Mez Is Plugged In (and Fully Loaded)

The multihyphenate Raleigh rapper shares more on his debut project ‘The Loading EP,’ which builds a world of technical apparel and technological havoc.

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Few are more tapped in than Mez – and he knows it.

“Girbaud jeans and the smoke from the Mild Black and girls can’t shut the f*ck up when we tracking / I’d search Internet, Hypebeast, I stayed tapped in / “What’s that you wearing?” N*ggas was always asking,” he spits on “Devil is a Judge” from his long-awaited debut project The Loading EP.

“I was the only one reading Hypebeast where I grew up,” he recalls. “It was so southern. We’d be passing through farms and sh*t on the school bus and I’d have on the fragment design. I was always kind of futuristic,” the Raleigh artist, formally known as King Mez, recalled to Hypebeast.

“I felt like that one meme of the squiggly dude in the corner like ‘No one knows what I’m wearing.’”

Aside from HYPEBEAST, The Loading EP is full of well-placed and witty fashion bars – including shouts to Hiroshi Fujiwara, A-COLD-WALL*, and BABY MILO. Complete with a diverse list of featured artists including Isaiah Rashad, Leon Bridges, Childish Major and SAINt JHN, Mez also opens the seven-track project with a clip of Virgil Abloh speaking at the end of “Yeah Yeah.”

“Do opposites. It just feels better. But then that space in between gives you a new experience that you can apply and problem-solve. That’s why I think I work on so many things at one time. I couldn’t just do one project day in and day out. I think it’s actually not healthy.”

Mez deeply relates to this quote: “All of my ideas feed off one another. I ebb and flow between mediums,” he explains. He regularly balances visual work for his Made by Heirs production company with making his own music and dabbling in the fashion space. “I think there’s narrative in everything.”

Be it fashion, technology, film, or music, the multifaceted artist is plugged into all aspects of the cultural zeitgeist, and this is exactly what he explores on The Loading EP, complete with captivating cinematic visuals that comment on the chokehold technology currently has on society.

The rapper, who lists Yorgos Lanthimos and Christopher Nolan as his favorite directors and A Chinese Portrait and The Matrix as his favorite films, explains that he took a “film production approach” to the EP’s rollout, abiding by a detailed timeline and whiteboard.

A key part of the album was curating its wardrobe. With a particular affinity for technical apparel, Mez also designs most of the clothing he performs in. The olive green vest he dons in the “Call On” video he created in collaboration with Raleigh Denim’s Victor Lytvineko. Citing Salomon and Engineered Garments as other brands he’s feeling right now, Mez adds that he’s also drawn to camouflage, as both of his parents served in the army. He throws this personal tidbit in on “Around The World,” the project’s bouncy closer with Leon Bridges (“I just want the girl from the mall in the camo pants to come right here and recruit me,”).

All of these personal touchpoints interspersed throughout the project make Mez who he is, a well-oiled machine fueled by interconnected cables. It’s important for Mez to articulate his personality in his music – something he admires Ye’s A College Dropout for doing so well – and he uses metaphors to do so. “I’m always trying to find ways to get people where I want them to feel faster,” he continues. “Just because you have great taste does not mean you know how to articulate great taste, and that’s what I’m trying to master.”

“I’m the plug and you’re the outlet / And I really love your outfit / But that sh*t would look much better on the floor / This ain’t that shaky wifi at your mama crib / This like a hot spot cause we still gon’ be connected when I go,” he delivers slickly on “Hot Spot” with Isaiah Rashad.

The EP also leans heavily into these technological motifs, all of its visuals featuring screens, wires, cables and keyboards, yet another nod to Mez’s past as he was an engineering major in college. “I remember being in my auto mechanic class in my Hiroshi Fujiwara t-shirt under the hood of my car fixing my brakes,” he laughs.

The “Hot Spot” audio opens with Mez starting his car, and the video opens with him throwing a television in a bathtub. As Mez starts rapping, the TV transforms into a woman with the screen attached to her head.

“The album looks at a ‘screen’ as if it’s a window or a portal,” he clarifies, drawn to the duality of technology in today’s day-to-day life. “With portals, there’s always a caveat. I don’t think people quite understand the expense our phones and these screens might have on us. I can see everything going on in the world right now – that’s cool but it’s gonna be costly on me.”

The Loading EP’s growing archive of vivid visuals – all of which Mez directs himself – is no surprise. After making his directorial debut with J.Cole’s “MIDDLE CHILD” in 2019 – now on its way to Diamond status – Mez has continued to build quite the list of credits. Through Made by Heirs Productions, which he launched after releasing “MIDDLE CHILD”, he’s worked closely with Jack Bergert, directed videos for Isaiah Rashad, Ari Lennox, and SiR, and produced for Supreme.

“This album is me showing these stripes I’ve earned through the industry. I have this inward-facing lineage that people on the outside are finally getting to see.”


Stream ‘The Loading EP’ out everywhere now.

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