You might think hearing rap at a young age wouldn't be a big deal for a kid in the US, but for Melymel, who spent her childhood in a mostly merengue household, the genre introduced her to a new world. “The first time I heard rap, I was like seven years old,” she tells People CHICA. “I heard Tupac and I heard Lauryn Hill, I was like, 'Yep, I'd love to say that. Apparently their moms are not spanking them for using that language, so why can't I use it? ' That's when I realized you could actually say that on a track. I was like, 'That's lit!'”
La Mama del Rap grew up in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and at age 12 began to write verses and over time got into freestyle. In 2006 she took the stage as an artist for the first time with the single “Fresa,” and a year later released her first mixtape, Sensation Marmalade. Since then, she hasn't stopped breaking barriers for women in the music industry.
She's worked with artists like Ivy Queen, Mozart La Para and DJ Bliss, but has a few other musicians on her bucket list. "I would love to work with Kendrick [Lamar]," she says. “He is such a great example for the rap that I grew up listening to. The fact that he even won a Pulitzer, nobody has ever done that. So I think Tupac would have been very proud of him.”
As for the uproar surrounding the lack of nominations for urban artists at the Latin Grammys this year, Melymel's not interested in the controversy. "They gave Grammys to all of the urban [artists last year], so this year is for the new blood," she says. "I don't understand the big deal."
Aside from music, the 31-year-old has also dabbled in the film industry and has been very successful in the Dominican Republic, appearing in more than 10 movies and receiving a lot of recognition for her work. She also has her own reality show, La Melmelada Reality, where she gives fans a closer look into her life and tries to help her community as much as she can.
While Melymel is still basking in the success of her latest album, Dragon Queen, she's already working on another project with a new label. “We already have a few songs ready,” she tells CHICA. “It's been a great journey since my last album to the making of this new album, because now I have the support of a North American label called Empire. So I feel very much supported way more than before, because for me, it's a big thing that somebody that doesn't even speak Spanish is interested in signing me. So I'm like, 'Damn, they like my flow.' I'm digging it."
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