Meko Mcafee
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Meko Mcafee

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"C.A.K.E. mixtape review"

Meko Makafi :: C.A.K.E. :: Fly Music Group
as reviewed by Arthur Gailes

While various cities and regions have laid claim to hip hop's supremacy (New York, Atlanta and Houston, to name a few), very few have had the consistent quality and uniqueness of the bay area. From E-40 to Zion I, the bay area overflows with great rappers whose talent almost always exceeds their fame.

Meko Makafi is a direct descendent of this tradition. While he does have enough talent as a lyricist to carry an album, what makes him stand out is his charisma. He sports a delivery which sounds fun and light-hearted even when the subject isn't, which makes every song and enjoyable listen, even when he's stalling creatively. Most importantly, he carries himself with an easy swagger that keeps the listener at ease at all times.

Further, he's got a great ear for beats. The "C.A.K.E. Intro" hits a perfect note of foreboding over which Makafi gives his mission (to get the cake, of course). This muted excitement sets the pace for the whole album, which pumps out a spacey, bass heavy sound that's easier on the ears than it should be. Each song flows well into the next, and while the bass-first aesthetic is always present, the rotating background sounds and samples keep everything from becoming monotonous.

The problems of this album come from Makafi not expressing enough range, and the production exhibiting too much. Makafi comes of worst when he falls into the trap of repeating worn out clichés. There's nothing wrong with having fun, as lead single "Bay Whomp" proves, but gimmicky songs like "Girls Love FlyBoyz" are beneath a rapper of his skill. The worst music on the album, however, is when the production strays from its formula. The experimental guitar-rift based "This is Home" is interesting enough lyrically, but it sounds terrible.

"C.A.K.E." is an interesting album, but it's not something anybody will be extremely excited about. Most songs on it are good on all fronts, but it's rarely great. It gives off an effortless vibe when is easy to listen too, but it won't move anybody one way or another. This is really sad because Makafi does have the ability to make great music. He doesn't write the most poignant lyrics you'll ever hear, but he has a way with delivering makes every line ooze with personality. This album is worth a pick-up from any fan of bay area hip hop; it's a good, consistent album, even if it won't blow you away. -


Bay Whomp single- 2006..Recieved local airplay and online radio play. New single "No One" starting to make buzz on the internet.



Meko McAfee

Listening to Meko McAfee is like hearing the whole of Hip Hop music in one artist. Existing in the space between mainstream and underground hip-hop, his music somehow ties the tradition together while placing his own unique stamp and personality on it. And in the tradition of the greatest artists, he raps truths straight to your face, with no apologies or hesitation and a commitment to excellence above all, making him an exceptional young artist on the rise.

Like many great artists in the Hip Hop tradition, Meko was first exposed to music through his parents. Both of his parents were heavily influenced by music of all sorts.
Any given day you could hear sounds of The Gap Band, Luther Vandross, and The Isley Brothers all the way to Hall and Oates coming from his household. He performed in his first talent show in the 2nd grade with some friends. Dancing and singing to Bobby Brown’s “My Prerogative” which they came in 2nd place. It was at that moment he knew he wanted to be a performer. “Every since I was a boy, I knew entertainment was for me”, Meko states.

Meko really started to develop his craft in junior high school on his friends 4 track machine. As he recalls, “I would literally take hours to lay down a track, but that practice was definitely needed”. By his sophomore year in high school he started recording in a professional studio with two of his friends. They had formed a rap group called “Self Made Hustlaz”. By the time he was a senior; they had performed in over 15 talent shows and did various performances at house parties, juneteenths, etc. They also had a finished album titled “Low to Hi”. They began selling it out of the trunk and using grassroots promotion. The album quickly became a must have within the city. “We sold over 2,000 copies, all independent”.

The group would separate shortly after due to creative differences. From there, Meko decided it was time to brand himself. He started recording songs with upcoming producer at the time, Traxamillion. His buzz started to grow big within the city, but due to him being his own worst critic, he never released the albums he made. As he recalls, “I always wanted to make a classic, and I wasn’t settling for nothing less”. One night at a industry party in San Francisco, his friend and now bay area super producer Traxamillion introduced Meko to a dj who worked at Wild 94.9 (a popular bay area radio station) by the name of J. Espinosa. Meko had submitted his new song to him and by that the following friday Meko had his first airplay. The song titled “Bay Whomp” which was also produced by Traxamillion, hit the airwaves and became instant success. But due to limited funds and knowledge about radio promotion, the song never was broke and stayed in the mix show circuit. Meko states “Bay Whomp taught me a lot about the music biz and how you better have a plan if you do get airplay. It also taught me that being a superstar isn’t as far fetched as I thought.”

Moving to Los Angeles in 2006 to pursue his dream, Meko then hooked up with hip-hop producer “Ear Hussla” who is also from Meko’s hometown that moved to Los Angeles. Earl Hussla started adding beats to the more traditional hip hop songs that Meko was writing, and for Meko, it was like lightning struck. He exclaims, “I’m hip hop at heart and a story teller, but I realized through Ear Hussla that it was the beats that make the songs fun. I was thinking about what kind of music I wanted to represent me, this is it.” “Bay Whomp was a good song, but I felt it had just a regional sound to it”. “Now I fell I got a universal sound”.