Mightyhealthy (left) and King Micah the InfamousPhoto courtesy of the artist/Aareus Jones @ajones_keepitg
Three years ago, Detroit rapper King Micah the Infamous attended a networking event at a recording studio in Miami hosted by producer Illmind. There, he met Mightyhealthy.
The event was an opportunity for rappers and producers to meet at the studio and play their music for the group.
“Since it’s Miami, I was prepared for the Uncle Luke, Trick Daddy, Slip-N-Slide type of vibe," King Micah recounts. "I’m from Detroit so I’m coming from far left of that. I still took my chances and played some of my music. That’s how I met Mightyhealthy. He went after me and played something that was super grimy and super boom-bap. I’m like, ‘Yo, we need to link.'"
It's been a match made in hip-hop heaven ever since.
KingMighty 2 is the latest collaboration between two artists with very different backgrounds. (The pair's first record, simply titled KingMighty, came out last year.) For the second record, they enlisted the help of Detroit hip-hop titans Elzhi and Guilty Simpson.
It's easy to presume that King Micah, being a Detriot native, was the one who reached out to Elzhi and Simpson, but he admits that it was actually Mightyhealthy who was able to connect with them. For King Micah, this was a huge get. Elzhi is the quintessential Detroit rapper, the one who embodies the city and the culture the most.
“I usually have some kind of vision for an artist," Mightyhealthy explains. "Early on when we started, I’d ask, 'Who do you think would make sense for this project?' Little does Micah know, I turn around and reach out to these artists. Every feature on the project was a complete surprise for him."
For the song "Hot Out Here," Mightyhealthy had arranged to get a feature from Simpson before he presented the track to Micah.
“I don’t have the pressure of being a rapper, so reaching out to rappers seems really regular to me," Mightyhealthy says. "Simpson isn’t very active on social media, so I just sent him an email, and with Elzhi I just shot him a DM. Depending on who you want, it’s actually straightforward to get features. If it’s something that makes sense to them, it’s usually not a free service, but if you’re straightforward and do good business, it’s a pretty mutual thing. I’m glad we did it, because those are the caliber of artists that Micah should be rapping with."
Securing those features was important to the overall Detroit-influenced sound Mightyhealthy had envisioned for the album. Once America's great manufacturing city, Detroit has been in economic decline since the suburban flight of the 1970s. On the album, King Micah and Mightyhealthy take those feelings and culture to give the listener a firey and relentless boom-bap exposé of King Micah’s perception of the world around him.
Honesty and power are at the album's lyrical core. “Haven’t been a crab in the bucket when the bread rise/Never been a rat having fam doing fed time,” King Micah raps on the intro track.
In "Peace to Scorcese & Doom," the drums roll in and the track quickly becomes a knife fight. There isn’t a chorus to set the tempo. Instead, it's just King Micah bearing down with reflective bars like, “Rambling with a bad case of stage fright/Made it hard to understand my partner for the bank heist" and "Bust down locked doors here to break norms/Kind of like my people tryin’ to break North."
Tracks like "Indigenous Gems" and "Dragon’s Breath" further showcase King Micah's lyrical talents.
On the production side, Mightyhealthy shows off his Madlib and J Dilla influence with his layered style. Just don't expect to get a straight answer when you ask where he finds his samples.
“For this project, in particular, I already had a loose skeleton on how I wanted the album to feel and sound before I had any music to work with," Mightyhealthy says. "The next task was finding things that fit that description. Without sample-snitching on myself, it was a lot of Eastern music and just music from other places. I like to get music from places that other producers never thought of. A lot of people get their stuff from a lot of the same places. I make it a point not to do that.”
With the exception of "Ski Mask Origin," there isn’t a track on the album that features a chorus. The idea was that they wanted to cut out the fat and get directly to the meat.
“Our type of hip-hop isn’t meant to follow rules," Mightyhealthy explains. “Breaking structure — that’s always been my recurring conversation with Micah. With him, I want to break structure."
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