At 19-years-old rapper and producer MIKE’s already impressive catalogue is only just beginning. Black Soap is MIKE’s sophomore project of 2018 after the release of February’s five-track resistance man. His breakthrough mixtape May God Bless Your Hustle broke into the scene just last year and revitalized New York City hip-hop with lo-fi production and free-jazz inspired beats.

Opening with 'Ipari' – the beginning of the song features MIKE’s mother reading a prayer in her native tongue, Yoruba. Her raspy and rhythmic performance aligns directly with MIKE’s style- spiritual, at ease and impactful. Black Soap’s premise alludes to MIKE’s family, mental health journey, and his culture. Curating the sounds behind MIKE’s flow is New York getup Standing on the Corner. SOTC offers post-genre beats consisting of reminiscent noise, light percussion and a calculated amount of light chaos. No sound is the same.

The instrumentation on the first track gives cloudy and rainy impression, potentially in homage to London where MIKE spent three months recording this project. Shadowing his mother’s prayer, MIKE finishes the track with pensive poem: “My mind is winding, rewinding, back to the time’s when we was in search of some gold or a diamond.”

Black Soap cohesively organizes track after track of MIKE unraveling his thoughts over abstracted noise. “Like Mask” carries the same sensation as the rest of the album- a melancholy piano melody trails over soft percussion loops and static textures that provide a nostalgic sound. Black Soap feels like rifling through an antique collection of MIKE’s day-to-day.

'Of Home' has the strongest, most standout flow from the young MC throughout the piece. MIKE courses throughout the piece nonstop with striking progressions- “your conscious I know that it’s weak, I’m confident-know that it’s me.” Standing on the Corner’s beat features a looped car alarm in the backdrop giving the track heightened energy and alluding to the inner city story of MIKE’s NYC origins.

'Time Ain’t Enough' gives MIKE a podium to steadily rap over with an instrumental featuring signature SOTC muddled piano coexisting with soft percussion and horns. Conditioned composition. MIKE doesn’t feel the need to over enunciate or show out with his words, he prefers to drift steadily through a track with ease to display his natural craft at work. “This a deep fountain, throw a penny in it. Made a wish to get a cup and throw some Henny in it.”

Like a lo fi anime theme song that transitions to a slower groove, 'God Save the Queen' touches on MIKE’s journey with depression as a performer His narrative, “feeling ignored, to feeling the joy of hearing some noise and hearing applause,” tells the story of rapping as a means to cope with his tough upbringing.

Black Soap pushes MIKE to a pivotal point in hip-hop. With each project he releases we get closer to understanding his abstracted art. MIKE’s laid back and honest approach feels like a breath of fresh air in an industry where flashy gimmicks and money can ultimately elevate almost any emcee, but not MIKE.