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At twenty-four years old, MIKE's age can be deceiving. He is an integral figure in birthing a new sound and style of hip hop that has gained wide influence since it first broke in underground circles in 2017, and MIKE's music itself carries the insight, pain, and fatigue that often comes with age and long life lived.
Born in New Jersey, MIKE moved to London with his mother before settling in The Bronx for the remainder of his later teenage years. Both regions have had an audible influence on the young rapper's music - in England he was immersed in grime and the music of King Krule, and in the United States he was turned on to Earl Sweatshirt and MF DOOM. In New York, MIKE connected with several artists who had a similar ear and style, and formed a collective called [sLUms]. Consisting of Adé Hakim, Darryl Johnson, King Carter, Jazz Jodi, and DJ Mason, the group established a unique sound that created waves throughout underground hip hop circles across the country.
In 2017 MIKE released his mixtape May God Bless Your Hustle. The project perfectly captured a singular moment in a city where the only constant is change. With features from Standing on the Corner, Wiki, Mal Devisa, and more, as well as production from Ade Hakim, Tony Seltzer, and Austin Williamson of Onyx Collective, May God Bless Your Hustle was a snapshot of the sound of underground New York rap in 2017. It received a Best New Music review from Pitchfork as MIKE started to gain international attention outside of New York City.
At the end of 2018 MIKE released his album War In My Pen independently, and followed it up in mid 2019 with Tears of Joy, his second album to be selected for Pitchfork’s Best New Music. He released his most recent album, Weight of the World, in 2020. Nearly entirely self-produced, and only containing features from Jadasea and Earl Sweatshirt, it is one of MIKE’s most introspective and sonically diverse releases to date. MIKE has opened tours for Blood Orange, Earl Sweatshirt, and Freddie Gibbs, and performed at festivals such as Governor’s Ball, Primavera, Coachella, MoMA PS1 Warm Up, Pitchfork Festival, and more.
Disco! followed Weight of the World, and saw MIKE combine his new style of production with his top tier songwriting and delivery. The project is at times more upbeat and catchy than his previous work, but still carries the emotional weight that is characteristic of MIKE's music. Now MIKE is preparing to release his next album Beware of the Monkey. There will have been 18 months between Disco! and Beware of the Monkey, the longest gap between MIKE projects since 2015. In that time MIKE headlined US and European tours, and created original music as part of projects with several brands including Telfar, Tommy Hilfiger, and Patta.
Beware of the Monkey’s title is a reference to a Chinese horoscope MIKE saw for his birth year (year of the Tiger) in a Chinese restaurant, which said "Beware of the Monkey." As MIKE has grown older, and amassed a larger fanbase, the more pitfalls and tricks he has had to navigate: both within his personal life and the music industry. "Beware of the Monkey" is a warning that speaks to those experiences. The album features the intense introspection that is characteristic of a MIKE project, but also his most commanding and engaging production work to date. Beware of the Monkey finds the most confident and determined MIKE to date, as he crosses the line from child prodigy to full fledged artist and stakes out his place as a force to be reckoned with in the current rap landscape.