'Disco!' - MIKE: Closing Statements



THROUGHLINE


Marty: MIKE’s first solo-produced project shines brighter and more beautifully than its alluring album cover.


Carter: MIKE has shown consistent improvement in delivery, concept and presentation — his newest release sees the New York underground prophet at his happiest and most upbeat, which, in the grand scheme of things, is still relatively dark and complex.


PRODUCTION


Marty: While listening to this project, it felt as if I was gradually tuning a radio without a decibel of static. '30s big band music clashed with '70s soul to create a newfound musical aura. On top of this, MIKE’s precise technical choices on instrumentals like “Center City” and “ghoulish” propel this album to the top of my favorite projects this year. CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST and Disco! are the two best-produced projects of the year (so far) and they came out in the same week...


Carter: Disco! succeeds with instrumentation the same way almost any MIKE project does: experimentation. “Leaders of Tomorrow” and “Spiral/Disco” are soulful bookends, the latter of which contains some of MIKE’s strongest bars to date. “Aww (Zaza),” like many of the album’s records, comes in at a higher pitch than his usual macabre beatmaking. It’s worth mentioning that Disco! Is MIKE’s first wholly self-produced record. That alone is commendable, but on one or two occasions, I feel that he oversteps into over-craziness. “Alarmed!” is a little too hectic for my concentration — I found myself falling into a fuzzy, distracted lull; it just comes across as a bit too intense to focus on what’s being said.


WRITING


Marty: Throughout MIKE projects, sing-alongs are rarely present; each verse reads as a poem that is met with intense interpretation. His songs aren’t jam-packed with diction, but they have just enough to leave the listener with an adequate amount; that’s why MIKE is so great.


Carter: MIKE is grim, yet simultaneously distant and up-close on nearly every song this album has to offer. Through all the smoke, however, are his ultra-brilliant one-liners and multi-line schemes. On “Crystal Ball,” he raps, “Triumph in my late teens, treasuring my mid now” — this could go so many different ways. One of his denser, stronger moments is on “Babyvillain (in our veins)” — “Confessions that I skipped daily, pressure to exist / I got clever with them wins, that pessimism piss-taking.” Bravo MIKE, bravo.


FEATURES


Marty: There are only two features on this project, and they are used in very different but fantastic ways. Sideshow was first, laying down a stunning cadence and classic input about street life. Assia was second, quaintly serenading us while coasting on a melodic beat. As this project is dominated by MIKE, the features blend with his style superbly.


MESSAGE/CONCEPT


Marty: Although this album doesn’t have a clear-cut message like tears of joy, it is one of MIKE’s more hopeful albums. On “Aww (Zaza),” he simply states, “struggling, nah, but I’m recovering,” while on previous songs like “HURDLES,” he would say, “I know my reaper gon' kill me if I don't, I won't cry 'cause I sleep with my eyes closed.” These lyrical pieces of solaces intermixed with the cover art of a shining disco ball really give me the interpretation that MIKE is feeling more confident in each record.


FAVORITE MOMENT


Marty: The gradual build of momentum and the Sideshow verse in “alarmed!” really gave me insight into how great of an album Disco! was going to be.


Carter: “Aww (Zaza)” is getting thrown straight into my “favorites” rotation. His flow has the same bounciness as Earl Sweatshirt's “Nowhere2go,” as well as the muted piano keys dancing around this infectious cadence.


RATINGS


Marty: 9/10

Carter: 6.5/10