ALBUM REVIEW: MIKE – Weight of the World
BEST TRACKS: What’s Home ½, Allstar, Plans
FCC violations: every track
For the uninitiated, MIKE may appear to be just another artist capitalizing on the hazy lo-fi sound that has pervaded the underground hip-hop scene. While the album certainly embraces this aesthetic – its instrumentals are chock full of obscure loops, pitched vocal samples, and compressed drums – to say that Weight of the World is just another alternative hip-hop project would be a disservice. What sets MIKE apart from his contemporaries is his knack for delivering dizzying flows and his ability to convey emotional gravity in the mundane.
As I said before, Weight of the World does not shy away from lo-fi sensibilities. Every track features a sample so distorted that even the craziest of crate diggers would be hard-pressed to identify it. Out of time drums complement these woozy loops and leave plenty of room for MIKE’s weighty, baritone voice, which he uses to spit bars built upon dizzying internal rhyme schemes. This album’s consistent sonic palette conveys a sense of unity, so much so that Weight of the World feels like a 35 minute-long rap song with dozens of beat switches.
And speaking of raps, I would be remiss if I didn’t touch on MIKE’s lyricism. Through his flows he paints fragmented pictures of isolation and melancholy. He raps with an emotional intensity as though he carries – to reference the album title – the weight of the world on his back. With bars like “I need somethin’ fast, somethin’ that’ll cut the traffic/I know nothin’ lasts, prayin’ that don’t bust the sadness” or “The only thing that I inherited was blockin’ help, it’s part of pops’ concern/Remember cringin’ at the mirror, I was not myself, that’s still a lot to learn”, it’s clear MIKE is no stranger to his demons.
Weight of the World is a record whose charm may not be entirely apparent in the first listen. As such, it does require a degree of patience to enjoy. However, when you stop and listen, you’ll find that MIKE certainly has a lot to say.
I recommend this album to fans of introspective, experimental rappers such as Milo and Earl Sweatshirt.