It’s a rare occurrence when I listen to an album in full and call it beautiful. Hip hop can be a fickle genre with albums often sticking to one central sound. One of the most significant exceptions is Chance The Rapper’s Coloring Book, as it incorporated elements of gospel, the pains of drug abuse, features from controversial rappers, and straight up radio jams.
Mikeyy Austin’s newest LP L I F T E D hit my inbox just yesterday, and after one stream it became that rare occurrence. I confidently compare it to Coloring Book, perhaps not in popularity or anticipation, but with the ingredients that make it a delightful and genre bending listen from start to finish.
The intro track starts off with a piano and spoken word statement: “Looking back on our playground days, most of the homies that I came up with are down so for them I levitate.” The sentence serves as an announcement and precursor to what you can expect moving forward. Reminiscing, selflessness, and the readiness to make his mark on the world run throughout these 12 tracks.
I described Coloring Book as a narrative piece, full of honest expression and radio ready jams. You’ll find this throughout L I F T E D. My favorite record, So High, could easily be a chart topper in the underground hip hop world. It is fueled by a captivating chorus from Taylor Taylor, and a nice contribution from Stoop Lee. Mikeyy starts the song off, and as he often does throughout the project, sets the tone for what will follow.
The fusion of different genres doesn’t stop there. Michael Jackson Playlist (which may be the most amazing song title I’ve ever seen) features a brief saxophone solo, and acts as an interlude. L I F T E D ends with Coming Home, with a final mention of making music for his friends that are struggling or have passed away.
I’ll be playing this throughout the month whenever I need some inspiration to keep pushing on in life when it feels almost impossible to do.
To celebrate the albums release, All of the Above Hip-Hop Creative will be hosting MikeyyAustin’s “Up(LIFTED), Lansing” concert on June 30th at the Robin Theatre. MikeyyAustin and the Happy Medium will be performing songs off of the new album, along with a special performance from flowsfordays favorite Adam Reverie.