Mike Mictlan is a native to Southern California and a current proud resident of South Minneapolis. His style has roots in both scenes. In his delivery, he’s a rapper’s rapper and a technician. He can stick fast stuccato runs, flip a pattern, and freestyle long after everyone else has gone to bed. But he’s also a writer who doesn’t shy from big themes and personal narrative.
Mike met the founding members of Doomtree during his junior year in high school. In response to his deliquent streak, Mike’s parents had sent him from their L.A. home to live with his uncle in Minnesota. (No, the Fresh Prince storyline is not lost on us, please save your letters.) Living with his uncle and attending Hopkins High, he met P.O.S, Lazerbeak, MK Larada, and Paper Tiger. Although Mictlan soon returned to L.A., the Doomtree family tree had taken root. As the collective gained momentum in Minneapolis, Mictlan received more and more phone calls urging him to move to the Midwest. Five years later, he got off a plane with 2 duffel bags and a footlocker, ready to go wherever Doomtree was headed. In his debut collaboration with Lazerbeak, Hand Over Fist, Mictlan employed his understated poetry to epic effect. The album goes by in a pageant of imagery: of fire and flight, long odds and close calls.
A lot has changed in the four years since Mike Mictlan released Hand Over Fist, his first full-length album in collaboration with Lazerbeak. He’s played a key role in helping Doomtree, his rap crew for over a decade now, steadily climb into the national spotlight; touring the world over again and again, playing major summer festivals (Lollapalooza, Paid Dues), and winning over critics the likes of Pitchfork, MTV, Spin, and Rolling Stone off of their collaborative 2011 release No Kings.
SNAXXX is the culmination of those four years grinding it out on the road, and it marks a giant leap forward from Mike’s previous solo work. His million-mile-a-minute delivery, tongue twister patterns, and abstract introspection remain completely intact, but there is a much more playful, ambitiously creative side that now creeps heavily into the mix. Musically, SNAXXX takes the traditional everything-plus-the-kitchen-sink Doomtree sound and blows the doors off the hinges. New comer 2% Muck (Tha Clerb, Spyder Baybie Raw Dog) produces 11 of the 15 tracks, and it’s his rapid fire snare patterns, crushing low end, and blown out synth lines that anchor and shape this new sonic direction for Mike. SNAXXX also features a slew of Minnesota’s finest up and coming rappers (Lizzo, Greg Grease, Spyder Baybie Raw Dog, Freez) along with lifelong Doomtree partner-in-crime P.O.S, who shows up on two of the album’s cuts.
Doomtree released SNAXXX for free in the fall of 2012 while Mike wraps up his next official full length, HELLA FRREAL in order to give people a taste of where he’s at now and where he’s headed. With mainstream appeal, surgical precision, and unshakable crew love, Mike Mictlan is an unparalleled force in the underground. His live show is a spectacle of sweat and laughter and fury and communion. You could search every venue in every city, but you will not find an emcee in rap music with more heart than Mike Mictlan. No hype, just a simple guarantee. He believes in the music, the movement, and in his crew of friends. To see him in person, and to hear his voice, makes it hard not to believe it too.
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Hand Over Fist (with Lazerbeak)