Micah James
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Micah James

Los Angeles, California, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | SELF

Los Angeles, California, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2014
Solo Hip Hop

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Like I said yesterday, on the occasions when I find something to like about contemporary Hip-Hop I really like it. And for the last couple years some of the things I’ve liked the most have been “mixtape” projects. This despite the fact that for a number of years previous a decrease in mixtape quality and the co-opting of mixtapes as an industry-approved promotions tool had been a major cause of my Hip-Hop-related grief. But the advent of internet-distributed mix-albums—still a huge departure from the classic definition of a mixtape in my mind—from on-the-bubble artists changed that, and I’ve come to accept them as an introductory platform for talented newcomers ever since.

Micah James
The newest of comers to break into my consciousness—and onto my list, not just of rookies to watch but of rappers I’m impressed enough by to actually call myself a fan of—with a mixtape is Micah James, a Los Angeles-based emcee affiliated with The 87 Stick-Up Kids who recently guested on Serengeti and Hi-Fidel’s Friday Night LP. His 17 track Agoraphobia mixtape is pretty equally split between original productions and beat-jackin’ cuts where he spits over compositions from the likes of Madvillain, The Smiths, K.M.D., Jay Dee, The Cure, Black Star and Aphex Twin, amongst others. Like fellow Los Angelino Blu a great deal of his charm lies in his affable personality, frank honesty and down-on-his-luck everyman realism, which distances him from the formulaic posturing of the average emcee just as much as the spryness of his flow and the witty phrase-turning of his lyricism. In fact, he quite resembles a like-minded neighbor of Blu, Prince Paul if he rapped, Common before he got sued for his “sense”, Homeboy Sandman if he were from Cali (even though he sounds like a New York Project Blowed-ian to me) and eccentric b-boy troubadours Serengeti and Hi-Fidel on the mic. On the title track he says “my mixtape murders big-budget conceit, but without big buzz in the streets I’ll be hopeless,” but as far as I’m concerned Micah and emcees like him are Hip-Hop’s only hope, so I can’t help buzzing about him. - Okayplayer


In this day and age, Micah James sets himself apart from other hip-hop artists by the simple fact that he is not wack. As another contributor to the West Coast rap renaissance, his flow is smart, funny, and abstract enough for him to rhyme whatever he wants with whatever he wants. He recently released his mixtape 'agoraphobia' and is offering it to the world to download...for free. Basically, he's giving away dopeness. Besides, isn't it about time that rappers had a new, "Yeah-I'm-light-skinded-and-your-point-is?" dude? Sorry 'Ye, but it looks like the guys with a little less pigment might be coming back in style after all. - Raymond Roker


At the start of his first mixtape, MC Micah James makes his intentions clear: "I came to give the rap game what they missin'." It's idealistic, but Micah might have the chops to do this. The man's got a flow that knows no topical bounds. Whether joking, or telling the story of a diamond heist gone wrong, Micah rhymes with the same passion. Equally eclectic is Micah's musical taste; he uses the Smiths and Aphex Twin in his beats. Micah hits a few lyrical potholes, but it's the start of something.— Anthony Fantano - New Mass Media


Here is more proof that the Renaissance is blooming in the West. Micah James is a up and coming rapper from Los Angeles, California who recently dropped his first mixtape entitled, Agoraphobia, highlighting his electric expressions, infectious vocals, and classic Los Angeles linguistics.

Below are a few sample tracks from the mixtape. Hit the flipside for the full tracklisting, artwork, download, and video from Micah James. 310, waddup?

Read more: http://www.flawlesshustle.com/video/free-mixtape-micah-james-agoraphobia/#ixzz0Vv7N0ROE
- Flawless Hustle, RM London


Upon first listening of Micah James you can tell the man behind the mic has a intelligence and understand of his music well beyond just songs. “Agoraphobia”, Micah’s latest project, hits at a niche in the hip-hop thats seem to have been left for dead; an conscience introspective body of work. Micah James is a perfect example of the new breed of Hip-Hop coming out of LA and solidifies his self with Agoraphobia as an artist to keep an eye on for a long time to come. Listen to Agoraphobia the title track from the project and download an inspiring piece of music. - Family Affair


I was going to post this tomorrow, but I can’t wait. It's already 4 months late. Enjoy.

