Struggle Mike Curates His Best Work in 9th LP Albeit 3rd with Black Soprano Family “Honor” (Album Review)

Struggle Mike is a 42 year old producer, curator, record executive & audio engineer from Buffalo, New York who introduced himself at the end of 2019 off the strength of his full-length debut Great Escape followed by Next Up as well as Wall & Progress. He eventually kept his consistency going on TiesStruggles until signing to Black Soprano Family Records as an artist after becoming an A&R of theirs, who put out his previous couple albums IYKYK & IYDK last spring showing considerable improvements above his previous output. And with that in mind, I had a feeling the 9th LP in Mike’s could plausibly become my new favorite of his.

After the intro produced by DJ Benoit, the first song “Escobar” by Benny the Butcher & Heem brings them together over bongos from the late DJ Shay talking about feeling as if they stuck in the game whereas the title track by Lo Profile alongside Lucky Seven & Smoke Bulga goes boom bap to boast about getting bills like the Buffalo team. “Sleepless” by B.A.R.S. MurreEto & GoToMar$ hooks up solemn keys with kicks & snares seeing what type of man you are in daylight prior to “Body” by Jeru the Damaja, Lucky Seven & Planet Asia dustily reassures everyone how they do it all day everyday.

“Work” by Benny the Butcher, Chase FettiRick Hyde keeps it boom bap talking about growing up in a society that’s already doomed within itself & after the titular interlude, “China October” by Boons & Heem mixes a Chinese sample with kicks & snares so they can get on their east-side grimy shit for a few minutes. “Gandolfini” by O.T. the Real & Rick Hyde gives me a bit of a bluesy vibe to the beat doing shit themselves when no one else would, but then “Quick” by Flames Dot Malik & Rick Hyde jumps over guitars to talk about being hustlers.

As the end of Honor draws closer, the penultimate track “Parasite” by Fuego Base & Rick Hyde goes drumless with both of them explaining everybody getting shot like they generous on top of still riding with guns since the rap game stays sketchy & even hiding from paranoia off the drugs that is until “Well I Do” by Heem & Sule ends the album returning to the boom bap for 1 more time going at the throats of the heartless that maintain a Tin Man posture & boasting about the whole Black Soprano label being cut from the same cloth.

For any B$F fan who slept-on the last couple LPs that Mike curated a year ago, you’re gonna wanna give Honor a listen since he pretty much elevates everything that made IYKYK & IYDK his finest curations thus far to a whole different level. We’re instrumentally treated to a prominent boom bap sound that a lot of the label’s artist bare with a hint of drumless, leaving most of the mic time in-house with the exception of a couple established veterans & a few collaborators from previous material.

Score: 8/10

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Legends Will Never Die

Just a 27 year old guy from Detroit, Michigan who passionately loves hip hop culture & music as a whole

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