Event Reviews


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Monterey, CA – The California Roots Music and Arts Festival has become synonymous with the North American reggae and roots music scene, but for years the event has also featured some of the biggest names in hip hop. The 2015 edition had the legendary Roots headline and Cypress Hill also perform that year. Minneapolis’ Atmosphere has become a staple at the festival with 2020 being their fourth year. Cali Roots has also featured Rhymesayers labelmates Brother Ali and Dilated Peoples. 2018 included the Bay Area legend E-40, who brought his “hyphy” style to the stage and 2017 had old school revivalists Jurassic 5 getting the crowd going before the epic set from Nas blew everyone away that year.

2020 sees west coast hip hop legend Ice Cube headlining Sunday, May 24. The award-winning lyricist, producer, actor and director began his music career nearly 30 years ago with iconic rap group N.W.A. Ice Cube eventually left the group and established himself as a successful solo artist, releasing some of the most memorable rap songs of a generation including “Check Yo Self” and “It Was A Good Day.” He then became an accomplished actor with a number of starring movie roles from horror to comedy including the hilarious Friday series with Chris Tucker.

Jamaican dancehall artist Sean Paul, who makes his Cali Roots debut this year, also raps throughout his catalog including the GRAMMY award winning album Dutty Rock, that showcases his hits “”Gimme the Light,” “Like Glue” and “I’m Still in Love with You.” The album went 2 times Platinum in the U.S. cementing his place in modern music history.

“Hip hop evolved from Jamaican sound system culture and elements of reggae music, so it is so organic for me to book hip hop legends alongside our reggae & roots lineup each year,” states co-producer Dan Sheehan.” He adds, “Cali Roots fans look forward to the hip hop sets, which switches thing up a bit, while still keeping the Cali Roots vibe.”


The 11th Annual California Roots Music and Arts Festival

Dates: Friday, May 22, 2020 – Sunday May 24, 2020

Time: 10:00 am – 11:00 pm PDT

Venue: Monterey County Fair and Event Center

Address: 2004 Fairground Road, Monterey, CA 93940

Admission: Varies

Age restrictions: All Ages

Line Up

Friday, May 22




J Boog


Nahko And Medicine For The People

Tarrus Riley

The Movement


Nattali Rize


Natural Vibrations

Arise Roots

Kash’d Out

Saturday, May 23

Stick Figure

Sean Paul

Tribal Seeds

Trevor Hall

The Green

Collie Buddz

The Expendables

Dub Inc

Iya Terra

Bumpin Uglies

The Elovaters

Sensi Trails

Sunday, May 24

Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley

Ice Cube

Jimmy Cliff

Sublime With Rome

Common Kings

Cultura Profética

Durand Jones & The Indications



Mike Love


Through The Roots

Artikal Sound System

Vana Liya


Cali Roots Website

Cali Roots Facebook

Cali Roots Twitter

Cali Roots Instagram

Artist Promotion

The Dutchess

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This week we head over to Portland for the self titled debut album “The Dutchess”. The Dutchess made waves in 2018 when she became the Coast2Coast Live Showcase-Seattle winner. This set her up for a big 2019. She has packed clubs in Seattle and the Bay Area. The Dutchess has also released a music video for the track “Go Shit”. So let’s dive right in with our breakdown below.


Our Thoughts on the Project

  1. Function: The Dutchess is fire, I have goosebumps. She speaks clearly and her delivery is perfection. This song is a great way to start the album. I’m probably going to be saying “I came up her to function” from now on.
  2. Go Shit: The visuals are on point and go with the song. I love the colors and scenes. It’s a hype song and the visuals are there to match. It’s a vibe. The Dutchess definitely knows how to capture an audience with her catchy hooks and pop culture references.

3. Cocoa: This song is a bit slower than the others and not so much of a club anthem. This one is a ladies anthem style song. The hook and chorus are very sensual and tell a dude what she likes which I second.

4. No Loyalty: This song starts heavy and fast. The Dutchess wastes no time and goes in. Even with the speed you can still understand what she is saying which can often be a downside when speed spitting. The Dutchess has it and she has no shame in telling everyone how raw she is.

