Stream/Album Review: Mello Music Group- Mandala Vol. 1/Vol.2

Posted: February 7, 2014 by ericbernsen in Album Reviews, Music, Songs/Videos
Tags: , , , ,

The Mello Music Group is best described as an indie hip-hop label that features the music of the best talents on the underground scene. “Like Lao Tzu in hip-hop, Mello Music Group provides music for the soul, from the heart of American culture, opening the realm of the intelligent Hip-hop experience through melodic evocations, beats that corroborate the truth, and voices that roar above the rising void and impose order on the terrible & triumphant moments of everyday life. This is the compelling sound of Mello Music Group.” This is how MMG (no not that MMG) categorizes themselves in the world of hip-hop, and these qualities are certainly reflected in their latest compilation projects Mandala Vol. 1, Polysonic Flows and Mandala Vol. 2, Today’s Mathematics. Each collection has a boatload of original material from the likes of artists such as Oddisee, Quelle Chris, and Rapper Big Pooh over fresh, top-tier production from producers Apollo Brown, Gensu Dean, Oddisee (once again), and Audible Doctor. 

Mandala Vol. 1 is 20 tracks long, but there is absolutely no filler on the project which has a very diverse feel to it. Right off the bat we are hit with the intro “Invisible Walls” by Oddisee, who starts the project off strong with a standout lyrical performance. It is no surprise that the multi-dimensional Oddisee steps up to the plate not only on the opening song, but on both volumes of the Mandala compilation. The production on Mandala Vol. 1 is rich with many inventive aspects as sonically the project is not confined to one particular sound. After “Invisible Walls”, we are greeted with the L’Orange produced track “Lost Nova” featuring Mr. Lif and John Robinson, who rhyme viciously over the dark atmospheric beat. Other particularly noteworthy songs on Mandala Vol.1 feature rising emcees such as Quelle Chris (“Supreme Codeine”) and Has-Lo (“Juggernaut”), who come through with raw lyrical performances. The project embraces both old school vibes as well as experimentally progressive sounds, and all of the artists featured are more than capable of doing the beats justice.

Whereas Mandala Vol.1 excelled in its distinctiveness from lesser known artists, Mandala Vol. 2 has more of a boom-bap feel to it and features names you might be more familiar with. Production from the likes of Apollo Brown, Gensu Dean, and Audible Doctor gives the project a mighty strong backbone and the emcees featured are more than capable of filling out Vol. 2 as a complete package. Just as in Vol. 1, we are met with a booming opener “No Design To This”, which features Fredro Starr flowing nicely over the soulful banger provided by Audible Doctor. Having mastermind producers Gensu Dean and Apollo Brown at the helm of the project allows Vol. 2 to fully fulfill its potential, as older hip-hop heads will relish in “golden era” influenced beats like the one featured on “Won’t Last A Day”. However, it is Mandala Vol. 2 single “The Pain Is Gone” that steals the show with the legendary Murs using his exceptional storytelling skills to effectively rhyme over Apollo Brown’s soulful, string-driven beat. Tracks like “The Pain Is Gone” is what makes this Mandala compilation a special project, and there is no lack of substantial quality music within each volume.

You can stream both Mandala Vol.1/Vol.2 below and let us know what you think of the Mello Music Group offerings! 






  1. […] made aware of the work by L’Orange through his contributions on the recently released Mello Music Group compilation project. After being impressed by that, we were inclined to check out his latest single titled “Need […]

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