Mike Red - Root$_cover

Okay, so let’s get this out of the way first and foremost – sadly, no, there are no Kunta Kinte namedrops or references to Alex Haley’s novel, much less the ABC miniseries of the same name, on Mike Red’s newest album.

That early disappointment aside, Mike Red redeems himself by arming Root$, the follow-up to his summer release Still Holdin’ V, with fifteen tracks of solid listens and plenty of punchlines. Red handles the boardwork for nearly most of the project, save a few production assists from George Young (who infuses country-rap feel on “Brokenhearted Swang” and absolutely goes bananas on “James Harden”), Bro Dini, and Alien University. He also keeps the features to a minimum, choosing quality over quantity with the likes of Young, Rai P, Mo. City emcee $ly Coop, and fellow Bless The Fresh-mate Tony del Freshco.

Although Root$ earliest singles – the twerk-like-there’s-no-tomorrow anthem “Chun Li” with Rai P and $ly Coop, and “Jammin’ Screw,” which bookends the album as a combo track with “A Million” – suggested that the album would live and die by more bombastic and bass-driven tracks, the more laid-back additions that can be counted amongst Root$’ best takeaways, as well, such as the old-school sounding “Stuntin’ On Em” and “Up II No Good.” That doesn’t stop Mike Red from continually pledging his allegiance to the grind, the hustle, and how much he trusts his work ethic and instincts, though. It’s why songs “Prove Em Wrong” just wouldn’t go half as hard as it does if “Intuition” didn’t pick up with its Southern twang and drum bang right behind it; and why listeners won’t be able to resist chanting (or is that barking?) “I’m so MUTHAF*CKIN’ focused!” along with Red on “Focus-BN.”

Mike Red insists that the LP will find its way onto Spotify and iTunes shortly for you to more adequately support the artist. Until it does, feel free to find your “Roots” by streaming and downloading the LP below.