There are many MCs living as Hip Hop’s Woody Carmicheal trapped in Spike Lee’s Crooklyn. Their music is done with an obsessive reverence for the sound that makes it true. They won’t indulge in a sound that has no roots and payola a rhetoric that’ll keep to the charts. However, the resulting common misnomer is that select MCs are actually bringing real Hip Hop back. A complete truism this when the select MC happens to only be also doing real Hip Hop. It isn’t the recreating of old sounds that renew but having the soul of old that refreshes the music. With The Warpath LP 2, Landover, Maryland’s Mic Mountain reveals his rugged potential as he fixates on the truism.
MCing on wax is a writer with his own book of moment’s thoughts preserved for listenership. When this is understood, the MC isn’t thinking of just entertaining their love of an Art but also assuring there is understanding of worth on the wax. That understanding can manifest from the technique at its most basic levels and even reach the supreme level of unique insight. For Mic Mountain, the constant odes to Hip Hop are not kept subtle; instead he’ll wastefully remake Common’s classic on “Luv4HipHop.” Or on “Apache War Funk” Mic uses ol’ school choruses and refrains that become frustrating karaoke when one hears other tracks where Mic really has strong insights to share. Yet as we do the knowledge to the “YHWH Interlude” the insight and the themes of the common root of all Original people (Black, Brown and Yellow) expressed through the indigenous Americas in tune with the East are the jewels that Mic absolutely has the talent to orate on wax.
Essentially, this is a battle album with hood party vibes where Mic is almost hiding his deeper insights in order to make the proper homage Hip Hop. “Mind Over Matter” has a nicely done slow flow that battles through a stuttered track where the chorus holds the build. On “Cliffhanger” the pacing grooves in the mid-tempo where Mic Mountain excels. When Mellow Man Ace and Thirstin Howl the 3rd add on with Mic on “Mi Vida Es Guerra,” the typical break is overridden by nice guitar licks and funky double womping basslines and Mic has short, meaningful bars. “Ready For War” is ill slop funk while “The Unseen” with the tough bass drums lets Mic actually create his persona as that rugged Black Indian fighting the Man out the wilderness of these Americas.
The unifying highlight of the production is often the disappointing prevalence of redundant breaks (i.e “Return of the Boom Bap”) but the sharply grooved funk basslines dominate the originality of many tracks (i.e. “Mi Vida Es Guerra”). The best works are the urban military anthems like “Lyrical Godz” with its triumphant keys, sinister keys and soaring wails or the driving “The Mountain High (Bombvyzee Mix)” that again, as throughout, has exceptionally deep bass grooves, layered excellently crisp.
Mic Mountain has paid homage to Hip Hop but has done disservice to the understanding he can share us. In this massively commercialized music rooted in counter-culture, homage gets in the way of having a music where all of the insights brothers like Mic Mountain can go in. Mic Mountain, with an insight to our very Black culture of all us Latinos he is properly embracing, the spiritual insights he can share on his indigenous roots and just all the stories of his real life we are missing can make albums no one has. With his music being made nostalgic and not on the real-time hardcore updates that can be so life inducing, we are missing out with a mere enjoyable rugged album.