Mike Red - Fortunate-cover

Most in the city of Houston know Mike Red as a producer first. The local boardman’s name can be found in the liner notes of plenty of projects from the H’s biggest rising stars; but he also does a little rapping of his own from time to time.

Last week, Mike Red released Fortunate, the follow-up LP to his 2014 album Root$ and his first full-scale project since collabing with Rai P on 2Kush15. For those still not quite sold on Mike Red’s talent or needing an incentive to buy what Red is figuratively and literally selling, the emcee is allowing the LP to be streamed for free.

Fortunate is completely feature-free and Red himself handles most of the production, with an assist from Alien University on three of the album’s ten tracks and George Young handling mixing duties. To let Mike Red himself tell it, the LP is written and directed by a stoner, to be a soundtrack for other stoners. But Rolling Papers, Fortunate definitely is not. The songs for stoners ARE there; Red coughs over the cleverly titled “Gas Lean,” for example, before launching into his sing-songy flow, and “Supreme Stoner Flow” dabbles in boom-bap for Red to craft himself into a superhero bearing blunts.

Yet to call it JUST “stoner rap,” would be to rob Fortunate of its diversity of sound and of Red’s own ability to genre-blend. Its intro, “Ridin’ Filthy,” sounds like something that would play out perfectly in the background of a Shaft or Superfly movie. Red channels West Coast G-Funk and The Chronic era Dr. Dre for “It’s OK (Truu).” “Let Us Know” is a banging posse cut propelled forward by piano; and Mike’s delivery is impeccable on “My Job,” a clear album standout whose deceptively simple hook (“Getting money is my job/ Man, I always do my job”) alone gives it radio single potential.

Stream Mike Red’s Fortunate LP for yourself down below, by way of the rapper’s Soundcloud. Fortunate is available now on iTunes.