“If I didn’t live the life I have no business talking about it. My lyrics are 100%.”
—Mell Man

Philadelphia is home to some of the game’s brightest stars, from the Roots to Will Smith and DJ Jazzy Jeff. It’s also home to some the most real street-hop names, from Beanie Siegel to Meek Mill and AR-AB—it’s only natural, and Philadelphia is almost like a forgotten city, as former State-Property artist Oshchino described it as during a recent interview with the Breakfast Club. This lack of economic sustainability, which breeds crime in some of the more dangerous neighborhood, has given birth to some of the most poignant, true to life music in the industry. North Philly rapper Mell Man is an excellent example of this; “My music is thought provoking, expressive, and reminiscent of the rugged era of hip-hop,” he says, “that’s the type of artist I try to be. If I didn’t live the life, I have no business talking about it. My lyrics are 100%.”

What began as a mechanism to help him stay out of trouble grew to become a passion in his senior year of college. Now, on his third release, The U Tape, is a 14-song effort that showcases his versatility, as he traverses everything from contemporary sounds of records like “Now-A-Days” featuring Young Black, to more gritty street-wise 90s ish on two of our fave records, “What’s Real” and “Price Of Fame,” where he exclaims, “Niggas will sell they soul for a name, even dime they man out, the shit’s insane.” He also puts his spin on some popular instrumentals, like “Fugee-La,” which he borrows for his record “No Hobbies.” There’s also his version of Drake’s controversial “Two Birds, One Stone.”

Mell Man has bars—and this project is a sample of what he has coming up with his Priority Mell EP, which is dropping this February. For now, give The U Tape a spin and if you’re feeling it mash the share button.