“Hot Chicks and Lacrosse Sticks” — you can’t sum up Meechie Nelson’s aura more concisely than he did with the title of his second mixtape, released by Cleveland’s DJ E-V, to be celebrated Friday with a show at The Bluestone.
Nelson is a marketing guru as much as a rapper and producer. A proud “lax bro” with ties to the suburbs and the hood, the self-styled “Fresh Prince of Columbus” is a master of milking his uniqueness to grab attention for his ever-improving array of party jams.
Who else would think to name his lacrosse stick Lucille a la B.B. King’s guitar? Who else could get a rap video about Westerville to go viral? He’s not just being himself; he’s turning himself into a brand.
“I can name like 40 rappers up in this city that’s better than me at rapping, but there’s no personality. That’s all they do is just rap. There’s nothing that draws people,” Nelson said from across his MacBook at a Panera in Westerville. “The No. 1 thing you can do as an artist is have fans feel like they know you.”
Nelson’s been doing that since his debut “Therapy Session” dropped last year. Not surprisingly, he compares his musical progression to his Westerville South lacrosse career.
“Therapy Session” was a talented but tentative freshman year. “Hot Chicks and Lacrosse Sticks” is a more confident sophomore effort. His junior release will likely be called “Schizo,” a reference to his fear of getting boxed into one style.
Instead, Nelson wants to be like Jay-Z or Lil Wayne, a cult of personality who can turn heads on any kind of beat. On “Hot Chicks and Lacrosse Stricks,” he and co-producer Kellz aimed for such diversity. Grimy hip-hop songs “N.I.C.” and “Come on Bro” comingle with ultra-poppy electro tracks “Drink the Pain Away” and “Fist Pump Like Champs.” He dreams of having one single in rotation on Power 107.5 and a completely different single on WNCI.
He may have a shot at that goal with an ever-expanding flock of supporters in his corner, from his management (successful local rap and electronic promoters Royal Columbus) to his friends (a group of Westerville artists and athletes known as the F.R.A.T.) to many of the local rappers he shouts out on his 14-minute, 270-bar album closer “270.” Of course, a handful of folks weren’t happy about getting left out of that one.
“If I shouted out every rapper,” Nelson said, “I would have had to do 670.”
Then there’s his lacrosse contingent. Nelson started playing the sport after moving from urban Columbus to Westerville at age five. He pelts lacrosse blogs and professional teams such as the new Ohio Machine with emails and phone calls, seeking to turn a lifetime of lacrosse connections into a fervent audience for his music. But he also sees rap as a chance to take his favorite sport to the masses.
“I want to give back to lacrosse as much as it gave me in life,” Nelson said. “I want to make it mainstream.”