On ‘The Checc In,’ Mike Checc is finally in control of his own destiny.

Sometimes, in order to build one thing, something else must be destroyed.

Last Spring, Houston emcee Mike Checc formally introduced himself to the city at large by way of his rugged flow and his “7TEEN5” brand. He had planned to drop ‘7TEEN5,’ the follow-up project to his ‘The Mike Checc’ mixtape, in mid-2017, and he was riding the momentum of his “Recollect” and “Quiet Storm” singles to take him there.

Then Mike’s brother passed and those plans had to be set aside. In the months that followed, instead of retreating to the shadows, Mike Checc doubled down on his focus.

On “Blame,” he was precise, a man alone with his thoughts and boxing through his demons. On “The Experiment,” he punched listeners in the face with his delivery and proclaimed his greatness from the rooftop… literally. Every move he made thereafter was all about finishing the work he started. And out of the ashes of the ‘7TEEN5’ project that was scrapped, ‘The Checc In’ emerged. After being premiered before a crowd at a Valentine’s Day listening session, ‘The Checc In’ was officially released on Monday.

Much like ‘The Mike Checc,’ the Houston rapper reached out to The Chopstars to host his latest tape. But where DJ HollyGrove handled the former, it’s DJ Candlestick on deck hosting ‘The Checc In.’ Twelve tracks deep, ‘The Checc In’ bears production from the likes of Baker Yung, MBK, frequent collaborator Milldizzy, Holleywood, and 1032Mac. The tape’s only features come from SoufWessDes and Jim Carrey (on “Motivation” via a snippet of Carrey’s “$10 Million Check’ story).

Am I the nice guy or the bad guy? Look – I really just wanna be THAT guy..” – ‘Fresh Out’

The lack of features means listeners get more of Mike; and as a result, they’re exposed to just how creative the rapper actually is. He opens the tape with spoken word, becoming a ghetto preacher of sorts on “Spoken.” The coldness of the world could have made him heartless, but the right woman makes him a heartthrob on “HER”: Mike professes that he isn’t necessarily trying to lock a woman down, so much as “strum on that p*ssy like a fiddle.” The three-track transition from “Cappin” to the “Stop what ya doin’” skit into the turn-up ready “Turn Up My New Sh!t” is flawlessly executed. “Days” sounds like old school East Coast Rap, with Mike barely taking a breath as he spits. And even though the tape seems shrouded darkness, Checc still finds a moment to laugh, on the hilarious mid-tape skit.

The struggle. The downfalls. The importance of family. Friends turned foes. And tragedy, too. It’s all enough to make any sane man check out. Mike Checc used twelve tracks to ‘Checc In’ instead, and it may be the best move he’s made in life yet.

Stream Mike Checc’s ‘The Checc In’ tape, hosted by DJ Candlestick, for yourself below.