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MIKE‘s reputation as a preternaturally gifted hip-hop griot has always been bolstered by his choice in instrumentals. Whether self-produced as dj blackpower or sourced elsewhere, the beats are often based around chopped-up samples from across Black soul and R&B history; they have always felt like transmissions more than mere musical elements, their voices helping MIKE tap into the heart of the his music. That sensation is keenly felt on “Stop Worry!” a new single from New York rapper’s upcoming album, Beware of the Monkey.
The song enlists a shockingly rare feature from Sister Nancy, the indomitable dancehall veteran behind “Bam Bam.” She plays the selector, boosting MIKE, herself, and their collaboration; it’s difficult not to draw a line between her sparkling energy and the beat’s, a groovy cut inspired by early ’90s reggae. Its mood is an outlier in MIKE’s catalog, but he doesn’t miss a step, outlining the trappings of his growing celebrity in his signature flow, congested yet clear. “Buckle up, we ‘bout to change routes, never changing speed,” he raps, implicitly acknowledging the revitalizing effect of a detour.