Back in 2006, one of my favorite albums ever, Early Morning, was released by the Breakfast Club and Ro Blvd. The production from producer Ro Blvd was amazing (way too slept on). The Breakfast Club is composed of a few underground emcees from California, all of which were lyrically talented. Each rapper came hard with amazing lyrics and substance, one of which was Micah James. Although not my favorite of the group, he was nonetheless very good. He is a substance-rich, lyrically-creative emcee. He has a J-live/Blu (for those of you who know either) vibe and can be categorized as smooth hip hop. His introspective lyrics are so well crafted you rediscover new punch lines upon every new listen. All the production on here is chill and matches Micah’s style perfectly. I loved this mixtape. You just need to try him out and you will be hooked. I hope you guys like this as much as I did. The standout tracks are basically the entire tape, but Making My Way, Drink One More, Underage Girls, MacDope Pro, All Cats Are Grey, Light skinned, and Dream Final. This shit is so damn sick, you need this tape for the simple fact that you haven’t heard of him. Wake up bloggers it’s time to get up, hip hop is at the door. Go answer it, 4.5/5. - Lyrics First Blog


As of this morning I'm officially adding another name to my list of favorite contemporary rappers. The name in question belongs to Micah James, an eclectic Los Angeles-based emcee so-far best known for his collaborations with The 87 Stick-Up Kids and a guest appearance on Serengeti—who's also on my list—and Hi-Fidel's group Friday Night's recent self-titled LP.

All it took was one listen-through of the "Peachfuzz"-jacking "Underage Girls" from his new mixtape/demo 'Agoraphobia' to sell me on James' skills. Tracks like the Craig Mack & Grimmace-referencing "MacDope Pro"—delivered over Aphex Twin's "Bbydhyonchord"—and the not-quite cover of The Cure's "All Cats are Grey" pushed me over the edge.

Micah James 'Agoraphobia' (.ZIP)

If you've ever dug anything from cats like the aforementioned Serengeti, Blu, or The Cool Kids—or you just wish Hip-Hop artists were as witty, creative and atypical as they were back in the late '80s and early '90s—you need this shit. But if you need more convincing before you take the huge risk and download a free mixtape, here's a video for the track "Lightskinneded."

Really, this shit is doooooope! - El Keter Ben Tzadik, Imageyenation


Los Angeles-based emcee Micah James-an up-and-coming star known for his affiliation with The 87 Stick Up Kids and Serengeti and Hi Fidel's group Friday Night-just lensed his second video, a clip for the title track from his ‘Agoraphobia’ mixtape directed by DiaCreative's Kwesi Koda.



On the track James self-deprecatingly boasts that his “mixtape murders big-budget conceit,” but the classy video goes a long way towards killing a lot of the overblown and undercooked visual concepts far more famous and better-paid rappers befoul the eyes of their fans with as well.

If you haven't already downloaded Micah James' ‘Agoraphobia’ mixtape you should really do it now as it's one of the best new Hip-Hop releases of the year, and one of the strongest debuts I've heard from an on-the-bubble emcee in recent memory. - El Keter Ben Tzadik, Imageyenation


This is a nice 17 track demo/album release that was sent to me from the man himself, Micah James. I had never heard of Micah, but decided to give the joint a spin in any case. I was pleasantly surprised to hear some very unique delivery and wordplay, instead of the usual cookie cutter Myspace rapper. He has some excellent production on the project as well from Bombay and Ro Blvd. I suggest you check agoraphobia or hit him up on his Myspace link below. - Potholes In My Blog, Reyn


I realized that I posted that Reckless Tortuga x Micah James video yesterday & spoke about how Micah James was one of my favorite new MCs, but since many of yall haven’t even heard of yet I figured it was only right that I shared this. Agoraphobia is his debut mixtape & really is a breath of fresh air. If you’re a fan of laidback, jazzy, early Project Blowedesque type hip-hop, this should be right up your alley. Check out a couple of his tracks below & if you’re diggin em, hit the jump for the tracklist & DL link. - The Mash Up, Myk Blauuw


The gawd Hadyn put me on to Micah James maybe a year ago by sending me a track or two he did. Couldn’t even tell you what tracks they were or if they were just freestyles or what. Dude can rap. His voice is really, really dope. Sense of humour is hella left field though (which is pretty much where my sense of humour finds its home as well). I don’t say though as a qualifier or intending to suggest that I find his music good and interesting in spite of this fact. More to the point, his non sequitur, conversational and at times initially strange story telling techniques are what make it good and interesting.
I started following him on social media as Hadyn would tag me in a post here or there or share something, and yep, his social media (specifically Twitter and Instagram) just as left (and frequently hilarious) as his bars. For example. For another example. Another one. © Khaled. Hilarious. In fact, I can’t really think of anyone I know of besides peak DOOM that perfectly replicates the idiosyncratic way ones mind can work in non-art-creating-life and also in song in a way that people can find entertaining—I mean that to say, that while I don’t know Micah personally, to me his music & lyrics sound the way his social media behaves, and vice versa—because for the most part all of our social media is heavily curated to fashion that outward persona thing we have going on.
The thing is, I can’t tell how much of this is character he’s dedicated to or just him, and where those two edges meet and blur. Frankly, that’s immaterial. The music is good, and he’s hilarious, and most importantly to me, he can rap.
Several days ago he released a video for his latest song “Shadows”, but before we get to that, perhaps you need a #LatePass like I do when it comes to Micah James, so let’s go back as far as I could find via internet sleuthing. I’m annoyed that somehow I missed his 2009 mixtape Agoraphobia, which you can stream below.
Even in 2009, rapping over a mixture of original production and other people’s beats (from Dilla, to Madvillain, to Ludacris, to KMD), this is something that should have hit my radar and I don’t know how it didn’t. All bars, sharp cultural observations, a lil self deprecation, splashes of overall canonical hip hop critique, stories, all around humour and the right beats. Kind of a total package. For example, track 4 off Agoraphobia.
“Curls”

