Last week Mic Capes dropped the five-track EP Sheesh, a follow-up to his 2016 debut, Concrete Dreams. The Portland rapper’s subject matter isn’t as heavy as with his previous material—instead, Sheesh feels like a summery departure.
The title track opens the EP with a celebratory vibe, as Capes takes a moment to feel himself and his accomplishments. The introduction samples the viral video of Sean “Diddy” Combs negotiating a deal with MTV over the phone before shouting “I’m a savage! Whatever I want I have to get!” and destroying his own office.
It’s the perfect beginning for a song in which Capes thoroughly talks his shit: “I might just be the best out the upper left/And beyond that, that’s where my mind at, now cut the check/All I hear is money, drugs, and a bunch of threats/But if they got a problem, those suckas mumble it under breath.”
Capes continues tooting his own horn on the standout “Well Known,” which flexes on his status in Portland. The low, mesmerizing chorus repeats, “Northside nigga, yeah I’m well known/They gon’ write ‘real nigga’ on my headstone/When I die I’ll be a legend to the motherfucking kids/They gon’ paint a nigga face on the St. Johns Bridge.” At one point, he uses light Auto-Tune, a new artistic choice for him, singing, “I never ride on the waaaaaaave, I be controlling the current/I just get up on the staaaaaaaage, I grab the mic and I burn it.”
On “I Might,” Capes fantasizes about his next moves as he climbs the ladder to success. Another highlight, “Passion Froot,” features Portland rapper Lang and vocals from Blossom. It’s about being genuinely interested in a woman for what she has to offer intellectually and emotionally, as opposed to just physically.
Capes’ longtime DJ/producer Drae Slapz does the EP’s beats, with the exception of the final track “Palaces (TSDS),” which is co-produced by Alexander “Casso Dinero” Wright, the artist/illustrator behind Sheesh’s cover. “TSDS” stands for “This Shit Don’t Stop,” an appropriate closing sentiment for a track about hard work and Capes’ efforts to build a sustainable life for himself, his family, and his community.
Sheesh reminds me of Jay-Z’s 4:44; both projects have a strain of intentional and authentic messaging I can get behind.