Written by ∆³

It’s summer. The sun’s out, you’re feelin’ right, and vibin’ hella nice. Your mind’s already assuming hang outs and hook ups, and as soon as the mixing and mingling ensues, it happens. You see her, and one glance gears into conceptions, expectations, and hopefully and more importantly, a connection.

There’s lots of songs that sensualize the experiences of summer hook ups; it’s actually one of those things that lovers of life and music keep a good listening ear out for. I’ve waited two seasons long for some lit summer tunes, and when I heard the Mike McLaren’s Hip-Hop & R&B debut single release, “Sunset” feat. LaKeith Rashad, my patience felt appreciated. 

Mike McLaren may sound somewhat new to loads of Hip-Hop aficionados and fans alike, but Hip-Hop is not so new to Mike. Mike grew up in Canada, home of heavyweight crooners like Drake, Justin Bieber, and Tory Lanez, and that’s really just a few of the artists that have made waves in the past decade by way of Hip-Hop and minces of R&B from McLaren’s native state. 

With touted inspirations that include Mac Miller, J. Cole, and Chris Brown, you can easily see how the single “Sunset” morphed itself into McLaren’s library of recorded songs. Though “Sunset” may be McLaren’s first single release on music streaming giants like Apple Music & Spotify, he’s got a few mixtapes out there. Lowkey, he’s aurally solid in his progression, and if you’re into emcees like NF, G-Eazy, & Lil Dicky you should definitely give him a listen. 

“The beat was produced by Jan Branicki and Daniel Cisneros. When I heard the chorus I knew it was a potential hit and I just tried my best to make it happen. I’m from Winnipeg Canada but I flew out to Pittsburgh and made the track at I.D. Labs, where John Domit (JD) mixed and mastered it giving it that complete finished sound. I couldn’t be happier with how the track turned out, hopefully, some people out there think so to.”

– Mike McLaren

La’Keith Rashad sets “Sunset” off melodically marinating the Jan & Daniel produced and McLaren co-produced single. The track carries a late 90’s to early 2000’s break beat type of vibe, allowing the serenades of Rashad to salvage the track’s tone toward a welcomed shift, sifting newer ears to the Uptown Records & Bad Boy sounds that soared artists like The Notorious B.I.G, Mary J. Blige, and Jodeci to chart heights. McLaren lends his honest and charmingly quirky Hip Hop narrative dances around the notion of a chanced glance accompanied by a sunsetting backdrop.

La’Keith’s “I just wanna see the sunset, / and roll through the summer breeze with you…” along with McLaren’s “Moscato wine mixed with marijuana cigarettes, / anticipation of what comes next… /Polar opposites, of course we attract, /it’s that Blink 182 meets Mac Miller soundtrack…” annotate just how lyrically sound and vocally vivacious “Sunset” is.

“Sunset” is slammin’. McLaren and La’Keith are in ways like the McLaren’s love interest on the song: opposites. La’Keith laces the single with a street vibe, while McLaren douses Lakeith’s street style with some contemporary suburban sleekness that works. The more I listen, the more I get the idea that we’re amid a wave that’s allowing the street fame of Rap to welcome artists who perhaps grew up on a different side of the tracks.

It’s no mistake that artists like McLaren are out here doing their thing in the name of Hip-Hop, but are they getting the credit they deserve as emcees? After listening to McLaren’s latest single, it feels like rappers like him should be given that chance to at least consider accolading on levels that accommodate artists like Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, Drake, and more.

So what if we’re using names here like G-Eazy, Lil Dicky, and J. Cole in the same creative vein. Shouldn’t that be a testament to how deep the reach of Hip-Hop goes instead of marginalizing artists and fans of that same genre? Sounds like we should all just sit back and chillax awhile with a “Sunset” style of feel.

Listen To Mike McLaren’s “Sunset”

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