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Hip-hop band Mello-D & the Rados was founded by Darnley “Mello-D” Hodge in Richmond, Virginia in 1996. Mello-D was born August 1, 1977 in New Haven, Connecticut. In 1980, he and his family moved to Alexandria, Virginia. At the age of nine Darnley started playing clarinet and saxophone. He also began rapping. In 1995 Mello-D graduated from Mount Vernon High School and accepted a football scholarship to Virginia Military Institute. At VMI football training camp he suffered a knee injury and eventually transferred to Virginia Commonwealth University where he had been accepted in to the School of Mass Communications. During college he started playing keyboards and bass and eventually started a band called "The Desperados" which eventually became "The Rados" and finally "Mello-D & the Rados". Mello-D & the Rados quickly earned a reputation for putting on a thrilling live show with performances all over Virginia and Washington, D.C. In 1998 Mello-D graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with a B.S. in Mass Communications. He played in the Jazz program at VCU and he also competed in track and field. In 2000, Mello-D moved back to the Washington, D.C. area where he currently lives.


The 1998 debut of Mello-D's first album, Backsliding, received high praise from within the music industry, introducing this multi-talented artist to the world in a big way. The 2002 release of The Ultimate Truth built on that momentum producing the lead single, "Keep On", which climbed all the way to #2 on the HITS / Rap Attack radio charts. Along with the success of "Keep On", Mello-D & the Rados released a music video for the second single, "Stupid Jerk", which featured comedian T.L. Fitz (Comic View, Apollo) and was televised on BET, MHZ Networks and other national video programs.

In 2004, Mello-D & the Rados released the album Antitainment. The lead single "Cool Witchu" hit the top #3 on college radio nationwide and the music video was played regularly on B.E.T., MTV2, MTVU, FUSE TV and other major video outlets exposing Mello-D & the Rados to over 100 million people worldwide. Mello-D also recorded the "Cool Witchu" remix featuring the legendary KRS-ONE. The band has sold thousands of CDs all over the world. Mello-D & the Rados has toured England and Brazil pulling over 10,000 fans into the shows.

2008 brought the fourth Mello-D & the Rados album entitled "Antitainment Vol. 2: Truth... Lies... Etc." and features guest appearances from KRS-ONE, V. Rich, Akshan and Jonny Black. Mello-D says, "Antitainment Vol. 2 is a continuation of the previous album except we've taken it up a notch. Our mission has always been to make great music with a purpose. The purpose is to get the listener to see the world, the media and themselves in a different way while at the same time strectching the boundaries musically and creatively. We want you to take the lock off your brain and open your eyes. This is a movement. This is not entertainment. This is Antitainment."

Mello-D & the Rados has performed and/or recorded with KRS-ONE, Jill Scott, The Roots, Dead Prez, Les Nubians, Digable Planets, Jimmy Cliff, Maxi Priest and he has played with jazz legends like Charlie Hampton, Herb Smith, Barry Harris, George Coleman and Clark Terry.

Honors: Grammy Nomination Ballot in five categories in 2007 Best Hip-Hop Group/Duo Wammie Nominee 2009 Voted one of the Top 5 bands in DC by DC Lottery

The current band members are: Mello-D (emcee/sax), Olugbenga Mazi (drums), D'Salaam (bass) and DP (guitar)


“Backsliding” - Mello-D & the Rados (1998)
“The Ultimate Truth” - Mello-D & the Rados (2002)
“Antitainment” - Mello-D & the Rados (2004)
"Don't Sleep... Just Dream" - Jarrard Anthony (2004)
"The Hustle" - Bomani Armah (2006)
"Antitainment Vol. 2: Truth...Lies...Etc." - Mello-D & the Rados (2008)


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