Review: Mike Hustle shines on new LP “I Got That Hustle”

Mike Hustle has been on a consistent rise through the indie ranks of the Southeast for years now. Known for his penchant for tracks deeply rooted in the streets and the highs and lows of hustling in them, Hustle never seems to miss. Every single video, single, even down to his artwork is always well planned out and presented in a fashion that not many indie artists can match.

It’s for this reason we continue to see the MC progress to higher and higher levels of notoriety. More recently Mike Hustle was bestowed the honor of a nomination for a 2019 Jackson Music Award. Being chosen as one of the top male Hip-Hop artists in his area only further confirms that his music is rapidly budding. That surely looks to continue as we get the follow-up to his 2017 album “Natural Born Hustler”, appropriately titled “I Got That Hustle”.

For the album I just wanted to revitalize that old Cash Money/No Limit sound we all grew up on. I ran across a few beats that inspired me to put a project together of that sound and this album came out of it.

The LP begins with “New Hustle”. It sets a strong tone as one of the more prominent lyrical displays of the whole set off the bat. It’s simply a perfect intro. From there we get “Metro Boomin”. The hook is typical for Mike Hustle, extremely catchy and well within the pocket of the beat.

“Bout Whatever” brings the first of many strong features with Isiah Binladen. The song itself carries a heavy 90’s influence, an era that Mike has channeled often as late with a planned project to come in the future delving solely into the time period. A sample of the Hot Boyz classic of the same title, it lays the stage for both Jackson representatives to shine.

“Cash Race” is held down by a melodic hook as Raith and Lil Vinci make guest appearances. It’s yet another catchy entry on a project that has yet to show much of a flaw. One of the singles from “I Got That Hustle” follows with “96-P”. This one samples Master P.’s “Ice Cream Man” as Mike Hustle compares his hustle to that of your favorite childhood confection pusher. Frequent collaborator SwishDaKyng helps to round out the record.

One of my personal favorites on the album is “No More”. I love Hustle’s verse on this one as I feel his flow was some of the strongest rapping he did of the album. Raith adds a soulful hook that helps take things to the next level. D.O.N.O. Vegas has always killed his rhymes and it’s no different with his feature on “No More”.

The heavy features don’t make the album feel bogged down at all but Mike gets back to some solo action for “Outlaw”. This one gives me early Cash Money Records vibes instantly. From the production, to the content, to the rhyme patterns the MC uses it just takes you back to that feeling. A well placed Tupac sampled brings an extra dynamic that expands the sound to multiple regions.

“Big Time” is a proclamation of the large lifestyle the grind has provided for Mike Hustle. On an album so focused on hustling its only right he celebrates the earnings one good time. He and Parkway Dee do just that on this track. Heavy 808’s on the production make it a fit for strip clubs and the night scene of the city.

The celebration of the spoils doesn’t last long though as Mike gets to work on “Clockin In”. Here we get to see a bit of storytelling from the artist as he takes through a day in the life. I’m not sure who was responsible for samples and how they were placed on this project but I want to personally commend them. Another well timed one in Gucci Mane’s “Trap House” hits this one.

The “On the Dash” Interlude is a smooth cut that fits perfectly with Mike Hustle’s southern drawl. It segues right into “N.U.G.K.”. Both tracks take us down to Texas with their sonic influences. On the latter he stakes his claim as the New Underground King and does a good job at it. It’s just another impeccable record in a long line of them on “I Got That Hustle”.

The vibe gets slowed down a bit as Mike caters to the women on “Diversion”. While not a love song by any means the tempo and a second strong appearance from Raith makes it a candidate to be a favorite amongst his female fans. Nice to see him experiment with different sounds here and not fall too comfortably into one style.

“With You” is probably the most clearly crossover ready record on “I Got That Hustle”. To be honest it may be the most clear one in Hustle’s catalog. Where as “Diversion” is more of a song about a woman who has his interest, this one feels like an outright love song. It’s very well done though and doesn’t feel or sound forced which may surprise someone who basis their early opinion on solely what is presented at the front of the LP.

“How You Want It” is a bit of a bridge from what the previous two tracks offered and the last two will. It’s not an outright ass shacking anthem but it definitely will still get the ladies moving. Album single “Hey Lil Mama” on the other hand is a direct nod to the Miami bass era. This one has one particular goal and that’s making shit jiggle.

Mike Hustle closes the album with another club anthem in “Bounce It”. Checking nearly every box there is for Southern rap, he has the New Orleans Bounce influence on full display here. A Jodeci sample helps to close out the extended instrumental because who doesn’t love Jodeci? Not the normal type of closer you’d expect for an album but it worked well.

When it comes to “I Got That Hustle” there really are few critiques I can give. For those looking for a wide range of subject matter and extensive lyricism this may not be for you. Mike does know his lane though so if you’re looking for some street influenced, 90’s tinged rhymes look no further. The project is cohesive, well put together and a joy to listen to even with a long tracklist. Simply put it’s my favorite project to come from Mississippi thus far in 2019.

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