With “Millennial,” Mike Dreams firmly establishes himself as a hip-hop artist to watch

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A fresh wind blows innovative life into Twin Cities hip-hop with the upstart artistry of Mike Dreams. His debut Milllennial promises a winning future. There’s musicality on par with Dessa. Sardonic social commentary shoulder to shoulder with Truth Maze, Toki Wright, and, fascinatingly enough, poetic-prose paragons e. g. bailey and Junkyard Empire‘s MC Brihanu.

What can I say, young folk these days sometimes will surprise the hell out of you: in an era when most of the men are thug-strutting around with their pants hanging off in an on-going underwear fashion show, spewing epithets and the word “nigger” until it’s absolutely numbing and trying to outdo each other in how basely they can denigrate women as female dogs and gardening tools, bragging about being willing to gun each other down, this 20-something kid goes against the grain.

“Be Anything” flat out challenges young sistahs to opt for more in life then winding up just one more baby-mama on welfare—who, it goes without saying, will raise the next generation of baby-mamas. Dreams is such a passionately articulate prose-poet you feel his power even outside the social messages. “Still Standing Here” is a reflection on withstanding personal perils and peanut gallery nay-sayers to determinedly prevail by the strength of one’s character. The melodic backdrop, by the way, is gorgeous, featuring a lush arrangement guest appearance by haunting vocalist Ashely DuBose.

There is an audience ready and waiting to make Mike Dreams the next local hip-hop star. It wouldn’t surprise anyone in the least if he eventually went national—as more than a few MCs from the Twin Cities have. The right roll of the dice, proper promotion and there you have it.

Ultimately, it’s a fine album combining conscientious rap with excellent music. There’s no lyric sheet—which is a shame, because the words you can make out are ingenious and it’d be great hear the parts that are indecipherable. There’s no listing of personnel, except for featured guests—which is a shame, because the rocking, contemporary R&B with slices of jazz tossed in kills. In cold blood.

All said, pick up a copy. It’ll be money well spent.

Read A Twin Cities hip-hop primer (Kyle Tran Myhre, 2012)