The gawd Hadyn put me on to Micah James maybe a year ago by sending me a track or two he did. Couldn’t even tell you what tracks they were or if they were just freestyles or what. Dude can rap. His voice is really, really dope. Sense of humour is hella left field though (which is pretty much where my sense of humour finds its home as well). I don’t say though as a qualifier or intending to suggest that I find his music good and interesting in spite of this fact. More to the point, his non sequitur, conversational and at times initially strange story telling techniques are what make it good and interesting.
I started following him on social media as Hadyn would tag me in a post here or there or share something, and yep, his social media (specifically Twitter and Instagram) just as left (and frequently hilarious) as his bars. For example. For another example. Another one. © Khaled. Hilarious. In fact, I can’t really think of anyone I know of besides peak DOOM that perfectly replicates the idiosyncratic way ones mind can work in non-art-creating-life and also in song in a way that people can find entertaining—I mean that to say, that while I don’t know Micah personally, to me his music & lyrics sound the way his social media behaves, and vice versa—because for the most part all of our social media is heavily curated to fashion that outward persona thing we have going on.
The thing is, I can’t tell how much of this is character he’s dedicated to or just him, and where those two edges meet and blur. Frankly, that’s immaterial. The music is good, and he’s hilarious, and most importantly to me, he can rap.
Several days ago he released a video for his latest song “Shadows”, but before we get to that, perhaps you need a #LatePass like I do when it comes to Micah James, so let’s go back as far as I could find via internet sleuthing. I’m annoyed that somehow I missed his 2009 mixtape Agoraphobia, which you can stream below.
Even in 2009, rapping over a mixture of original production and other people’s beats (from Dilla, to Madvillain, to Ludacris, to KMD), this is something that should have hit my radar and I don’t know how it didn’t. All bars, sharp cultural observations, a lil self deprecation, splashes of overall canonical hip hop critique, stories, all around humour and the right beats. Kind of a total package. For example, track 4 off Agoraphobia.
Kick the flow sick the earl /
toxic spit for real /
MCs and all the girls seem to flock. /
The game is getting hot, double-fisted Hennesey shot-style /
the vivid imagery is nigga-wildforthenight. I’m rampaging like EMPD/LL /
on the streets if my CD don’t sell well /
And my name don’t rings bells yet, but I rock them niggas /
Camera shy, cover my eyes in all my pictures /
but the people say he’s so photogenic /
Been walking a tight rope all my life, half-white and afrocentric /
Crackers looking at me like them birds from the movie Dumbo (“well I be done seen about err’thang”) /
coons be bugging when they hear me say the “N” word /
I interned with Universal Music Distribution—they wouldn’t give me loot /
so I bounced and now I troopin’ on my own two /
The independent route for the moment /
And I pray for atonement, but at the same time I’m still trying to find an opening into this game for me… /
I’m honestly conscious, but still concerned with money /
And I am the dichotomy of where the game was and here and now where it’s gotta be—build and destroy /
The gap-bridger, for all non-blacks and niggas /
and I ain’t saying that we’re niggas y’all, it’s just a figure of speech /
I’m know that I’m the perfect blend mixture, the blue chip recruit /
and I used to play hoops back in the days, but I wasn’t getting paid /
PLUS I couldn’t kick the truth to the youth that way /
so I had to change my approach. And y’all can keep smoking on your roach /
I’m polishing the brooch up, here’s some game, just soak up and chill.
#BARZ, nigga. And delivery.
All I could wonder after listening to this mixtape 6 years late was “…what kind of project could he put together with original production?” considering how good this was with him rocking over other people’s instrumentals and making them his own.
Here’s his most recent song and video, “Shadows” over an ill Yellow Music Orchestra loop. Left field as hell, but dope all the same. The minute someone of influence that also has an imagination pays attention, this dude is outta here! You can tell he has all the ideas running through his head at once. Word to Mr. Whiskers.