Local hip-hop artist Mic Strong sets self apart
Man of faith keeps things clean on upcoming album
City hip-hop artist Mic Strong’s message is getting amplified.
Using a throwback style, he broaches an array of topics, from mental health to his transition from a youth in trouble to a man of faith.
His latest stories will come in the form of his third solo album, Until November, set to hit streaming services Aug. 22.
“Just really shedding a light on the good, the bad, and the ugly,” he said about his craft.
Sharing story through song
As a youth, Mic Strong says music was all around.
“My mom and my dad were big hip-hop fans,” he said in an interview with Whatzup. “Growing up around it, I guess it helped create myself. I’ve always done music since I was a child freestyling in grade school. Around middle school is when I started doing it myself, like recording over cassette tapes. Then, one of my cousins had a studio in Michigan, so I would go record with him.”
Mic Strong released his debut album, Affirmation, on April 17, 2020. Having recorded the material ahead of COVID-19, he says it sounds much differently than his follow-up, Life Happens, recorded in the heart of the pandemic, and released June 11, 2021.
“Affirmation is more upbeat, it’s more energetic, then my second project, Life Happens, is very moody,” he said. “I wouldn’t say it’s dark, but it’s very transparent. That’s a deeper project. If you want to know more about me, as a person, Life Happens is the go-to, because that was created during the pandemic.”
He says things come full circle on Until November.
“It’s like the missing piece to the puzzle,” he said. “It is more fun, it’s more lively. With Life Happens, I got so much off my chest. This one is more lighthearted. I show my range of music on this one, as far as stylistically.”
Breaking from pack
You do get to know the man behind the music on Life Happens, with such tracks as “Depression Is…” On social media, he also admits to receiving help for his mental health and encourages others to do the same.
“As a man, first and foremost, regardless of your ethnicity, we’re always looked at to be the rock, the foundation. Be tough, don’t be soft, don’t be emotional,” he said. “That can lead to a lot of issues we have that aren’t being addressed properly. I try to flip it on its head and speak about what’s bothering me, taking it to places that some people might not. It can be looked at as an example that other people can do the same. And it’s so beneficial, speaking on mental health and the problems I do have. I do get messages from people saying they can relate or that it helped them in some way. It just confirms that I’m doing what I should be doing with others being helped by what I’m doing.”
Mic Strong also sets himself apart from the pack by not needing a Parental Advisory sticker on his albums.
“I don’t curse in my day-to-day life, so in my music, I don’t either,” he said.
“I have an understanding with the artists I work with,” he added. “If it’s my project, or if we’re doing something together, you don’t curse. That’s my brand. You can talk about whatever you want, just don’t say the N-word, don’t curse. That’s important, because even if I’m talking about women or explicit content, it’s just digestible because you don’t have to get a clean version. It’s already ready to go.”
Among the artists he has worked with is national act Dizzy Wright for his track “In Due Time” on Affirmation.
“That kind of spring-boarded my career, as far as taking it serious,” he said of getting Dizzy Wright on his song. “My whole reason for reaching out to him and looking for a feature was to kind of make a bold statement from the beginning.”
A much more frequent collaborator is childhood friend Saint300. The two have worked together on Colassal and Clash of the Titans, offering very different styles.
“We got super close in middle school, and we took different paths in life,” Mic Strong said. “Once I gave my life to God, he was still kind of in the streets, figuring things out. Going into adulthood, we kind of separated, but reconnected. Clash of the Titans is kind of, we’re both big and talented in our lanes, and the clash is us bringing it together, because you wouldn’t expect it with me being someone who’s really positive and doesn’t cuss to him being everything on the opposite, but we come together with our relationship with each other.”
Putting music out
Mic Strong also has his own label, creating POP Global in 2020, releasing all his solo material on it, as well as Clash of the Titans. An acronym for Paid Off Passion, the label’s name is a phrase Mic Strong tries to live his life by.
“The whole premise of it is, they say, ‘If you do what you like to do, it’s not like work,’ so my vision is to encourage others to get paid off their passion, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be financial,” he said. “It can be helping others or whatever you find to be rewarding. That’s the payment.”
Mic Strong was paid in cheers at this summer’s Middle Waves Festival, taking the stage to showcase his talents to a diverse crowd.
“I enjoy the fact that it’s very eclectic and very diverse,” he said about the festival. “You can hear folk music and pop, EDM, and they had Big Boi there, so they do hip-hop. I was excited because with the diversity of my catalog, I knew that it would fit in. It was fun, and it was my biggest show to date. I feel like it was preparation for things to come.”
Saying he tries to be selective with live shows, your next shot to see him live will be Nov. 11. He says he’s rented the Union Hall at General Motors to celebrate Until November.
Until then, you can catch up with his new album, and he’s also being asked to perform the new song for WANE-TV’s weekly high school football roundup, Highlight Zone, every Friday night.