I have always believed that I offer a unique perspective on hip-hop music. As someone who danced for 18 years, I have a certain appreciation for the beat, a rapper’s cadence and the way the lyrics flow. As a writer, I have an appreciation for the lyrics and, Lord, do I love a great metaphor. However, I’m not really a “hip-hop head”. Still, I am a bit of a snob about hip-hop because I know some of the best rappers in the region. I mean, my boyfriend’s brother is the King of the Northwest. I digress. Good music is good music, right?

Right. So, a couple of weeks ago Mic Capes sent me Rise & Grind, a project he dropped last September. Since he followed proper music submission protocol, I am honoring his request with a review.

I have to admit, I fell in love after hearing the first track. There is something about Felicia Taylor’s voice… It automatically puts me in a good place, musically, and I was happy to see that she was featured on many of the other songs as well. But her voice is merely the icing on the cake.

Mic Capes plays with the story telling aspect of hip-hop. He takes you on a journey through the good and the bad. After listening, you may feel like you understand him better. You don’t even know if the stories he’s telling are true, but you feel them. You feel the struggle, the dispair, the excitement, the motivation. When an artist can accurately convey all of those emotions and still keep your head nodding, they have succeeded.

Mic CapesAnd though Capes “keeps it real” in his lyrics, he also doesn’t bore you to death by talking about popping bottles and screwing bops. I dig that, a lot. I also dig the Wale-esqe sound he has. Let me be clear, that this is not an insult. Present day Wale is kind of a disappointment, but at one point he had a particular vibe that I hear some familiarity of in Rise & Grind as well. Like a melodic ear massage. A kind of jazzy sound. It’s much easier to pay attention to the lyrics when they are laid nicely over good beats.

And boy, are there some good beats. The production can be attributed to Lunch Time Legends, Stewart Villain, Bryce Lang and many others who provide an awesome score to Cape’s tales. Plus, with appearances from artists like Glenn Waco and Rasheed Jamal – who is quickly becoming a personal favorite – you are surely in for a treat. Expect the unexpected. Expect to relate. Expect to nod your head. Expect to enjoy yourself when you push play.

Honestly, I didn’t think I was going to like it much. Turns out I loved just about everything on the project. My only complaint is that it could have been mixed a bit better; however, even with levels being slightly off and ever so shakey blends, its a great listen.

But you don’t have to take my words for it. *in my Reading Rainbow voice*