MIKE is a 21-year old rapper from the Bronx who has turned grief and pain into one of the most unique sounds in rap right now. In 2015 he founded sLUms—a collection of like-minded talented individuals where we would see MIKE’s style develop even further.
Leading to his relationship with Earl Sweatshirt. I’m not about to sit here and say that Earl stole MIKE’s sound but Some Rap Songs and Feet of Clay is right out of MIKE’s playbook. Short 1-3 minute songs, looping samples and low-fi audio with non-sequitur bars.
I suppose we are all MF Doom’s children.
Weight of the World is top to bottom already one of the best albums of the year so I don’t mean to make this all about Earl Sweatshirt but after years of playing footsie, we are finally given a track with these two titans to end the project.
Produced by MIKE, Allstar is a classic hypnotizing beat that’s perfect for forming his quick phrases and ideas in a way that makes you want to listen to his songs on repeat.
“Try to tell you that we safe, but we keep dyin'”
It’s fascinating seeing Earl finally get on a track with MIKE because the influence is so clear. From the deep voice to the rapping cadence to the way he chooses to enter and exit and re-enter the beat.
And while Earl can kind of meander and get repetitive on his own solo tracks, he is absolutely focused on grabbing that baton from MIKE and getting to the finish line.
“They only tall from the stilts down.”
For years we all begged for a Tyler The Creator and Earl Sweatshirt collab album but Allstar makes it very clear that MIKE and Earl are the pairing that we always deserved. Shaq and Kobe shit.
Not that Earl’s last effort—Feet of Clay—was bad by any means but this song really brought out a sense of urgency from him that hasn’t been around for a minute. Welcome back Earl Sweatshirt.
Also quick shout out to MIKE for flipping that Nancy Wilson song.
In 2019, MIKE released tears of joy, an album about the death of his mother which I still believe is his best work but Weight of the World easily slides into the No. 2 of his discography power rankings.
“Why do grievin’ in the bed be the best option?”