Mixtapes are never even affairs, but Mikkey Halstead has come pretty damn close. Eschewing filler, stupid bits, annoying DJ shout outs, and posse cuts, Halstead’s mixtape is easily one of the best I’ve heard this year.
You may know Halstead from an appearance on Rhymefest‘s “Blue Collar” album, or you may just have heard the hype about Chicago’s newest MC. If you have, you’re probably excited as hell to hear “Uncrowned King.” Believe the hype.
Beginning with a bio over a “Comin’ From Where I’m From” beat, Halstead starts right out the box letting us know he’s honest, skilled, funny, and agile. Then he cuts right into biting on Chi-town’s best known hip hopper, speaking on his career over Kanye West’s “Can’t Tell Me Nothin.” There’s two guests here, KT & Ken Rock, who appear elsewhere on the mixtape as well, and they’re not bad. But as a listener, I can’t wait to hear from Halstead again.
Most of the production is by No I.D., who should need no introduction, and most of the content is conscious without being preachy (and with plenty of profanity), and is about his attempt to rise to the top of the industry. But Halstead can also spit street rhymes (such as “G Shit”), and over the course of the tape he hits beats used by Jay-Z, Common, Mobb Deep, Memphis Bleek, and many others, and even invites Clipse posse members Ab Liva & Famous on a track. One of the best mixtapes I’ve heard in years, just about every track is pure fire.
The Corner (remix)-Common, Kanye, and Mikkey (YSI)
A couple other takes on “The Corner:”