I’m not gonna lie, this album took me a minute to get into. I had never really heard anything like this before I hit play. The production on this album is something else, the beat will sometimes fade in and out, it’ll glitch and distort itself, but MIKE won’t miss a beat. It was wild when I first heard it, but now that’s almost normal. After you listen to this project as many times as I have you find the beauty in MIKE having an “unorthodox” approach to his production. This album sees MIKE dive into a variety of topics: his longing for his Mother, his Father, his lack of empathy due to depression, and many other things. All over this enticing production that’s like ear candy. If you want to get the full scope of this album, you can’t just listen to it casually. To fully get the full effect, you gotta set some time aside. Wow, now I sound like a J. Cole fan. Ew.
MIKE really wears his heart on his sleeve all throughout this project. It doesn’t matter what he’s talking about,he approaches every subject poetically. On NeverKnocked he raps about how his situation often left him hungry, so he contemplated doing crimes in order to get it. The way he says it though is wild, if you don’t listen you’re gonna miss it. “Days when I was really in the crib hungry, Really ‘bout to lick something” Double entendre for yo ass boy. MIKE’s mother lives in London and that has had a huge impact on his entire life. Instead of showing his emotions he holds them in, on Prayers he says: “Since I was in the carriage, Holding in this frown like when you feel embarrassed, and instead of caring, I was heavy staring, Hoping not to feel the spirit“. That happens all throughout the album and it’s pretty refreshing to hear it.
MIKE also handles the production on this project too. No beat sounds the same, or even close to one another. MIKE samples songs in a way that you’d never know what the song just off first listen. He chops them up, distorts them, loops one second clips, but it doesn’t get annoying. My favorites have to be NeverKnocked and UCR. NeverKnocked starts off with this distorted string section with horns playing over top of them. Then those drums come in and everything meshes together it’s beautiful. There’s part in the bridge where he lets the sample play out, but seamlessly distorts it more throughout it playing, then the beat comes back in flawlessly. UCR is wild because it sounds like listening to a blender making a smoothie, but it’s still fire. Of course i’m biased, I love production like this. It’s really good though, then that beat just goes away and a sample of these triumphant vocals and MIKE’s energy turns up about 10 notches. The confidence he communicates is almost overwhelming, but it’s delivered in MIKE’s husky voice so it’s gives off an energy of: “Just wait ’till all this shit comes true.”
This album is very solid and it introduced me into a new genre of music that I wasn’t familiar with. Check it out if you haven’t, I would never recommend something that’s ass. Also King Carter is an amazing rapper wow.
Listen to War In My Pen here
You can try to follow MIKE on Instagram, but it probably won’t happen: @mikelikesrap
His twitter is open though: @t6mikee
Follow Deshaun everywhere: @deshaunstar