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The best kept secret in music


"Fresh From TheWOMB"

Fresh From TheWOMB

by Jake Berlin

That's fresh in the sense that Prince Paul would have meant it, circa 1989. And that's theWOMB, as in one of Chicago's newest and most ear-popping hip-hop duos.

theWOMB is MCs meLLo and RelicGold, both veterans (at tender ages) of Chi-town's thriving underground hip-hop circuit. Now, the duo has united to put out a formidable debut album, sPeCtAcU'lAr, composed by meLLo and fully produced by TheWOMB.

sPeCtAcU'lAr has an intricate yet sharp sound, with rough and occasionally tongue-in-cheek rhymes over backgrounds both playful and foreboding. The production may sound like a raw facsimile of the Justin Timberlake smoothness ruling the airwaves these days (minus any big-studio haughtiness), but the lightning-quick lyrics belie the group's underground Chicago roots. theWOMB is trying for something new – "hip-pop," they call it – where the street intersects ClearChannel – or, as RelicGold puts it, a sound that's "grimy, yet slick and sexy."

The album starts out on a high note with "BabyStEPz," a combination of quirky production, dance-ibility, and machine-gun rapping that would make OutKast proud. theWOMB is planning something of a live extravaganza to tour sPeCtAcU'lAr – featuring a bevy of back-up dancers – and this song in particular will benefit from that treatment.

Two of the other highlights of sPeCtAcU'lAr come right near its end. "LiFe We LiVe," an anthem to street life that asks listeners to "picture the pinnacle point of power and punishment," contains a hook catchy enough to make it a hit. The song features a special appearance by Chicago's own D'Verse (of Comatose Into Addiction), who lends a slick, rapid-fire verse to the mix. Immediately following is "theMEDz," the most complete package on the album. The killer intro – which sounds like it was composed by evil, talented clowns – immediately sets the audience up for a clever and devious ride, and the rest of the track does not disappoint.

RelicGold and meLLo cite a wide variety of influences on their music, ranging from rap heavyweights Tupac and Dr. Dre to Al Green, Pink Floyd, and Medeski, Martin & Wood. "Music is music," explains RelicGold. While 'Pac's influence can be heard throughout the rhymes on sPeCtAcU'lAr, Floyd and MMW enter the equation more in terms of the backgrounds, bass lines, and overall sonic effect. Spooky synth sounds abound, especially on "theMEDz" and "LoVe Me Or LoVe Me NoT" (another song with a real chance at being a big-time single). Self-production can be a real mine field for a rap group, but theWOMB proves itself worthy with a clean yet just-complex-enough sound that will pique the interest of music fans from many backgrounds.

There's really something for everyone here. For the tree-huggers, "PiCk It PaCk It PuFf It PaSs It" provides a breath of fresh (nay, smoky) air, hearkening back to '90s odes to cannabis by Bone Thugs and Cypress Hill. Meanwhile, "WeRk..." is a genuinely pulse-racing and libido-stirring club track (featuring stellar vocal work by Smallz, a member of theWOMB's extended posse) that would ignite the dance floor at any of the city's hippest late-night spots. It's rare for an album to feature two such disparate songs, but the fact that sPeCtAcU'lAr does speaks to the group's versatility.

theWOMB takes its name from a former apartment of meLLo, a small yet comfortable place where the duo and friends came to hone their lyrical craft. "It was just the perfect place," he says. "Like before you go out into life – the womb." Well, with the release of sPeCtAcU'lAr they're out in the world now, and the world would do well to listen.

theWOMB - n/a


lOvE mE oR LoVe Me nOt...
LiFe We LiVE

Our most recent release is " sPeCtAcU'lAr "


Feeling a bit camera shy


theWOMB is powered by two dynamic musician/performers, known as meLLo and RelicGold, who have emerged from Chicago's underground hip hop scene to carve out their own distinct style. After cutting their teeth with established crews, the two have joined forces to create their own unique brand of dark, sexy, danceable hip hop.
Despite challenges from the outside world, and strife with past musical collaborations, theWOMB has emerged better, stronger, and more passionate than ever. Experienced beyond their years, yet fueled by the energy and drive of youth, theWOMB is focused on the future and prepared to take their shot at musical advancement and creative achievement.

meLLo:Emerging from an all too common rocky childhood (broken home, struggles on welfare and drugs), he began spinning at parties and clubs early on and developed a powerful love for music. Tragedy and loss pushed him toward a powerful determination to turn pain into art, "to escape." He strives to give meaning to his personal challenges and find his fate through constantly evolving musical expression.

RelicGOLD:Determined to channel the remnants of a rough beginning - including early troubles with drugs and scrapes with the law - into a better life, RelicGolds first discovered and developed his artistic voice penning poetry for other inmates while doing time. Music can provoke as well as heal, incite as well as express, and RelicGold wants to make the most of his musical gifts and harness the power of music to create a better life, a better world, a better self.