Philadelphia rapper Mike Voss has released the second chapter of his Book of Michael mixtape series, Hunger Pains. Like many east coast emcees, he’s been steadily broadening his beat selection for a while now, making regional distinctions less and less relevant as he moves toward national prominence. On this release he firmly proves his mastery of dirty south style, nimbly switching up his flow on standouts “Cloud Nine” and “David Beckham“, the latter of which takes cues from Atlanta trio Migos and their many athlete-named tracks and pervasively influential “Versace” flow. In keeping with the album title, his lyrical themes focus on his pursuit of success, from opening track “Another Struggle Song” through closer “The Believers”. Bouncing back and forth between his own prowess (“Laugh Track”) and the difficulty of achieving success against opposition (“Shark Pit”), he presents a portrait of a young rapper working hard at his craft, extremely aware of what is going on around him.
Keeping features down to just singer Khrista White on the hook of “The Believers”, Voss has really focused both chapters of his Book of Michael on his own story, moving confidently away from his battle rap roots into the realm of songwriting, not needing the sharp interplay between multiple voices to carry a track. Having proven his ability in this way, it frees him to make more use of collaboration going forward without getting the same tired questions so many have faced when coming from that background, just as his occasional use of southern-inflected beats frees him from being pigeon-holed as an east coast underground artist. In that vein, his next live show is a headlining slot at Underground Arts with a live band made up of members of funk/blues-based local indie rockers The Jawn on August 28th. Download both Book of Michael chapters for free and learn some lyrics for the show!
By Dave Fox | Philadelphia Ambassador | @philosofoxthedj | Beat-Play and Music Without Labels, LLC