Jesse Boykins III and MeLo-X are two musicians that walk the road less traveled by. Blending musical and sartorial influence from the many lands they travel to with their gift of music, Giant Step contributor Andrea Castillo caught up with the two a couple weeks before their first collaborative release, Zulu Guru, hit. Amongst our topics were the creative process of making the album, and how the guys would like their music to be received by the people. Zulu Guru is out today (stream on AOL).
Together you guys have embarked on a musical journey, and are releasing your first album together called Zulu Guru. Tell me about the road up until this point; I’m familiar with both of your musical stylings, and I want to know why you decided to do this together. What was the first conversation you had and said, “Oh, let’s do this thang!”
Jesse: We’re both Jamaican.
MeLo: First conversation, being Jamaican.
So was that your connection?
M: Yea, that was like the only reason why we did the album.
J: I don’t really know him besides that…
M: You know it’s funny, but we’ve always been talking about doing an album together, and I believe the first album we spoke about doing together was gonna be a reggae album.
J: Nah seriously, we said that.
M: We said, “Let’s do a reggae album”, so that’s how it kinda started. We need to do something together, and then we started bouncing ideas…
J: This album is reggae influenced
M: Most definitely, West Indian influenced.
J: …this is our reggae album. This is as reggae as we can get without getting weird.
Would you say this has been years in the making?
M: Yea, I’d definitely say that. Conceptually, yes, but actually working on it, not that long.
J: We took like nine months to do the project. We started around this time last year, so I guess a year. But the creative process of us doing the songs is pretty cool because I would like, call Melo with a concept and I would have a debate, and he doesn’t like it. I would call him back again, and we would get up together, and we’ll be vibing, and we write this crazy verse, then we record it. That’s pretty much what the process was with every song, nothing was forced. Everything was pretty organic. …it was a real[exchange].