5. Mange: Everyone needs to stay in their own lane because The Dutchess gives zero fucks. She bout her paper and her music and she ain’t got no time for you fugayzi ass hoes.

6. Irrational: The Dutchess slows it down on this song at first to talk about building her empire. She then speeds it up a bit to continue her story. She has worked to get to where she is now and isn’t letting anything get in her way.

7. Queen Koopa: When I saw the tracklist I was most excited to hear this song because of the title. She did it justice. This song is all about her and her “big clit energy”. This is a banger and may be my fav song.

8. Tsunami: The Dutchess ain’t lying when she says “My wave hit like a tsunami, they craving me just like I’m some chocolate” because I am definitely craving more from her. Perfect way to end the album.


Final Thoughts

The Dutchess is a real spitter and true artist. I was pleasantly surprised by her bars and ability to convey her message. In recent times, we see many artists spitting nonsense and female artists will often focus on sexualizing themselves to sell. The Dutchess is not like that, she has the star power and talent to back it up. We will be following her journey very closely. If you want to hear more follow these links:



If you have an album or project featured on http://www.mellystarz.com send it over to mellystarzsubmissions@gmail.com or head over to our contact page.

Artist Promotion

Chronicle Saturday

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This week we take it to my hometown with Chicago based artist Chronicle. He brings us a 10 track album titled Saturday. You can stream the album on Spotify or right here:

So let’s get right into the track by track breakdown and our overall thoughts.

What we thought of the project

  1. Clarity: The first minute of this song is a lot of harmonizing and reminds me a bit of an old Evanescence song. Yes, that is a major throwback and probably ages me a bit lol. The song then picks up and Chronicle gives us a faraway flow. It is a smooth track.
  2. Noname: This song is a must listen off the project. I can’t find the words to describe how unique and deep it is.
  3. Say Goodbye Before You Go: This song is a bit different than the previous two and really showcases Chronicle’s vocal range. It is a beautiful ballad to an former love.
  4. Scuba Diver: This track is funky and I want more.
  5. Mush: This is more of an interlude at only about 45 seconds. It is smooth.
  6. Smoke: Trippy nights out is what this song is all about. It’s a bit of a blur.
  7. Staying Home: Pianos and poetry about Chicago cut me deep. I have literal goosebumps and watery eyes. Way to get me in the feels and missing home.
  8. Small Talk: 30 second guitar riff with few words.
  9. Orchard: I wish I had more to say about this track but there weren’t many words. It seems Chronicle is a man of few words but when he speaks they are meaningful.
  10. Saturday: OOh the RnB vibes are heavy on this one.

Final Thoughts

Chronicle is a rare gem with a unique sound. I was not expecting that from a younger artist. His talent is undeniable, I just wish his songs were a bit longer. That is literally my only complaint is that I want more. Chronicle is an old soul and I added much of this album to my personal collection of music.

If you enjoyed Chronicle’s Saturday, follow him on Instagram for more music. Sending love to all Chicago artists and looking forward to more from Chronicle. If you have a project you want featured on one of the top hip hop blog sites send an email over to mellystarzsubmissions@gmail.com or head over to our contact us page.

Artist Advice

CC vs BCC when emailing media outlets

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In this episode of the artist advice series we discuss the difference between CC and BCC on emails. Some artists reach out to various bloggers and media outlets by using a mailing list. That is not the major issue, the issue ensues when every single outlet is copied and can reply to each other. This can cause chaos to see the least. Cc is carbon copy while Bcc is blind carbon copy.

CC is best used when the parties on the email know each other and need to be provided the information contained within the email. BCC is best used when all parties need the information, do not need to know each other and do not need to reply to each other. You can use both in an email, none or just one. It all depends on the topic and content contained within the email.

Stay tuned every other week for a new advice video for artists. You can see the videos first over on my Youtube channel. Let us know what topics you want discussed in this series. What are some common issues you face when getting your music out there?