Album of the Week: Killer Mike - Michael | 2023 Week 24
Veteran rapper steps out from Run The Jewels for his first solo album in over a decade, bringing the likes of André 3000, Young Thug, Future, 2 Chainz and more along for the ride + new records from King Gizz, SUPEREGO, QOTSA, Kool Keith and more
Before you even hit play on the opening cut of Killer Mike’s new album, the fact he has simply called it Michael (i.e. his real, birth name) tells you he’s not here to muck around - not that the influential, veteran MC ever does when it comes to releasing music.
Famously getting his start as a protege of Outkast and making his debut on their legendary 2000 LP Stankonia, Killer Mike’s gone from strength-to-strength over the last two plus decades, releasing a string of respected solo albums before teaming up with hip hop mainstay and influential producer/rapper El-P to form Run The Jewels, who have been dominating the last ten years.
A creative polymath, Killer Mike has been as successful on the screen as he has the studio and stage, from his own Trigger Warning TV program to appearances on the likes of South Park, Ozark, Dave and more. With his last solo record, 2012’s R.A.P. Music, now over a decade old, the time is right for Killer Mike to release his sixth and most complete solo album to date - the powerful & personal sounds of Michael.
Across 14 tracks and a myriad of high profile features, one of the most striking things about Michael is just how well the features work while keeping the emphasis squarely on Mike which is no mean feat with the likes of CeeLo Green, Young Thug, Ty Dolla $ign, Curren$y, 2 Chainz, André 3000, Future and more guesting - sometimes with a few high profile names on the same cut.
Showing his depth and diversity as an MC, Mike’s delivery switches up according to the beats (with the album produced by No.I.D) that also cover a lot of ground. Steeped in soulful gospel sounds, the record bounces from modern trappy flavours to classic Memphis vibes, jazzy brokenbeats and laidback boom bap sounds and more.
While we’ve been blessed with RTJ albums over the last decade, for Killer Mike fans both new and old alike, Michael is sure to become an instant new favourite that was more than worth the decade long wait.
The best of the rest of this week's records:
Django Django - Off Planet [Because Music / Virgin Music Australia] ENG
Django Django are touring Australia in October 2023 - tickets here
Hand Habits - Sugar The Bruise [Fat Possum Records] USA
Home Is Where - the whaler [Wax Bodega] USA
Rock / Alternative
Jack River - Endless Summer [I OH YOU] AUS
King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard - PetroDragonic Apocalypse [KGLW / Virgin Music Australia] AUS
Rock / Metal
Kool Keith - Black Elvis 2 [Mello Music Group] USA
Queens of the Stone Age - In Times New Roman... [Matador Records] USA
SUPEREGO - Who Are You Hiding From? [ALLBREED] AUS
The Teskey Brothers - The Winding Way [Ivy League Records] AUS