In the Dominican Republic, she was given the moniker “La Mama del Rap” — the first and most respected female rapper of her generation, and a Latin urban music superstar with more than 1.6 million social media followers and over 20 million views on her YouTube channel. Now, with the release of her new album Dragon Queen, Melymel – named one of Pandora’s Latin Artists to Watch in 2018 - is ready to take the world by storm.
“It’s a female empowerment album,” the rapper, singer, actress and producer says of her latest project. “With a fresh sound that goes with the trap wave in the Latin movement.”
Melymel burst onto the Dominican music scene in 2005 with a style and attitude entirely her own. Raised on Tupac, Lauryn Hill and her parents’ jazz and Salsa records, she brought both a toughness and a musicality to her work that made her unique amongst Dominican artists. She soon became the only female rapper invited to appear at major concerts all over her home country, sharing stages with such international stars as N.O.R.E. and Violadores del Verso. By 2011, she was a bona fide star in the DR, collaborating and performing with some of the biggest names in Latin hip-hop, including Cuban Link, Lito MC Cassidy and one of her childhood inspirations, fellow Dominican female rapper Arianna Puello.
Her International profile rose in 2012 when she was selected to be the Dominican Republic’s official voice for the Summer Olympics in London. Back home, she released her self-titled debut album and made her acting debut in the hit film Feo de Dia, Linda de Noche, which also featured her song “Me Gusta Mi Feo” in its soundtrack. Feo de Dia’s renowned director, Alfonso Rodriguez, cast her in a lead role in his next film, Locas y Atrapadas, for which she was named Best Actress at the 2014 La Silla Awards, Dominican cinema’s answer to the Oscars.
Also in 2014, Melymel released her second album, Eva del Rap, showcasing her versatility as she sang and rapped in English, Spanish and Creole over beats that were by turns hard-hitting, catchy and seductive. As a female artist in the male-dominated Dominican urban music scene, she notes, “I’ve had to rap and work twice as hard to get recognition and respect.” But being a woman in the boys’ club, she adds, is not without its advantages: “Guys don’t see me as direct competition, so I get support from them.”
Today, Melymel is an international star, with numerous performances in the U.S. (including an appearance at the Great Dominican Parade in New York City in 2016, where she was crowned “Urban Queen”) and around the world to her credit. She continues to maintain a busy acting career alongside her music, having appeared in two major Dominican films in 2017 alone (Voces de la Calle and Mision Estrella) and a major campaign for Cerveza Presidente, the Dominican Republic’s leading beer brand. And her videos continue to rack up millions of views, including the 2016 clip for “Llegamos,” which hit 1 million views in just three weeks and announced the trap style she explores more deeply on the forthcoming Dragon Queen.
“I’m proud of being considered a classic in the hip-hop industry,” says Melymel. “Proud to take over the film industry, and happy to get recognition as a songwriter.”
In 2017, Melymel signed to label and distribution company EMPIRE, dubbed “the industry’s sleeping giant” and home to releases from Cardi B, Kendrick Lamar, DRAM, Schoolboy Q, Anderson .Paak, Remy Martin, Fat Joe, Tyga, and Brockhampton among many others. Through them she released Dragon Queen’s first single, “IDGAF,” last November. Produced by High Quality, the track is “bad-ass, confident and bossy,” as Melymel describes it. “It’s a song with a lot of attitude, like smacking someone in the face with words.” It’s just a hint of what’s to come from the Dominican Republic’s “La Mama del Rap” — an artist with a unique voice and the skills and determination to become American urban music’s next crossover star.
Artist Duo produced by Fernando Garibay (Lady Gaga’s Born This Way, U2, Britney Spears, Whitney Houston, Enrique Iglesias, and Shakira)
Genre: Latin R&B
An avant-garde mix of Latin rhythms, vintage 80s-style synths, and contemporary R&B piano lead you into “Quédate”, SANTI’sfirstsingle, where you feel the sublime heights that the duo’s hybrid sound and melodicsensibility reaches throughout their self-titled EP.
Nobody expected the next global idea in Latin music to come out of Boston, Massachusetts, least of all the two guys behind it. When the two first met in 2016, Santiago and Andrew were just a couple of musicians trying to find time outside their tech careers to get in front of a piano. They weren’t even sure if they spoke the same musical language. Dominitz’s parents were both musicians - his father an Israeli-born violinist, his mother an opera singer - who raised him on classical music and jazz, before he took a rebellious turn toward old school hip-hop. Dañino Beck was born in Lima, Peru, and was raised on Latin music before moving to Washington, D.C. and falling in love with American R&B and pop.