Nobody wants to just “survive.” But Houston emcee Mike Checc is more focused on keeping it real than being fly.

“Music has always been a form of expression to me, if that makes sense… I guess it’s kind of the way I sleep at night.”

These words open “Quiet Storm,” one of a handful of tracks Houston-based emcee Mike Checc has lined up for his upcoming #2017TEEN5 mixtape. #2017TEEN5 is Mike’s first project of the year, and the first since releasing his self-titled mixtape of sorts, The Mike Checc, almost a year ago.

His name has meaning: just like a “mic check” is necessary to prepare one for a performance to come, so, too, has Mike Checc branded himself a reporter of the real. His peers in Houston may draw their material from stunting and living lavish. Mike Checc, on the other hand, chooses to breathe life into the struggle to rise above hard times.

Last week, Mike Checc premiered his latest single, “Recollect” featuring King Khayno and YGN Tadoe, his partners-in-crime in a collective called “7TEEN5.” Baker Yung handles production, providing “Recollect” with ominous keys that soon give way to a trap-inspired beat. Mike’s delivery is gritty. When Mike barks on the hook, “War on my mind,” it’s not just a phrase but the honest thoughts of a general in the streets. King Khayno and YGN Tadoe each share their own journeys through dark alleys and amidst shooters, as well. But “Recollect” is catchy in spite of its grit. It doesn’t try to make the struggle something to turn up to. It just so happens that its solid beat and awesome delivery from all three emcees, demand that listeners nod their heads along.

Mike Checc has #ThePulse right now for daring to display himself as one willing to fight for it as opposed to flaunt with it. Hear his “Recollect” single, featuring King Khayno and YGN Tadoe, for yourself down below. Mike Checc has promised that in addition to his 2017TEEN5 project, an official video for “Recollect” is on the way soon.