Melvoni is only 17 years old and ready to take over the rap game. The nickname BabyFace is because he’s always looked younger than he actually is — but one day in Los Angeles, he posted a selfie. One loyal fan, who’s been with him since he had less than a thousand followers, commented “babyface killa.” It’s been BabyFace ever since.
Switching off between singing and rapping, it was his breakout single “No Man’s Land” that showcased his ability to create a hit, while spitting about real-life experiences growing up in the grittiness of New York life. The Brooklyn native actually spent his early years travelling between the States and Jamaica, blending both cultures into his own style and sound. While working part-time at a grocery store, he eventually turned to the streets and began hustling. Thankfully, music would be his saving grace.
Melvoni describes himself as “tall, nappy-headed, singing-ass, witty-ass, calm, collected, cool,” while always remaining true to who he is. Now, he returns with the official music video for “Stackhouse,” recounting his rise from rags to riches. Flaunt caught up with the Epic Records signee to discuss his upbringing in Brooklyn, friendship with YSN Flow, creating “No Man’s Land,” shopping for his people, and more!
Being from Brooklyn what was the household like growing up?
It was like every other Brooklyn household. One bedroom with 6 people. I grew up in a Jamaican household. It wasn’t that bad, I was going back and forth between Brooklyn and Queens, because my grandma got a crib in Far Rockaway, Queens. I always went to school in Brooklyn, basically lived in Brooklyn.
Born to Jamaican parents, does that influence your music at all?
Definitely, my dad’s heavy on the music scene in Jamaica. I listen to all the underground artists before they come up, the same way it is in America. Jamaica’s another country so everyone don’t be hearing them out here. I’m more into the gangsta shit from over there. Rygin King before he blew up, I was fucking with his shit hard. Growing up, I listened to a lot of Movado and Tommy Lee. My dad’s brother was actually an artist, so music wasn’t anything strange to me.
You’re so young, when did you start recording?
I’ve always been writing music my whole life. Rapping was fun, it was a way to get girls in school and do battles and shit in the lunchroom, ah ah ah. Sometimes I’ll be with my mans, we’d get smacked and be freestyling to whatever. My friend Retro told me I need to go to the stu. I used to really sing sing. Females used to love me, so I kept doing it. I’d send voicemails, all types of shit.
Started rapping, going back and forth. I was looking for a studio for a whole year, nobody wanted to give it to me. I had a friend, his friend had a studio in his house. I was begging him to take me every day, n*ggas didn’t want to take me. I’m asking everyone where they’re recording, nobody wanted to tell me.
How old were you then?
I was 14 at this point. Some artist named Young Z from my building told me about a studio in Canarsie, Brooklyn. I already had friends from over that side so it was lit, I was in that. I went there at 15. It was Labor Day 2018, my first time recording a song. I recorded 2 songs in 3 hours: “Beautiful Girls” and “No Man’s Land.” I slapped that session, that’s when PayPal was lit.
Were they good?
Yeah, they’re good. I don’t have many songs out, they did some numbers on SoundCloud. I definitely don’t have more than 13 songs out, those are all the songs people are still listening to till this day. They did pretty good, off the rip. When I recorded, the engineer’s telling me I was one of the best people he’s ever recorded.
Bring us back to when you created “No Man’s Land” is at 5M on Youtube. Did you foresee it blowing up like this?
I was in my crib, about to go to LA. They sent over the beat, I hit him back like “this is hard.” It was a Bay Area beat, I wanted to save it for when I came to LA. I’m on the plane and made the line “play the block, play the block” on repeat. I couldn’t think of anything else, just that one line. I was out there for a label meeting, shout out Chris Turner. He got me a session at HitCo. I went in there, I was freestyling and left the second verse open. Pop Smoke was in LA, he was supposed to pull up on us.
We were either going to throw him on that song, or put him on some other shit called “Headcrack.” He ended up not coming because I have 2 managers, my other manager had passed out in the studio. The EMTs came. We had left the studio, took him to the hotel. I still had the song. I was fucking with it but it only had one verse, so I forgot about it. When I got back to New York, I was going to shoot “Ain’t No Surprise.”
My manager was like “why don’t you shoot “No Man’s Land’? Shit’s fire.” While I was shooting the video, it still had no second verse. I was only shooting around that one verse. In the second verse, you don’t see me singing a lot. When I got to the studio to shoot the video, I actually started recording the song at that very moment. Shit went crazy, dropped it and received mad love. Appreciate it.
How has your journey been with Epic?
It’s good I guess. I enjoy it over here. My team’s pretty solid. We’re working, that’s all I can say. I like doing shit my way, but they’re helping me grow.
Congrats on the new single “Stackhouse,” what’s one thing you want fans to get from this record?
I really made it for fun. That’s my first time getting money, I got some streaming money. When I was in the studio, I had 2 bands in 20’s like “damn I’m in LA, I’m lit right now.” I’m in the studio jumping around, that’s why you hear me breathe a lot. I was reflecting on all the shit in the past, that’s what all my music is.
Best memory from recording the WHO TF IS MELVONI EP?
I record all the time, so I picked out songs that I liked. I tried to give them a little variation to everything. Some songs I’m rapping, some songs I’m singing. Some songs were happy, some songs were moody. That’s my first project and it’s still going crazy, I appreciate my fans for that.
How much are you dropping at Saks now?
I’ve dropped 5 bands, feeling good. When I got little money, I didn’t go shopping for myself. I didn’t buy myself anything until this year. You have to start feeding your image and putting on clothes. I’m from Brooklyn, I’m a white tee ass person. I was shopping for my friends, my mom, my little sister, my brother, my managers. I was buying people phones, sneakers, whatever.
I was spending money hard. Everybody’s telling me I was wearing shoes from last year, like “dude, why are you still dressing like that?” I’m chillin’, I don’t go anywhere. I’m in the crib or in the studio, I don’t have a reason to dress up. But I hit 100K so I have to give people something to see, especially if I have females looking on my page. [laughs]
I remember YSN Flow talking about the Purple jeans.
See he’s from Ohio, that’s old drip. I was wearing that shit early. I was one of the first people in New York with Purple jeans. We were together in LA the other day, he’s wearing Purple jeans. I told him “you need to get some Amiris.” Shit’s last year.
You guys are good friends, where did you meet Flow?
Flow’s my only industry friend, and probably Toosii. Flow had hit me up for a feature when I was at 10K, he had 2K. I’d never seen it but once you see somebody once, you start seeing them everywhere. I started seeing him on Explore pages, my lawyer at the time started being his lawyer, his songs started gaining numbers. I’m like “damn, who is this n*gga?” Every time I come back to his page, he was growing and growing. He’s getting lit, then he’d pass me. He texted me while I was literally on his page, I’m in school skipping class. I hit him back, told him I was fucking with “Want Beef.” We’ve been locked in since.
Being only 17, are you still able to be a kid? What do you like to do for fun?
I’ma always end up being a kid. I do mad dumb shit. I do whatever I want, whenever I want, however I want. I don’t let anything get to my head. If I want to have fun, I’ma have fun. Unless I’m around people. When I’m around people, I get quiet. That’s the Brooklyn in me, but I play a lot. I love to play.
Three things you need in the recording studio?
I need hot chocolate, I need the lights to be low, I need at least one friend there. When I’m in the studio recording, I ask “how does it sound?” I need someone to give me feedback.
Talk about the Melvoni Approved Friday’s, where you’re dropping music biweekly.
We‘re dropping new music almost every Friday, it’s what my fans have been asking for. I was going to drop an EP, but there’s really no point since I dropped one months ago. I still want to feed my fans for the summer.