If you never thought hip hop could be sexy, you haven’t been introduced to Amsterdam’s La Melodia. The duo compromises of female rapper Melodee and DJ I.N.T on the beats. Melodee reveals their reason behind Electronic Love, when we can expect their next album and how meeting Q-Tip resulted in doing a show for him in New York. Margaret Tra writes.
You describe your music as sexy hip hop what do you mean by that?
We call it sexy hip hop because we make soulful music but it also has a raw feel to it. It's sexy because of the beat with the combination of my husky voice, it's not necessarily the clothes I am wearing.
You don’t normally hear a female rapper with as a duo, how did this come about?
Yeah with us it’s not the case, La Melodia is DJ INT on the beat and I do the rhymes. When I started La Melodia I started it as a solo project I did it because I was in another group before that. So I went f**k that I just want to save some money. Do it on my own. I am going to call it La Melodia. That’s when I asked DJ INT for a beat, he not only did that he did a logo, website help with production and on the vinyls. That’s how La Melodia actually became of the both of us. Not just me, he was putting in just as much effort. So, it was just me and him. It’s nice to have a tag team like backing up each other.
What age did you start rapping?
I started performing and writing my own lyrics when I was 16, when I was eight- years- old my cousin gave me a mixtape of all these hip hop beats like De la Soul, Tribe Called Quest and Salt n Peppa, that’s when I started to get hooked on hip hop. I wanted to learn every single word they said. That’s what I was doing for the 1st couple of years. I started focusing on how I could do that same thing as these rappers. And then when I was 15 I started writin down their lyrics and then I started thinking if I can write down their lyrics I might as well write my own.
You did a show that was hosted by QTIP what was that like?
Q-Tip was in Amsterdam and after the show I went backstage and gave him a CD, said I make music and we are coming to New York and we are looking to do some shows. That’s when Q tip was like you can perform at his show.
I was like yeah right... you know… I don’t think that’s really going to happen... and he goes just send me some music. and we will set it up so I sent him it and that was that. We did it, we went there, the first night we arrived at 11pm and it was my first time and I had to change in the plane and then we went to the venue and people were standing outside for two hours and there was a mad little line you know and we actually got mad love from the crowd. Yeah, I respect him and to be performing for someone I used to be inspired by was dope. He was just a lot of people hanging around him and wanted his attention of course. He gave me credit on that and the praise you know.
What came first rap or singing?
Rapping definitely, no way I am not a singer at all. I just know how to keep a tone and I might play with it, I like to f**k around with it. To me singing is like next level sh*t, I think that I am quite good at rapping I can still grow. I think I am on the right path the singing is all recorded and done. I don’t put myself up there or anything. I may play with it and explore it and develop more skills on it. It has to be correct. I am happy with how the way things are going. I think we started in 2004 we started La Melodia and ever since then we have come a long way and have seen cool things.
Rapping in Dutch?
That’s the good thing about rapping in English, cause a lot of people here rap in Dutch. They are just stuck to Holland and Dutch. Yeah I did that, not at the very first beginning at my career. Because all hip hop was in English but a couple of years later, I got to rhyme in Dutch... No one knows but the Dutch people... Maybe it’s something we can do it under another persona or something.
Who is your favourite hip hop female rapper?
MC Lyte, she has been rapping way since back the beginning, she has a great flow and she is still doing her thing. It’s an inspiration for me and of course La Melodia, she can rap fast and slow with any kind of beat, freestyles stuff like that. Old school, that’s my style. If it ain’t broke don’t try and fix it right?
Have you been to Australia?
Not yet, but I would love to come over you know do some shows. I get some responses from facebook in my messages inbox and that’s really nice you never know where your music is going to end up. You know it’s the world wide web. People can download music from anywhere, on the other side of the globe like Australia.
Ideal person you would like to collaborate with?
As far as beat making is concerned I really like Madlib, Stones throw is a label I am really feeling. We did a tour in 2005 with Stones Throw, I met Peanut Butter Wolf and at SXSW festival and Madlib was there, the good thing about living in Amsterdam is because every artist wants to come here I don’t know what it is and they all want to come over I don’t know what that is. I get to see a lot of people and artists that I look up too and meet them and ask them questions. Sometimes you meet people that follow your music and it’s mind blowing.
Tell us about Electronic Love, why did you decide to mix hip hop with electro?
I think because last two years I listened to a lot of Electro such as Flying Lotus, Amsterdam is focused on that. I love hip hop beats but electronic stuff, when I heard that I was like I want to do a project like that and call it Electronic Love. Music wise to make a whole album with electronic sounds, cause usually we work with samples and instrumentals live sounds. That project we put out last October and the response has been good. I think especially from people from that I know that we are somewhat in a niche.
Any new projects?
We are working on a new album right now. It’s a creative process you know. We are in the middle of recording. I have to record five more songs. I wrote a couple, and we are going to put a couple together and then collect what we want to use. I can be very efficient and be like lets go lets work on this concept. I just want to write and just want to do songs. Expect more rapping choruses.
When can we expect it?
Hopefully September, or actually if I’m realistic I’d say September but it might be in February. There are always a lot of things that you have to do. Like mixing process that delays the whole thing, this time I want to go with a label. We’ve done it ourselves and it feels great, but this time I just want to be creative and not have to think about the business side.
What stimulates your soul?
What always works is listening to warm feel good music, talking to people with positive energy, eating soulfood, visiting my family who lives in Curacao (island in the Caribbean), reading all kinds of surprising books and of course making new music for La Melodia with INT.