Mello Buckzz

Interview: Aleia Woods
Image: Akira Ruiz
Editor’s Note: This story appears in the Winter 2023 issue of XXL Magazine, on stands in December.

Chicago can breed a hardened exterior for any MC. Still, Windy City native Mello Buckzz is chiseling away at her apprehensions and is using her boisterous rhymes to make a mark for herself. The 22-year-old rapper, born Melanie Doyle, is discovering a balance between the ever-present competitive sex appeal amongst lady MCs and upholding her authenticity. With big looks on the Latto-assisted “Boom Pt. 2” and a regional remix to Kaliii’s “Area Codes,” titled “Area Codes (773 Remix),” Mello’s heat is bubbling.

XXL: What are you working on right now?

Mello Buckzz: I’m definitely in tape mode. I’m just trying to do a lot of music. The more I go to the studio, the more I get better with freestyling. I have so much music to choose from. If I want to, I can drop a couple of tapes right now. It’s just the process of picking the [records], which ones are right, which ones are the best vibe, which ones are going to get me where I need to be.

What do you think helps you to stand out amongst other ladies in the rap game?

Where I come from, my style of girl, people deflect from because they judge me. You don’t know what I’ve been through, why I have to move like this, act like this or hang around these people. My fans and my supporters, they’ll rock with me so hard because of that. Because it’s something that they can relate to. People make universal music, and feel-good music and all that stuff, but what about the people that come from the trenches? We want to relate. We’re out in music. We want to rap about or listen to stuff we’ve been through. And a lot of people have my same story.

What has been the most difficult thing you’ve had to face in your rap journey so far?

A lot of people just tell me I’m hard, too much like a boy or [that I] need more sex appeal. Sometimes, I’ll be leaning a little bit more towards the other side a little bit too much. I think that’s definitely the hardest part for me. It’s like tapping into my girl side.

Who are some of your rap idols?

I’m going to start off with the men, OK? I’m going to say Drake, Lil Durk and Meek Mill. Female-wise, Foxy Brown, Lil’ Kim and Nicki Minaj. It’s so crazy ‘cause out of all of those people that I named, Foxy and Drake are the only ones who I haven’t either talked to or met.

See Mello Buckzz rap with LattoFlo MilliMonaleo and Maiya The Don in XXL's Cypher Lab, presented by the Starz Original Series Power Book III: Raising Kanan, below.

Watch XXL Cypher Lab Featuring Latto, Flo Milli, Monaleo, Maiya The Don and Mello Buckzz

Watch Latto, Flo Milli, Monaleo, Maiya The Don and Mello Buckzz Unite for a Real Conversation About Women in Hip-Hop

Watch Behind the Scenes of the Cypher With Latto, Flo Milli, Monaleo, Maiya The Don and Mello Buckzz

Mello Buckzz photo
Akira Ruiz/XXL

Read Mello Buckzz's interview in the Winter 2023 issue of XXL Magazine, on newsstands now. The new issue also includes the cover story with Latto and conversations with Killer Mike, Flo MilliDD OsamaMaiya The DonSexyy RedBigXThaPlug, plus more. Additionally, there's an exclusive interview with Fetty WapQuality Control Music's Coach K and P discuss 10 years into the label's growth, in-depth stories on the popularity of sampling in hip-hop in 2023 and the state of hip-hop touring, and the best moments of hip-hop's year-long 50th anniversary celebration.

See Photos From Latto's XXL Magazine Winter 2023 Cover Story