Wednesday, September 4, 2013

[Album Review] Mike of Doom - Rookie of the Year

So often when it comes to following up great projects we see many artists try to capture what made their previous project so good. The follow up ends up becoming a poor man's version of the previous or artists try to hard to deviate from their previous work to make the follow up stand out more. Nine times out of ten that ends up failing and displeasing fans. Take Tyler, The Creator for example, a lot of Bastard/Goblin fans don't like Wolf and vise-versa. What makes Rookie of the Year so great is the fact that it isn't trying to be the The Mane and Mike didn't go away from what made him popular in the first place.

Often in my reviews I talk about how the artist was able to top their previous project and show growth. That's because their previous project was easily surpassable, however with Mike, The Mane was his signature tape. Hell it was his signature, he was literally The Mane. Yet somehow he found a way to best that tape and still retain his signature sound while also expanding it. Take "Lets Get This Paper!" which starts out as your typical Mike of Doom "The Mane" sound, loud and braggadocio, the second half however is an introspective look towards the future when he does succeed. It's similar to how Lupe flipped Kick Push. I honestly didn't think Mike was capable of something like that. 

Another thing that makes ROTY one of my favorite tapes to drop in 2013 is the production. This is probably the strongest tape I've heard all year production-wise. Credits to Mike for his ear for good production and to all the producers on the tape. Also the features on here introduced me to a handful of great artists. Cisero, Goldlink, 431 (I knew of) and Quan The Padawan all kill their respective verses, especially Goldlink who brings "Flair" to the next level with his verse. Similar to Chance The Rapper's appearance on Childish Gambino's "They Don't Like Me". 

Mike has never been the "super-lyrical-miracle" type rapper, that doesn't mean he is a slouch on the mic either. Lyrically he is strong as ever. He even impressed me with a few lines over the course of the tape. The most impressive thing about ROTY to me however is the replayability of it. Immediately after listening to it I wanted to run it back. Not too many projects over the last couple of years has had that effect on me. Much to my dismay I can't say "let's get it" without damn near reciting Mike's verse. It's already bad enough that anytime I hear Brad Pitt's name I instantly think of the classic track from The Mane. 

In my personal opinion this is by far one of the most cohesive tapes of the last couple of years. There was only one or two tracks I wasn't feeling but other than that I have nothing negative to say. If you were a Mike of Doom fan before Rookie of the Year, you'll still be one and if you weren't...welcome to the club.

Standout Tracks: Coolington, Lets Get This Paper!, Flair, Zooted, Your All Welcome

+ Excellent production
+ High replayability
+ Nice features
+ Cohesive sound
+ Excellent features

- One or two lacking tracks