Melanin 9 is an MC making waves not just in the UK but in the US too: The Source has lent him coverage recently and his newest video debuts on the 20th of this month. With the coming drop of his album these waves are set to go tidal, because Magna Carta is a quite exceptional album. Wonderfully British – melancholy production including Jehst on the bars (although ohbliv finds time to provide a beat) and dry-witted, straight talking, intelligent rhymes – it is dope that something as good as this is doing its bit to carry the UK Hip-Hop torch globally. You can find the launch party at the Vibe Bar in Brick Lane, London (always a cool place, I recommend going) on the 23rd, and the album is released on 3/12. Don’t sleep…
Although a relative newcomer to the UK Hip Hop scene, London’s Melanin 9 (aka M9) has been receiving rare plaudits from his peers and members of the media since the release of his High Fidelity mixtape in 2007, produced by Beat Butcha and Chemo.
Citing the “Golden Era” as a major influence in his approach to the genre, and UK artists such as Blak Twang, Phi Life Cypher and Jehst as the standard bearers for mixing wordplay with social commentary, it’s little surprise he has become one of the most respected lyricists around today.
In 2008 he laid down the marker. Having reached the final stages of the renowned “End of the Weak” MC Challenge, he joined forces with Triple Darkness duo Cyrus Malachi and Nasheron on their highly rated “Anathema” album. The release of his second mixtape “144,000” soon followed with production from Wu Tang’s Bronze Nazareth, Beat Butcha, Chemo, Jon Phonics, and featuring Jehst and Triple Darkness. The UK’s 1st Lady of Hip Hop & Radio 1Xtra DJ, Sarah Love, would later describe “144,000” as “the best release in 2008”.
The following year saw the release of the Orphans of Cush mixtape recorded with Kyza, Cyrus Malachi and Masikah as a pre-cursor for his Orion’s Stencil EP in 2010 which would enjoy support from key London radio stations Kiss, Choice & 1Xtra.
The reputation as an artist steeped in the finest traditions of a “real hip hop emcee” resulted in his opening shows for international luminaries such as Styles-P, Immortal Technique and Wu Tang’s GZA, Redman, Ghostface Killah and Method Man. He has also featured on releases by Killah Priest, Copywrite, Vast Aire and the UK’s Iron Braydz, Logic, Rewd Adams and Skriblah Dan Gogh (Terra Firma).
Finally, in 2012 after much blood, sweat & tears, Melanin 9 has produced his debut album “Magna Carta” and the release represents everything which has come to be associated with this exceptional talent.
The lyrical flow style and conscientious rhymes are in abundance throughout, presenting real stories from the street without exaggeration or embellishment. The subject matter is varied and delivered from the heart. Melanin 9 addresses human rights, institutional corruption, social cohesion and self worth in a balanced and intellectual way, and reaches out in his verses to the local and international community.
The production is varied in style, from straight head nodders to chilled electronica due to the beats provided by Jehst, Anatomy, Parental, Tony Mahoney and Ohbliv. On an album with subject matter of such personal importance, he chooses to be the main contributor throughout. However on selected tracks he is ably assisted by local songstress Madame Pepper, Triple Darkness on the hard hitting Heartless Island and No Man’s Land, and Flipmode veteran Roc Marciano on White Russian.
Having already established a loyal core fanbase in the UK and on mainland Europe, and with regular support building from “Tru Skool” lovers in the United States, the release of Magna Carta will again herald an important step on Melanin 9’s journey. With a worldwide appreciation of true lyricists already established, this is another landmark release for both the artist and the UK scene.