Q: Your latest releases “First Quarter” and “Down” definitely showcase your lyrical prowess as a rapper. Walk us through your creative process for these two tracks.
MIKE: Every song has a different approach. “First Quarter” was really more of a moment than a song. You hear all the talk and doubters and it can get to you if you don’t have your own clear direction. “First Quarter” was me putting all the negative energy that was around me in the past and stepping into my future with a purpose. “Down” was the result of that decision – it was the first step in the direction that me and my team are taking this thing. The first step of many.
Q: On the single artwork for both “First Quarter” and “Down”, you’re wearing an Aaliyah t-shirt. How has Aaliyah influenced your music?
MIKE: Aaliyah had such a capacity to make her listener feel her music. She put so much raw emotion into her art that it almost feels personal when you listen to her songs – you almost feel like you know her through her music. I think that’s something all the greats do – They make it feel like they wrote the song specifically for you and that’s something I want to master as well. I want people to feel connected to me and my story through my music.
Q: What’s your musical background? Did you always have a talent for rapping or was it a skill you had to develop?
MIKE: Music has always been a vital part of my life. I’ve always had an ability to memorize lyrics. If I hear a song I really enjoy, I’ll be able to memorize the lyrics very quickly, even if I’ve only heard the song a couple of times. As far as writing my own lyrics, I think that was a skill I developed unconsciously. There is an element of natural talent there but I have spent many hours perfecting my craft. Lately, it feels like my skills are increasing exponentially and the good news is there is always room for improvement.
Q: What’s your opinion on Philadelphia’s rap scene and what do you see in its future?
MIKE: There is an abundance of talent in Philly’s rap scene. We have so many artists with so many styles and that’s something I take great pride in contributing to. I do think there is a void that needs to be filled in terms of connecting the inner city with the suburbs in the music world and I think I am the perfect solution to bridge that gap. With such a rich history in music, I hope to continue to add to the legacy of Philly music and even kick it up a notch.
Q: What do you hope listeners take away from your music?
MIKE: I hope they can relate to my music and use it in their own lives. I want them to feel like they know who Mike Brown is and take comfort in knowing that I will always be true to my music and myself on this journey. At the same time, I want my listeners to stay excited and know that I will always continue to grow and keep them on their toes.
Q: What’s coming up next for you?
MIKE: More music and hopefully shows as the world continues to get back to normal. I’m extremely excited about my upcoming releases and projects. I have many things going on behind the scene that are starting to take shape so stay tuned.
Interviewed by Brynn Hinnant