This is a brand new collaborative full-length LP between east coast hip hop artists MIKE & Wiki. One of them represents Livingston, New Jersey & the latter hailing from Manhattan, New York. Both of whom have individually been making waves in the underground off their own solo efforts such as May God Bless Your Hustle or even Wiki’s previous LP Half God almost 2 years ago already on top of previously working with each other on songs like “Standout” or “Promised” off both of those albums that I had previously mentioned. They dropped a 3-track EP together last Black Friday fully produced by The Alchemist called 1 More, but are bringing Uncle Al back into the picture once again to turn it up a notch on Faith is a Rock.
“Stargate” is a drumless orchestral opener to the album with Wiki talking about how he feels like his life’s improved & MIKE talking about how these motherfuckers soft compared to them whereas “Thug Anthem” takes the jazzier route instrumentally promising to make it jump without any tangent. “Mayor’s a Cop” works in some more jazz-inspired horns with kicks & snares getting on the more conscious side of things lyrically, but then “Bledsoe” strips the drums once more looking to balance what they know with this new trend & that there ain’t no limit to what they can do.
Moving on from there, “Pray for Him” gives off a hypnotic trance to the sample-heavy beat discussing that they ain’t trying to play God asking what they put this pain in for & ecstatically remaining calm leading into the MIKE solo cut “Odd Ways” returning to the boom bap with orchestral flare to it talking about his soul being strong & his mind is crazy. Wiki returns once more on ”Scribble Jam” admitting he doesn’t understand what she saw in him when the floors was all he could see on top of MIKE breathing faster & living slower just before Wiki’s solo joint “Be Realistic” keeps the strings, kicks & snares in tact getting in his hardcore bag lyrically.
The penultimate track “Memory Loss” finds MIKE & Wiki back together for encore of Faith is a Rock looking to live for the large payment with Uncle Al drawing inspiration from jazz music instrumentally once again & the aptly titled “1 More finds both east coast underground MCs looking to provide 1 last thought each before they head out previously having lost sight as opposed to seeing more nowadays in comparison over a soul sample.
Both of these guys are well known in the underground for their abstract lyricism, so to hear them coming together with one of my top 10 producers of all-time sounded like a match made in Heaven on paper. Lo & behold: This might be the best collab album I’ve heard all year. Uncle Al’s jazzy production matched with the elevated use heavy metaphors, symbolism or cryptic meanings used by both lyricists result in some of best work of their careers.