MIKE, “Beware of the Monkey”

Like a short story writer moving into the novel’s narrative form, the East Coast rapper has figured out how to expand his dreamy sensibilities without losing his intimate sleepy qualities.
Reviews

MIKE, Beware of the Monkey

Like a short story writer moving into the novel’s narrative form, the East Coast rapper has figured out how to expand his dreamy sensibilities without losing his intimate sleepy qualities.

Words: AD Amorosi

January 24, 2023

MIKE
Beware of the Monkey
10K

For a rapper-producer known throughout the latter half of the 2010s for his dozy musicality, cloudily formed abstract rhythms, and woozily introspective lyrics, Michael Bonema—a.k.a. MIKE—now seems to make sharply succinct tracks and frank, expansive full-length bodies of work. After 2021’s cutting, sunny DISCO! LP, MIKE’s new mixtape Beware of the Monkey has the picturesque feel of a rainy day in his native Brooklyn with all of his brooding lyricism and newfound bold musicality at his command. 

Perhaps Beware of the Monkey is his sonic mission statement of having gone from being a kid into the sound and vision of manhood—who knows? What that growth spurt means, in literal terms, is highly personal, forward-facing rants (such as “Nuthin i can do is Wrng”) and mournful worrisome feelings ("What do I do?") packed into lyrical phrases more vivid and deeply etched than anything in his past.

Like a short story writer moving into the novel’s narrative form, MIKE has figured out how to expand his dreamy sensibilities—as heard on DISCO!’s twinkling “Crystal Ball”—without losing the intimate sleepy qualities of 2018’s Renaissance Man, a title that fits MIKE now more than it did five years ago. They grow up fast, don’t they?