Respected in the game for his pen and flair for visuals, North Carolina rapper Mez is ready for his turn in the spotlight. Returning with his first new song since 2022 and first studio release since 2020, the GRAMMY-nominated rapper shares “Call On,” a vibrant new song and music video. The song is a tale of two verses–in the first, Mez works a double-time flow, rattling off witticisms and SAT words as he warns his fellow rappers how praise can turn to jealousy on a dime (“Do wild sh*t when you know that you a genius/Don’t trust sh*t, how you make it to your zenith/N****s say it’s all love, but the president of your fan club can turn out like Selena’s”), while the second verse works in some easy melody and luxury life flexes, as Mez gives into the urge to return to the game. The verses are beautifully complemented by a hook from Trinidad-born, Berlin-based artist Kurtis Wells, whose hazy vocals express longing and hard-earned ambition.
Directed by Mez himself, the music video features a musician playing and screened-out cello and Mez rapping with a live drummer amid a field of TV screens, each showing a different angle and portion of Mez’s performance. The video is a sly commentary on how our life is dominated by screens: we might have more access and information than ever before, but we are still at the mercy of what the broadcaster decides to show.
Mez’s upcoming EP is the culmination of his long journey through the music industry. Emerging out of Raleigh in the early 2010s, Mez was a leading light in a fertile NC rap scene that birthed underground and mainstream stars. Mez’s sharp lyrics and assured artistic vision helped convince some of music’s biggest stars to trust him with their creative visions. Then known as “King Mez,” the rapper was one of the driving forces behind Compton, Dr. Dre’s long-awaited third album, appearing on nine tracks and writing on several others–his efforts drew praise from the likes of Pitchfork, NPR, Vulture, and many others. Mez has been a regular affiliate of his friend and fellow North Carolinian J. Cole, and has contributed several verses to Dreamville compilations, including Revenge Of The Dreamers III and last year’s Creed III: The Soundtrack. Mez is also a renowned video director, stepping behind the camera for clips like J. Cole’s “Middle Child” and “a m a r i,” Dreamville’s “Sleep Deprived” (on which he also raps), plus videos for Ari Lennox, Isaiah Rashad, and more.
Now, Mez steps back into the forefront, armed with his own message and more than enough talent to make it known. Stay tuned for much more from the multi-talented artist in the near future.
© 2024, Seth “Digital Crates” Barmash. All rights reserved.