vs. Melvin, so you can take that however you want to. I will say, it is easier to believe the multiple interviews he has done where he talks about fighting with this inner personality from some of the content on this record. ‘Suicidal’ is the second super emotional song in a row, and it kind of helps confirm the tone of the album(or at least this section of the album). This track is about a lost love of YNW Melly’s, and it is very apparent that he was hurt like hell by this woman. I mean, I would say his feelings about her are very apparent from this line that he keeps repeating at the beginning of the track: I mean, to me your love is suicidal… From the first two songs on this album, it does not seem like there is any music here that is meant to party to, because they are both just so melancholy. Don’t worry, though, this downtrodden tone goes away for a bit starting with the next track, ‘Adam Sandler.’ This song is the first one that is very obviously inspired by Young Thug; it is very obvious from the vocal fluctuations and flows used in this one that he really wants to be the next Thugger. I dig the sort of 8-bit, chiptune sort of style that the melody of this song has. I think that this kind of melody works super well with Melly’s super unique and almost cartoony kind of voice, and it really adds a youthful element to his music that is dope.
‘Bang Bang’ is probably the most unique song on this record, and it easily one of my favorites. This track’s melody is a direct sample of the classic early 2000s R&B hit ‘Body On Me,’ which is by Nelly, Akon, and Ashanti. The melody is actually literally the same, and the beat is changed up to make the song sound more trap. I think that it is very interesting that Melly decided to use this sample because some of his performances on this album actually remind me a lot of Nelly. I really dig the sort of Caribbean flavor in his voice on this track; the Caribbean sound is obviously very prevalent in the area of South Florida that Melly is from, and you will notice this influence a lot more as the album rolls on. The next track, ‘Billboard,’ is super low key compared to what we have heard on this album so far. Admittedly, this one is a bit of a throwaway for me. It just sounds too typical to me and does not have much of Melly’s personality. I wonder if this one is one of the songs that was made well over a year ago, as it sounds so much like that style of weird and chill trap that Ski Mask and XXXTentacion were making at this point in time. The transition from this track into ‘I Ain’t Lying’ is totally strange, as the energies of these songs are so different; it is like we randomly go 0-100 mph with no warning. Considering what my opinion of ‘Billboard’ is, I obviously dig this random turn around. ‘I Ain’t Lying’ is another song that is obviously inspired by Young Thug; once again, we get this very modern and video game-esque sort of melody, and Melly’s performance is totally off the wall. ‘I Ain’t Lying’ is hard as hell, and it is another shot highlight on this album. ‘I’m a Star’ is another song that is very obviously influenced by Young Thug; in fact, this track seems to be inspired by a certain era of Young Thug’s music. This song sounds like it could have literally been on Thugger’s Barter 6. ‘I’m a Star’ once again has a very Caribbean style and flow, although this one has more Atlanta trap influence instead of South Florida trap influence. Regardless of what or who you think this song sounds like, ‘I’m a Star’ is fun as hell and it is a total keeper as well.
Bustin’ open juugs ’cause we tryna get a ki. Pull up on ’em with them AR-15s and .223s. And we trustin’ everything so we pray our soul to keep. Put them crosses on the window and sit right by the sea…
‘My Slime’ is another song that has a major Caribbean influence to it, but not really an Atlanta trap influence. This song is South Florida as hell, and it actually reminds me a lot of Latin trap music. Vocally, this is one of my favorite performances from Melly on this one. His vocal tone fluctuates quite a bit on this song, and he alternates flows and rapping styles very smoothly, making this track very layered and unique. ‘100 K’ is yet another track that has a very Caribbean influence to it; this one has a different kind of Caribbean influence, though, as the melody sounds like it is being made by steel drums. This sound gives it a very calypso feel to it, and it is totally unlike anything else on this album, or really any rap songs being made today in general. I wish that they would have not used a trap beat on this one, though, as the portions of the song where Melly is singing on the melody without the beat are my favorite parts of the song. ‘100 K’ is pretty good in my opinion, but I wish they would have stuck with the calypso-pop sound instead of making it trap( which I am sure was done to fit in more with the record, but sometimes throwing the audience for a loop is good in my opinion). ‘Nobody’s Around’ provides a hell of a switch-up in styles, as this one has an Atlanta slow R&B feeling to it that is super different than the rest of the record. It honestly reminds me of a lot of Jacques or Trey Songz, as it is very sweet and emotional sounding. My favorite thing about this song is Melly’s singing; he honestly sounds like a typical early 2010s R&B singer on this one, and it is definitely different from anything else on this record, which is pretty cool. Although it has a somewhat similar-sounding melody, ‘Killuminati,’ which features Foreign Teck, brings us right out of those feels. The vocal performances on this one are very aggressive and in your face, so even though the melody is sort of sweet and soft like the previous song, the feeling of the track is still hard as hell. To me, this song is okay and sort of forgettable, as although it is pretty intense and the performances are done well, it is just not very unique and sounds too much like typical melodic trap to me that I can hear from multiple other artists.
I know times get hard, but trust me, bruh, you gotta stay up. All these bitches jockin’ ’cause they see you on your way up. And I swear I done did about a hundred thousand favors. Like, what do you want from me…
‘Stay Up’ is another track where we see Melly in his feels. This is a track that I could totally see having been written from prison, as Melly seems very retrospective and down on this track. ‘Stay Up’ is yer another track where YNW Melly’s vocal performance shines; his ability to change rapping flows and vocal pitches is totally unique and cool, and I really hope he gets out of prison so he can thoroughly develop these skills. ‘Stay Up’ also has this pretty weird melody that is part chiptune and part piano-driven, and it is one of the most interesting and sophisticated songs on the record. ‘Waitin’ On You,’ which features Tonk Wit Da Gift(what an incredible name, by the way), is another one that sounds like Jacques, or even Sammie. Whoever it reminds you of, it is hard to deny that this is some baby-making music. ‘Waitin’ On You’ is probably as sensual and sweet as trap music can get; it honestly is reminiscent of some of the R&B-trap type tracks that Kevin Gates has become known for. This style of music is not necessarily for me, but I do recognize the quality. YNW Melly could make a career out of only doing sensual joints like this one. Something interesting about the last song of the record ‘223s,’ is that it was originally released as a 9lokknine song featuring YNW Melly, instead of the other way around. I am guessing that they re-branded this track as being by Melly because he has been popping off this year and could help 9lokknine get more publicity, but who knows if there is actually a more sinister reason for this switch up. Regardless of who ‘223s’ is technically by, it is a fact that this song is a damn banger, and is one of the best songs on this record. ‘223s’ has a pop-trap vibe with a bit of that Caribbean flavor that Melly seems to love, and his chemistry with 9lokknine on this one is so palpable. I definitely think this song will end up being a major underground sleeper hit in the near future, as it is just too damn catchy for the public not to notice it soon.
As I stated at the beginning of this review, I honestly do not know why this record did not get more hype in the media. Just like with 03 Greedo’s Netflix and Deal, it seems like the world of music media ignored Melly vs. Melvin because of the unfortunate legal situation that the rapper has landed himself in. But I really do not think we should just ignore their music just because of this, and it seems like most of the public agrees with, as this album has actually gotten pretty good streaming numbers so far. I would not say this record in on the level of Young Thug’s or Lil Keed’s projects that came out this year, but it is still a quality piece of auto-crooner trap music. I know for a fact that I enjoy this project a lot more than most music by similar artists that came out this year, such as Quando Rondo, Polo G, or Trippie Redd. All in all, if you like melodic trap music, you should totally check out Melly vs. Melvin; I promise it will not disappoint you.