Mike Stud • These Days • Electric Feel Music • Release Date: 1.12.16
Michael Seander – better known as Mike Stud is a rapper from Providence, Rhode Island. Rhode Island isn’t exactly a hot bed for hip-hop, but hey, they’ve got Mike Stud, right? So how much of a stud is Stud in the rap game? Listening to These Days, Stud definitely has a solid flow, even if he’s not a game changer.
Stud’s confidence is clear from the start with “Swish,” where the MC spits agilely over biting production. There are plenty of great one-liners, including “Signin’ deals without a label involved / the size of the checks, you would think that I was still playin’ some ball.”
“10th Inning” features incredibly slick production, so much so it arguably trumps the song itself. Even so, Stud delivers a memorable hook chocked full of swagger, much like the opener. “Mixed women, mixed drinks for them mixed feelings / big cribs with them big ceilings…hit town, well that’s big pimpin’ / my potential, that’s infinite / pen game insane, make hits like Ken Griffey in the 10th inning / f**ked around and fell in love with it.”
“After Hours” doesn’t leave much to the imagination. Stud spits, “Couple drinks in me, couple texts to you / I swear to god this some type of sh*t I never do…” later clearly articulating his intentions saying “Cause I’mma f**k you so good I’m about to ruin your plans.” It’s predictable. Similarly “Black Out” doesn’t separate itself from better song. At the same time, it’s not total miss – average at best.
“Spell Check” seems to question the balance between staying true to oneself and embracing the party with the risk or thrill of excess. It’s definitely an interesting listen, despite running under two minutes. The concluding lines are arguably Stud’s best and most prudent: “Never edit for someone else’s credit / that ain’t the message I’m sending.”
“Anyone Else” doesn’t leave much to the imagination either, but not because of overconfidence. Basically “Anyone Else” is the set’s love song, with Stud paying ode to his love. The problem? It’s not empty by any means, but it’s also not particularly memorable.
“YNK,” an acronym for “you never know,” recaptures the spirit swag of the opening duo. The problem? It’s just over a minute in length. But hey, we get ripe lyrics like “Life’s a bitch but I f**k with her / I just might fall in love with her.” Give Stud credit for “Through the Night” with its moody, experimental vibe. Stud definitely sounds under the influence of Drake here.
In addition to the hypnotic guitar, “Jack Daniels” as a whole is easily among the set’s top-three songs. There’s more cockiness (“Got my girl at the crib foreplaying / and I’m cruising down the motherf**king Boulevard”) and even some vulnerability (“That Jack Daniels, wash away my sadness / for the money and the fame and the antics / man, god damn it / so pour me some Jack Daniels”). No it’s not a potential Grammy-winning joint, but again, among the elites of These Days.
“These Days (Remix)” featuring Marcus Stroman finds Mike Stud as self-assured – aka cocky – as ever. A perfect example: “I f**ked three times before three today, piece of cake.” That’s not even the hook, where Stud’s definitely “in the mood”: “I just wanna chill, drink, smoke, f**k / cause god damn that body’s goals as f**k / somehow you hot as hell but still cold as f**k.” This isn’t new, it’s cliché, but if only temporarily, it’s accomplishes the task?
So, what’s the verdict on These Days? Overall it’s an enjoyable effort, but it’s also not an album that brings anything particularly new or transcendent to rap. Listening to These Days, it feels like an album that’s played out multiple times. That doesn’t make it bad and definitely not inferior, but it also doesn’t necessarily distinguish it or Mike Stud from other MCs.
Favorites: “Swish,” “10th Inning” and “Jack Daniels”