Alternative | Hip-Hop | Rap
Despite being released on a Monday of all days, the newest studio album from MIKE still didn’t slip under my nose. After having a slight dabble into his discography in late 2019, and especially after the release of his previous album, 2020’s weight of the world, I became a big fan of the New York rap artist, his shape-shifting flow, and his addictively abstract beats.
This was something that felt fully apparent when I ventured into weight of the world almost a full year ago. And along with all of the impressive features and versatility, MIKE himself stood as the beating heart of the record; the same can be said for his brand new album, dubbed Disco!.
Disco! was teased by a light aesthetic sprinkle, in the form of two tracks. The first to arrive, titled “Evil Eye” felt like a great stylistic leeway between MIKE’s all-round musical feel, and the vibrant and retro disco-esque aesthetic that would ultimately become a core part of the album’s consistency. That being said, it was a pleasing sight to see this teaser at the very forefront of the full album.
The disco aesthetic was enhanced even further by the second teaser track “Crystal Ball”, which, much like “Evil Eye” came complete with that ever-present sampling that is so masterfully implemented in the production of MIKE’s records. These two tracks felt like very accurate representations of things to come on the full album. So that being said, both “Evil Eye” and “Crystal Ball” succeeded as teasers with flying colours.
So with the teaser tracks addressed, time to go into more detail about the aforementioned aesthetic that coats every corner of Disco!. While weight of the world had versatility as its main merit, Disco! was enjoyable for a completely different reason. The whole focus on a disco aesthetic truly gave the album an enjoyable sense of consistency.
What impressed me even more, was that when you normally think of a rap artist taking inspiration from disco, you get…well…disco rap, which in my opinion, is quite a hard fusion of genres to get right. For most artists who go down this avenue, it ends up leaning either too far towards one genre or the other, more often that not. But in the case of MIKE and Disco!, the experience clearly takes that disco inspiration, while also feeling like a natural fit in MIKE’s discography; a successful blend of the two genres.
However, despite all of the things that Disco! does get right, it unfortunately does have a few things to nitpick as well. I would say, even more so than weight of the world, that Disco! has quite a few tracks that felt very patience testing, or even a bit too experimental in composition for their own good. It feels like a gamble MIKE always seems to take with his albums, where his reliance on production looping can either hit or miss. I would say that the duds felt more abundant in the later part of this album, which is kind of a shame, considering how invested I was in the earlier segment of Disco!.
But to counter the nitpicks I just made, the final quality that really sticks out, is one that certainly felt true in the case of weight of the world, but is perhaps even more apparent on this new record, and that is just how much the best tracks on here loop over and over in my head. In other words, a lot of MIKE’s stuff is extremely memorable, with the material of Disco! recently making up a large percentage of that.
All in all, I feel that Disco! has the potential to possibly surpass the overall enjoyability of MIKE’s previous effort. but of course, it will mostly be a matter of standing the test of time. As it stands now, however, Disco! is a shining reflection of this rappers raw uniqueness and talent.
Favourite Tracks: Leaders of Tomorrow (Intro)| Center City | Crystal Ball
Least Favourite Track: Babyvillain (in our veins)
Enjoyment: 8/10 | Memorability: 8/10 | Atmosphere: 9/10
Uniqueness: 9/10 | Satisfaction: 7/10 | Narrative: 8/10