MIKE’s debut EP By the Water is a four-track story of the rapper’s life growing up in New York, complete with his characteristically laidback flows over raw, stripped-down samples. With tracks that blend almost seamlessly into one another and the ever-present sounds of a bustling city throughout, the EP succeeds in conveying sincerity, originality, and musical cohesion.
By the Water follows in the footsteps of MIKE’s previous mixtapes with its lo-fi production, lyrical honesty, and understated style. The EP is full to the brim with emotional vulnerability and storytelling, with mentions of MIKE’s relationship with his mother and the appearance-based judgments he faces as a black man. Still, MIKE remains confident in lines such as “Don’t address me as MIKE if you don’t know me as such” in “HURDLES”—a personal favorite for its undeniably melodic sample and rhythmic consistency. From start to finish, the EP is a work of art that will leave new listeners ready to dig through MIKE’s discography and established fans eager for more.
Listen to By the Water below: