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Obaren: MIKE LIVE 22/11

At twenty-two 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’s one of MIKE’s most introspective
and sonically diverse releases to date. MIKE has opened tours for Blood Orange and Earl
Sweatshirt, and performed at festivals such as MoMA PS1 Warm Up, Pitchfork Festival, and
Capitol Hill Block Party.
Over the past year MIKE immersed himself in electronic and house music, listening to artists
such as Steve Spacek and Park Hye Jin. He released two largely instrumental projects partially
inspired by these new influences: BLP2020 “King of the Night” and BLP2021 ”for ur own good.”
Disco! is the first MIKE release since Weight of the World, and sees 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. The result is MIKE’s most engaging and interesting body of work to date, as he
continues to evolve the style of rap that he pioneered.