by Eric Tullis
King Mez has avoided becoming a walking, rapping contradiction for so long now that he's plateaued somewhere in the pre-boil plains, where he's both grounded by chastity and tempted by upscale tastes. On "New Vinyl," the DMV producer Oddisee outfits the Raleigh-raised MC with an elegant drum lounge—just a few BPMs and horn blares away from a splurge.
This MC/producer combination could scream perfection if King Mez screamed at all, but its strength lies in teaming two elite members of hip-hop's humble-brag society, where less is more as long as your less is 100 percent untouchable. In one verse, King Mez can rap, "I know deep down, I ain't doin this in vain/ Cuz I like nice things, but I ain't doin' this for no chains"—and in the next verse, he can get a little irked when a pretty woman accidentally spills salmon juice on his Yeezy 2s. No problem.
Now he has homies who work at DONDA, prodigal producer-friends, and a new publishing deal with Warner/Chappell Music, whose logo you'll soon see on King Mez's upcoming Long Live the King 2 project. This song is just a pit-stop treat until that release in the fall. For the uninitiated, King Mez describes "New Vinyl" as "yacht music," and while he might not share his counterparts' love for their first huge jewelry purchase (see J. Cole's "Chaining Day," Big Sean's "First Chain"), he still thinks as big.