While “The Great Escape” is Struggle Mike‘s album, it’s hard to say that it’s an album by Struggle Mike. It’s actually more of a series of cyphers featuring both high profile rappers and up and coming names that are collected and curated by an entrepreneur that goes by the name Struggle Mike. With that out of the way, how do the representatives of Buffalo NY fair in the world of underground Hip Hop?
At face value, there are only a couple names on the tracklist that really catch my eye. Those names being Benny the Butcher, Conway the Machine, and Tsu Surf. Battle rappers are not usually well known for their music despite having some of the most creative pen games in all of Rap, which is why I was pleasantly surprised when Surf had my favorite verse on the entire project. The punches were clean, the delivery was solid, and it was exactly what you would expect from a household name. However, the majority of the other verses felt a bit hollow or rushed. A lot of times, the artists would have awkward rhyme scheme switches and very jumbled bar structure with inconsistent syllable patterns. This can be written off as a stylistic choice, so it’s not inherently bad, it just doesn’t hit my ear very softly. I’m the type that prefers longer rhyme schemes, so two, three bar patterns don’t hold my attention much.
The production side of the project is stellar. Every instrumental is very professional and feels fully realized. Each beat helps create a semi old school feel that brims with classic New York swagger and perfectly accompanies the vocal styles of each artist.
And that’s kind of the most notable aspect of the project; everything feels in sync and fluid. Even if the bars aren’t exactly my favorite, or the bar structure seems basic, the way everything comes together elevates the project into a good place that I think plenty of Hip Hop heads will be able to enjoy.
Highlights: Production, Vibe