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I was about 10 when I first started like play-around rapping, but I never took it too serious till I was like 14.” Speaking to Crack Magazine over iMessage, Bronx-based rapper Mike has the general demeanour of somebody beginning to take things seriously – rap and otherwise.

“While I was in England I use to bump a lot of Skepta and some super old grime shit,” the the 18-year-old explains of his influences. “Once I moved back to the states I eventually got into DOOM, he changed my whole perspective on music.” With formative years spent in Hackney, Essex, Philadelphia and The Bronx, Mike delivers bars built from teenage anxieties with a transatlantic tone and an angular flow. Now in his first year of college, Mike has released numerous projects via BandCamp, including last year’s longest day, shortest night LP. “I’m waiting for all things to go through so I can drop out, school really isn’t a healthy environment for me,” he says. “Being in school forces me to answer to a lot of people and I don’t like it, and also I always get anxiety being around too many people or being told to do things.”

Remaining in full control seems to be what weighs heaviest on Mike’s mind as a young man getting into music. He rolls with a DIY collective who go by Slums – DJs, rappers and producers who are beginning to gain momentum in New York. Mike’s own music is a fitting emblem of their ethos – lo-fi instrumentals and a style of rapping that seems to borrow from California backpacker rap tropes and East Coast street-preaching in equal measure.

“I want to learn patience, create new music, new sounds and let people feel something different, you know?” Mike tells us as our conversation begins to wrap up. “I’m also trying to make a living off of music as well!” With the insight of an OG and the eagerness of a college dropout, Mike’s moment is only just beginning.

Wiki / Vince Staples

www.mikelikesrap.bandcamp.com