Anthony Taylor

Although Mic Capes’ forthcoming Cold Blooded: Volume One is 11 tracks long—enough to consider it an album—the rapper’s not quite sure if it’s truly an LP.

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“I don’t know what to call it—an album, an EP, project. People say it’s an album because it’s 11 songs,” Capes says, “but I look at albums like something with a main theme. And this is not that.”

Recorded with Zeb at Momentum Studios, the North Portland MC says his purpose for Cold Blooded—due May 27—was to just rap, get things off his chest, and talk his shit over some bouncy production. Unlike his debut LP Concrete Dreams, which sets a foundation and tells where Capes came from, this new project is more in line with the rapper’s Sheesh EP from 2017. “I wanted people to feel [Cold Blooded] more, rather than just listening to it and having to break down everything,” he says. The result is a less dense and deliberate project, and more of a vibe that lets the ego shine.

“I tend to take more of the humble approach to a lot of my music, or it’s more so coming from a place of political stuff, and things that’re going on in the world and our environments... And there’s a little bit of that on [Cold Blooded], but ‘Paid in Full,’ for instance, is artist empowerment,” he says.

That song is capped off by a hilarious voicemail from a promoter who says he can’t afford Capes’ performance fee, offering drink tickets instead.

“And then you got ‘Missed Calls’—it’s just honest,” Capes says. “That’s something that goes on in my life. I’m not good with texting back and calling back and being on the phone and alladat.”

“Missed Calls” will be relatable for any hustler who find the notifications on their phone are distracting to their daily productivity. Its catchy chorus is deserving of a music video treatment, and will persuade you to bounce along to the Bravodomo-produced beat:

“I barely answer the phone/I’m in the zone/Stuck on my grind, yeah/I barely answer the phone/Ain’t about dough, I hit decline, yeah.”

Of course, there’s still some sociopolitical content on Cold Blooded. On “Menace,” which features a rapid-fire verse from Glenn Waco, Capes experiments with a different flow pattern, while lyrically retaliating against police brutality: “Got something made of metal for them devils on a killin’ spree/I’m cool with white folks but wanna murder white supremacy/Cops walk around with the energy of an enemy/Who much rather see me a memory, death a mystery.”

In addition to the upbeat lead single “Mansa Musa,” other highlights include “King Capes” (with a beat by Brandon Dean AKA Prodbychxzn that appears to discreetly sample “Everybody Mad” by O.T. Genasis), the get-hype success story “Autographs,” and the raw closing track “Show Love,” which features a slew of shout-outs to folks in the Portland hip-hop community.

And while it may not be a “concept album,” per se, Capes attaches interludes to the beginning and end of many of the tracks, helping string it together. “I can’t help it. I’m an album-type person so I just automatically think of transitions to make the tracks make sense going into each other,” Capes says. “It always brings together a project for me when I hear little voicemails or excerpts of somebody talking to make the next track make sense.”

In the opener, “FRNZY” (produced by Drae Slapz), Capes declares, “My focus isn’t local/I’m tryna take it worldwide.” It’s his way of speaking on why he’s not playing as many home-court gigs these days.

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“It’s just where I’m at,” Capes says. “It’s not saying that I’m not paying attention to what’s going on locally, I just think as an artist you get to a certain point where your music gotta move beyond where you live at. When you’re here for a while and you’re doing your thing, you see other artists doing their thing, and a lot of people get caught in comparing themselves to what’s going on in this vacuum of Portland, Oregon, instead of looking outside of it and expanding their craft and their reach.”

Other than hosting a listening party for Cold Blooded, Capes says he’s focused on making a second volume of the project, as well as working on his next full-length, tentatively titled Restless. “I don’t walk around beating my chest, but this is how I feel. Here it is, take it or leave it. But I also wanna inspire people to rap more. Not just here, but all over. Actually rap, put words to what you’re saying.”

Cold Blooded will be available on all streaming platforms this Memorial Day, and the project is currently available for pre-order.