LISTEN UP: OG TRIBE MEMBER MIKE MELINOE BREAKS ONTO THE SCENE AS UP-AND-COMER
21-year old Detroit emcee Mike Melinoe has been writing music since he was about nine years old. Member of OG Tribe, which stands for “Organic Geniuses” crew, a diverse hip-hop collective which includes producers, artists, graphic designers & entrepreneurs, he also produces under the alias Og $lick. Melinoe is based in Detroit, while other members are spread across the the vastness of the internet, where they connect. Although the baby-faced lyricist may pass for a young gun, this laid back jazz-rap has our heads nodding along with his easy flow. His 2012 album Last Voyage: Tales of Heartbreak [produced by Stereo Symphony, Pat Streater, and Chuck Daly] is a great listen the whole way through, at times it feels like a nod to A Tribe Called Quest. You can download the album for free here.
How do you describe your musical style?
I like to keep things pretty diverse, but overall my style is an unconscious riddle flow- if that’s understandable. I paint lyrics as transitions happen throughout the days, it’s my way of explaining things and delivering a new story. I create portraits of my past and future through my persona as Mike Melinoe. My first release as Mike Melinoe was “Gorgeous Prophet” which was released about two years ago, and my latest release is “Greed to Conquer” prod. by by fellow OG Tribe Member YoAstrum.
Who are your biggest influences?
My biggest influences have to be Andre 3000, Big L, Jay Electronica, Jay Z, Biggie, Wu Tang, MF DOOM, Quasimoto, and YEEZUS, but the list goes for days…
What is OG Tribe [Organic Geniuses] exactly?
OG Tribe is my brotherhood. We are a very clux and diverse hip hop collective. We come from multiple areas, and I believe that’s the difference between our music from others right now. Us not being from the same states means we have many styles and stories that aren’t identical to another. OG is about loyalty first, then music.
Artist and fellow OG Tribe crew member Zach Thompson is based in Detroit as well, illustration of Melinoe above.
What have you been working on recently?
Right now it’s EP’s with producers and many projects for me and the OG Tribe Members. Just working on the daily on everything from visual to the business side.
How does Detroit affect you and your style?
Detroit is art in my eyes because you get to see the great beauty of the city along with the terror and poverty.”
With my music, it gives me a sense to not stay in the city forever. Ever since a child I had goals and plans for the future because of the broke situations I’ve experienced firsthand. I view my lyrics as an untold story from Detroit, I’m not afraid to speak about anything because it’s my reality.
What’s your favorite thing to do in the city?
Loco’s is one of my favorite places downtown to eat, but I love Captain Jays, the chicken is crack literally! Coney Islands are old now, but if you want the hook-up on chili fries that’s the stop. I’m not the party type so for fun it’s just about seeing the homies and doing whatever whenever.
WATCH “Spoken Heart,” single off of Last Voyage: Tales of Heartbreak
What’s your favorite piece of clothing you own?
All my vintage patterns are clux rare so I enjoy grabbing those often at thrift shops around the city. OG Tribe will be releasing a clothing line soon, so that’s gonna be apart of my attire too.
What do you think Detroit will be like in five years? Ten years?
In five years the Oraganic Geniuses shop will be up and giving the community not only art and music, but opportunities to expand horizons. We even plan to start a charity to help get folks on their feet again. In ten years I see Detroit coming together to evolve within the nation by giving back career options for young people. Today it’s just get a job right out of college, but a lot of people don’t truly understand the system so they end up becoming burdens. Detroit has to grow and it will.
Do you think Detroit has a defined hip hop scene?
If people dig deep Detroit has birthed so many artists when Motown was happening. Right now we have to just understand that there is more to life than the Struggle; we live it here, but who’s attempting to stop it? Local artists are cool with me and are just now opening doors for my sound… I would like to see more promoters to find some new acts- not just myself, but I know a good amount of people that are very talented and not out there yet.
Do you have any connections to NYC?
Yes, and they’re growing currently. Pat Streater is my cousin that lives in Brooklyn and we work together so much it’s becoming a habit. We grew up talking about our current projects and ambitions, so it’s just good to see that things come true when there is hard work and dedication.
Do you have any upcoming shows?
I just performed at Bob’s Classic Kicks recently. December is where things kick back off with performing. Detroit is still getting comfortable with my sound, so most still in the dark but my management is working to change that.
And so are we.
FOLLOW MIKE MELINOE!
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