Tag Archives: MIKE

Big Ups: John Vanderslice Picks His Bandcamp Hip-Hop Favorites

John Vanderslice

Photo by Sarah Cass

John Vanderslice is a rap fanatic. He constantly seeks out the newest voices in the genre, and proselytizes his friends on the wealth of sounds and songs available to discover. But despite his intense love of the music, he’s aware of his own limits as a songwriter. “I don’t think I’m capable of bringing in a lot of what I like in rap [to my own music],” he says. “When I hear J.I.D or EarthGang, who I think are technically very good rappers, I realize the distance between what I can do and them, in a way that doesn’t happen with, say, Celine Dion. When I hear really complicated rap cadences, there’s something in my heart that’s like, ‘God, I will never be able to touch that kind of complexity.”

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Album of the Day: MIKE, “War in my Pen”

MIKE named his 2017 breakthrough album, May God Bless Your Hustle, after a phrase his mom used to say. If you’ve been listening closely to the rapper’s releases since then—which this year include resistance man, Black Soap, and renaissance manyou’ve picked up on the way family and close friends are an anchor of his songwriting. War in my Pen continues to furrow this familial tract: Across 13 songs, MIKE figures out relationships with kinfolk and expresses his thoughts via a malleable flow that’s often pitched down so it sinks into the texture of the production.

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The Best Albums of 2018: #40 – 21

best of 2018 40-21Let’s be honest for a second: No one clicks on these lists for the introduction. I don’t blame them! This is usually just the place where some routine throat-clearing goes, before we get to the main event. It’s also the place where I confess to the amount of anxiety involved with putting together a list like this—last year, I said, “Right now, there’s probably someone in their bedroom in Buenos Aires, making a record on their computer that is going to end up on next year’s list. So as comprehensive as we’ve tried to make this list, we realize that, even at 100 albums, we’re only scratching the surface of what’s available.” Guess what? That’s still true in 2018. That said, the albums that made the cut, to us, represent the breadth and scope of the many worlds available to discover on Bandcamp, and feel like the best musical summation of the last 12 months. When we make this list, we’re not only trying to assess the year’s best music, we’re also trying to tell the story of 2018, album by album, song by song. As always, being a part of Bandcamp Daily in 2018 was a true joy; we took a look at Extratone, the world’s fastest musical genre, got familiar with the New Face of Death Metal, and spent time with artists like Yugen Blakrok, Suzanne Ciani, and Kamaal Williams. Once again, the world of music is bigger than any one list can possibly contain, so consider this a starting point on the neverending journey to discovering new sounds, new scenes, and new voices. Alright, that’s enough throat-clearing. Let’s get to the list.

—J. Edward Keyes, Editorial Director

Best of 2018 Schedule:
December 10: #100 – 81
December 11: #80 – 61
December 12: #60 – 41
December 13: #40 – 21
December 14: #20 – 1

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The Best Hip-Hop on Bandcamp: May 2018


Forget jetting to lavish launch parties at ranch resorts in Wyoming—there’s nuggets of gold to be found right here in the Bandcamp hip-hop vault. Let’s dig into this month’s spotlighted picks to check out dramatic modern crime rhymes, experimental film scores, and a fresh female voice breaking out of the Mexican rap scene.
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Album of the Day: MIKE, “Black Soap”

On the standout May God Bless Your Hustle, rapper MIKE’s booming voice described the things in life that made him feel small—like being broke, or catching folks staring at his “bulky black body.” Black Soap celebrates the personal and artistic growth he has made in the year since: “I got possession of my weed and my depression and my feet,” he raps in third track “Ministry.”

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This Week’s Essential Releases: MIKE, Girls in Synthesis, Jeremy Enigk & More

7 essential

Welcome to Seven Essential Releases, our weekly roundup of the best music on Bandcamp. Each week, we’ll recommend six new albums that were released between last Friday and this Friday, plus pick an older LP from the stacks that you may have missed.

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The Best Hip-Hop on Bandcamp: February 2018

hip hop

February’s top hip-hop picks on Bandcamp showcase socio-politically-charged raps dispatched from Detroit, a grimy modern thug rap manifesto broadcast from Buffalo, and dreamy rap soundscapes crafted in Brazil. We also revisit one of the fabled indie rap era’s classic album projects, which has been given the deluxe reissue treatment.

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The Best Hip-Hop Albums of 2017


As the year comes to a close, it’s time to engage in the time-honored tradition of rounding up its essential releases. Over the course of the last 12 months, Bandcamp was home to some of the most thrilling, creative, and innovative albums in hip-hop, with MCs embarking on lyrical flights of fancy over beats that skew experimental, but still keep it funky. Presented in alphabetical order, here’s your 10 hip-hop sure shots for the rap year 2017.

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