Artist: Mike Control
Album: The Introduction EP
Label: Mike Control
Rating: 7 / 10
Reviewer: A to the L
Even if they’re the worst group in the world, Mike Control can still lay claim to one of the simplest but most memorable names for a crew you’ve ever heard. This Brooklyn New York trio, Jonny Bro, The Grey Ghost, and DJ Shaffer, are intent however on proving that their choice of moniker is suitably reflected in their music. With a background which includes performances on several television programs, and a load of music festival appearances, they’re hoping that the release of “The Introduction” EP will take things to the next level.
Let’s see if they live up to the hype…
A short intro called ‘The Coming’ which features deep bass guitar chords, and lunatic film dialogue, quickly gives way to the quick snappy beat of ‘Mics I Grab’. Sprinkled with piano loops and Das Efx samples, its almost “Wu-ish” in construction; and Jonny Bro and Grey Ghost certainly ride the beat well, spitting rhymes at a frenetic pace. A pleasant surprise overall, and definitely a great opener, although the vocals could have been mixed a little higher, as they’re dominated at times by the heavy beat.
The good things continue with ‘Rhyme Killers’ and ‘Mind Bending’. The former is a slower paced rumbler, which features some more of those addictive piano stabs, this time supported by a looped police siren sample. As suggested by the title, this is straight up battle shit, and again Bro and Ghost live up to their Mike Control name, by trading rhymes with each other like it was second nature. ‘Mind Bending’ meanwhile picks up the pace again, and features an ominous echoing bassline, and an old school drum break. Its one of the strongest cuts on here, and a perfect example of what Mike Control are all about as a group. The beats, the lyrics, the flows… all come together to form a hot listening experience.
‘ Rhyme For Rhyme’ features the same loop that De La used on ‘Transmitting Live From Mars’ as it’s backbone, supported by a guitar lick that gives this a “live instrumentation” feel. If you’re familiar with this sample at all (*is it the Turtles? I can’t remember*), you’ll be aware of the trippy vibe it gives off, and here again its been used to give this cut a “too much acid” effect. It’s supremely laidback, and the addition of the simple but addictive chorus makes this one worth rewinding for a second listen.
The laidback feel is continued with the opening bars of ‘Purification Part 1’. Here, Johhny Bro spits for around 2 minutes over a slow acoustic guitar loop and a repeated whistle before the beat changes, taking on a more minimal feel, and introducing a low pitched flute sample which flies in and out of the mix. The rhyme duties are taken over by Ghost, who marginally outperforms his partner in rhyme.
Ok, this is a 7 track EP, and so far the crew are more or less 6 for 6. However, as we all know, there’s always gotta be one bad apple in the bunch, and here its the closing track, ‘Pyrotactics’. This ain’t just a bad cut though – this is a real stinker. The reason? Well, lets just put it this way – everyone knows my feelings on rock guitars and Hiphop. They usually make uncomfortable bedfellows, and here is no exception. On here though, they’ve even managed to drop the Hiphop side of things all together, and for the first couple of minutes, this is a straight up headbanger’s delight. Even when the track eventually morphs into a pretty competent Hiphop track, the damage is already done, and my inital dislike of this track won’t be changed.
Apart from the horrific last track though, I have to admit to being impressed overall by Mike Control. They seem to have easily overcome the first hurdle facing a rapper – that of selecting beats that fit with whatever flow you possess. Every track on here serves to illustrate the fact that Jonny Bro and Grey Ghost can, if the beat is right, spit for days. This may be a group you want to try to check out a little more of – for once a crew whose name sums them up perfectly.