MIKE - Disco! Music Album Reviews

MIKE - Disco! Music Album Reviews
MIKE’s place in the vanguard of New York underground rap has invigorated him. It would be a stretch to call this album happy, but the atmosphere is undeniably warmer and more hopeful.

MIKE likes to share new music on June 21 of any given year: Of the seven projects the New York rapper has released since his 2017 breakthrough May God Bless Your Hustle, four were released on the first day of summer. It’s unclear exactly what significance the date holds, but it marks MIKE as a creature of habit. He’s spent the past four years excavating his mind, using raps and soupy beats to sift through trauma and grief, particularly the loss of his mother a couple years ago. It’s as if each new drop is a timestamp of his emotional state, another ring on his tree. On his latest album, Disco!, MIKE finds something that’s eluded him for quite some time: acceptance. It would be a stretch to call this album happy, but the atmosphere is undeniably warmer and more hopeful. He’s no longer drowning in his emotions and wishing for a better tomorrow, as he was on 2020’s weight of the world and 2019’s Tears of Joy; he’s swimming toward the light on the horizon.

Getting there is still work. MIKE’s understanding of this delicate tug-of-war stretches deep into his catalog, but Disco! stands out by being his most confident album yet. Though the beats are another batch of layered sample collages, this time fully self-produced under his dj blackpower pseudonym, they soar more often than they seethe. Many of these songs bask in full-bodied arrangements: shimmering organs on “Aww (Zaza),” twinkling guitar strums and horn stabs fit for a family barbecue on “Leaders of Tomorrow (Intro)” and “Crystal Ball.” Some, like the winding “Endgame,” coax MIKE out of his usual mid-tempo flow to glide over piano keys and a muted drum loop. The beat feels determined to run him off the road, but he maintains his pace while balancing thoughts both sunny and bleak: “My obligation to the rhythm till my chest break.”

Some of these songs feel steeped in the same murky ambience as past projects (“alarmed!” is one of the most arresting songs he’s ever made), but MIKE’s rhythmic passion manifests in a firm self-awareness absent from his earlier work. He hasn’t exactly outrun his demons, but his place in the vanguard of New York’s underground rap scene has invigorated him. He’s as open about his hunger for respect (“You flexing just to stick out, I flex because of great genes”) as he is about his resolution to call his sister more often. The raps about his mother that close out opening track “Evil Eye” are delivered with a conviction that powers through the blurry vocal mixing. On “Aww (Zaza),” you can hear his smile as he declares, “Struggling? Hmm, nah, but I’m recovering.” His gains as a lyricist on Disco! represent the difference between conceptualizing a plan and executing it.

Even with the new steps he’s taken, MIKE still has a few emotional gut punches in store. Some happen so quickly that they don’t register until well after they’ve landed. “Sometimes I thought to take the losses as a gift/’Cause only death will show you how to live, right?” he says without breaking a sweat on “Leaders of Tomorrow.” It isn’t quite as pithy a bar as May God Bless Your Hustle’s “Hunger make you eat your words instead,” but it harnesses the blunt energy of MIKE’s earlier work to illustrate his perspective changing in real time. He’s not living in the past anymore.

“Endgame” opens with a vocal sample that neatly ties up the themes of the album: “How does one illuminate a dark, muddy sky? There’s only one thing left to do; you gotta ram at the darkness with your rhyme,” a woman’s voice says. MIKE’s sky has been overcast for a long time. Like frequent collaborator Navy Blue, he knows there are no shortcuts through the labyrinths of familial trauma and deteriorating mental health. But knowing when to punch through the fog instead of letting it settle around you is key to making it out the other side. In this sense, Disco! is a triumph. It’s less a singing-and-dancing, public reclamation of self than it is a silent disco, a reminder that introspection and consistency can break any curse.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
MIKE - Disco! Music Album Reviews MIKE - Disco! Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on June 30, 2021 Rating: 5


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