Mello Music Group has finally delivered their label compilation, Persona. But the esteemed label warns against prejudging the record based on that qualifier: “These aren’t spare tracks,” the album’s description on Bandcamp reads. “They’re potent messages and poisonous darts.” Sporting contributions from tried and true legends (Ras Kass, Masta Ace), new rappers of the moment (Open Mike Eagle) and up-and-c0ming auteurs (Quelle Chris), Persona is a diverse, vital addition to any rap fan’s catalog, whether their backpack is heavy or light.
Highlights include Eagle’s “Dark Comedy Late Show,” where producer Exile flips Toy Light’s beat for “Dark Comedy Morning Show” from the rapper’s 2014 Mello LP, Dark Comedy. On the cut, the Los Angeles-based, Chicago-bred MC weighs the relative wisdom of finishing college and deleting his Yahoo accounts. On opener “Requiem,” Oddisee and Phonte stand defiantly against America’s systemic racism; Quelle’s contributions are lean and kinetic, further establishing him as one of the producers and rappers to watch in the coming months. Masta Ace’s turn on “Troubles” is the kind that reminds you just how many copies of Disposable Arts you’ve bought for friends and relatives (the number should be high).
Stream the album below, and purchase it through Mello’s Bandcamp page or on iTunes.
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