Bands to Watch 2012: Meechie Nelson

Chris DeVille
Meechie Nelson

Enter Meechie Nelson, a rapper for these times.

"Hot Chicks and Lacrosse Sticks," Nelson's latest mixtape, resembles a frat house party playlist: Middle-class bangers aspire to "Watch the Throne" opulence; frenetic dance pop reeks of Pauly D's cologne; quality, quantity and novelty rub elbows like drunken coeds in crowded rooms. You expect songs to end abruptly, as if some impatient millennial pressed "skip" between beer bong chugs.

None of this is accidental. Nelson's every move is target-marketed. It's never artificial, though; you always get the real him. In his own songs and with production duo Meech and Kellz, Nelson makes music his lacrosse bros would party to.

"I talk about partying so much," Nelson said. "Every laxer I've ever met, when it's time to party we go hard."

Raised in Westerville, Nelson's first love was lacrosse. He could have gone pro - he was first-team all-state four years straight - but when his brother Dionte died in a 2006 motorcycle accident, Nelson pursued music. That had been Dionte's advice.

Smart move. Since 2010 debut "Therapy Session," Nelson has repeatedly snagged a spotlight for his rapidly improving skills. He named his lacrosse stick Lucille (like B.B. King's guitar) and commemorated it in song. Via music video, he dubbed himself the Fresh Prince of Columbus. His hometown tribute "Wester-Ville" went viral. He makes regional rap for Polaris shoppers.

More is coming, including a "Mamma Proud" video around Mother's Day and an Ohio anthem timed for football season. On upcoming mixtape "Schizo," he'll rap over dubstep, electro and Korn's "Freak on a Leash."

"I never force it," Nelson said. "Whenever I release anything, it's for that time."

He is all about alliances, ceaselessly promoting his countless partners. With Ohio rap gaining traction, Nelson sees teamwork as essential to seizing the moment. He's thinking, as usual, in lacrosse terms.

"I'm starting to get pregame jitters," Nelson said. "All those practices, two-a-days - this is what we've been working for."

Meechie Nelson