When one thinks of disco, clubs and endless dancing immediately come to mind. A complex layer of instruments is needed, involving everything from heavy synths to playful violins to create that indescribable magical feeling. Careful attention must be paid to every measure since one misplaced note could ruin the entire musical atmosphere. Under the producer pseudonym dj blackpower, MIKE merges the rules of disco with cloud rap, successfully using samples to make his point clearer. With the precision of a surgeon, MIKE crafts a world on Disco! where every beat plays a meaningful role.
MIKE first blasted onto the lo–fi rap scene with his 2017 debut album MAY GOD BLESS YOUR HUSTLE, establishing himself as one of the genre’s breakthrough leaders. As he tinkered with his signature style of experimentation, MIKE also began exploring themes he would continue to build upon years later. One significant part of his life was his mother, with whom he felt he had a close and loving relationship. After his mother passed away in 2019, MIKE released two albums, tears of joy and weight of the world, that explored his connection with her and recorded his journey through pain and anguish. MIKE continues to battle with his emotions on Disco!, but the mood is much more optimistic. On “Evil Eye,” the opening track to Disco!, MIKE describes how his past struggles have given him newfound confidence. He dedicates the tracks on Disco! to his "momma" because he knows “she gonna pray back for me” when he “make[s] raps,” contrasting the distress he once felt when discussing his mother’s death. MIKE’s chosen sample is full of soul and funk, indicating a change from the gloom more common on his older work.
MIKE’s gratitude toward his mother continues on “Sandra,” the most mainstream trap–adjacent song on Disco!. Rather than solely focusing on the challenges of his childhood, MIKE praises his mother, realizing that “Ma’ made sure me and my sis right” and vowing to “do the same” in his future. Throughout “Sandra,” MIKE’s voice is poorly mixed and each breath can be clearly heard. What others would consider to be an amateur producer’s mistake is actually MIKE’s deliberate choice to make a fully unpolished track, one where his feelings can be heard within his otherwise monotone flow. This technique is one of MIKE’s signature skills, allowing him to uniquely capture his thought process. As the background becomes more and more prominent, MIKE’s words of wisdom of needing “no fame, just a dollar” remain with the listener. MIKE’s appreciation for simplicity, whether it’s familial love or a humble life, is echoed in his choice of samples and modifications.
“Center City” expands on MIKE’s style of rapping as a special tool, except this time it acts as a personal device. MIKE considers his raps to be a part of his own diary where he is able to share his “oldest secrets.” He feels most confident while he’s making music, where the freedom of expression allows his “demons” to be “loud.” Even if his verses are now out on streaming services for the entire world to hear, MIKE emphasizes the confidentiality of his tracks, claiming that “the only teeth that know these thoughts, that’d be me and God’s.” Only he can comprehend the meaning of his own words and how it restores his motivation. Concurrently, Disco! is an intricate body of work that is sourced from MIKE’s stream–of–consciousness thought process. MIKE trades cohesiveness for his raw sentiments, and the result is a powerful narrative of his life in recent years.
On “Endgame,” MIKE reiterates his dedication to his career and acknowledges this new phase to be promising and fulfilling. He claims that he is indefinitely obligated “to the rhythm” until his “chest break[s],” which is evident based on the fact that he’s almost out of breath as he finishes the verse. MIKE knows that what he’s written is “in the best shape” after “a weight” was “dropped” from his reluctance to be completely open with his thoughts. Now that he sees music as a form of analyzing his thoughts, MIKE values it even more. He combines his new attitudes on rap and his mother on the closing track “Spiral/Disco (Outro),” where a jazzy piano, saxophone, and glitchy beats accompany his discoveries. His suffering prior to Disco! caused him to almost “fly away,” but he says that his “rappin’ saved my life today.” To him, music is now “bars to recover” and “not for punchlines.” The song ends with a sample that continuously repeats, “It’s your mother,” reaffirming MIKE’s new outlook on his life.
Disco! won’t get the listener on their feet, but it still represents a momentary escape from grief and sorrow. Although the album is a collection of MIKE’s interactions with his surroundings, Disco! also acts as a convalescent album for MIKE. While he may not be in the mood for dancing per se, the album reveals a sort of discotheque in his mind, where his only dance partner is his own thoughts.