Kick the flow sick the earl /
toxic spit for real /
MCs and all the girls seem to flock. /
The game is getting hot, double-fisted Hennesey shot-style /
the vivid imagery is nigga-wildforthenight. I’m rampaging like EMPD/LL /
on the streets if my CD don’t sell well /
And my name don’t rings bells yet, but I rock them niggas /
Camera shy, cover my eyes in all my pictures /
but the people say he’s so photogenic /
Been walking a tight rope all my life, half-white and afrocentric /
Crackers looking at me like them birds from the movie Dumbo (“well I be done seen about err’thang”) /
coons be bugging when they hear me say the “N” word /
I interned with Universal Music Distribution—they wouldn’t give me loot /
so I bounced and now I troopin’ on my own two /
The independent route for the moment /
And I pray for atonement, but at the same time I’m still trying to find an opening into this game for me… /
I’m honestly conscious, but still concerned with money /
And I am the dichotomy of where the game was and here and now where it’s gotta be—build and destroy /
The gap-bridger, for all non-blacks and niggas /
and I ain’t saying that we’re niggas y’all, it’s just a figure of speech /
I’m know that I’m the perfect blend mixture, the blue chip recruit /
and I used to play hoops back in the days, but I wasn’t getting paid /
PLUS I couldn’t kick the truth to the youth that way /
so I had to change my approach. And y’all can keep smoking on your roach /
I’m polishing the brooch up, here’s some game, just soak up and chill.
#BARZ, nigga. And delivery.
All I could wonder after listening to this mixtape 6 years late was “…what kind of project could he put together with original production?” considering how good this was with him rocking over other people’s instrumentals and making them his own.


And then there’s his single “Said 2 Much” from earlier this year. How did I miss this?


Basically, I’m judging the hell out of all of my friends that knew who this cat was, but didn’t put me on.

Here’s his most recent song and video, “Shadows” over an ill Yellow Music Orchestra loop. Left field as hell, but dope all the same. The minute someone of influence that also has an imagination pays attention, this dude is outta here! You can tell he has all the ideas running through his head at once. Word to Mr. Whiskers. - Rappers I Know, FWMJ


Following up his recent “Said 2 Much” single, LA’s r n’ b crooner and emcee Micah James dropped by a slice of that SoCal life with the video for “Shadows” from Thed Jewel, shot by Alex Jones with Blacktop Films editing. The video features deep thoughts on courtly love from James from relaxing in the pool to retreating to vacant fields and pondering the darker sides of the sun’s prismatic beams and shadow casts.



Micah James was ever so kind as to share some thoughts on the inspirations behind “Shadows” and a bit about the making of this fun, cool, and sentimental sided video:

The lyrics in “Shadows” are about a seemingly mundane day in the life of the narrator. He picks out his clothes, brushes his teeth and accidentally gets locked out of the house, more or less. While out in the day, he meets someone breathtaking and everything illuminates, so to speak. “What light from yonder break” or whatever they say. He kinda falls in love only to realize that it was all a dream. He wasn’t kissing his lover, his cat was really licking his face, which is fun I think. He’s upset at first but is almost resolute that he and this dream figure will meet again at some point, in another dream—a safer, more idealized environment than the real world. I prefer that sort of ending because it doesn’t place any kind of unnatural longing for a soul mate on the main character. His desire, we learn, isn’t at all to find that in his daily life. He’s cool knowing that it exists somewhere else, and even more at ease knowing that he doesn’t really have any control over it. When they meet again it will be because it’s supposed to happen that way.

The video was directed by Thed Jewel, who is new to music videos and very fresh. While we didn’t want the song and video to be literal mirrors of each other, it is somewhat a surreal dream sequence. The house represents the challenging realities we all face: job, bills, food for the kids, weight loss, I dunno, whatever you got going on. The pool represents a departure from that. Initially a reprieve and subsequently a complete rebirth, if you will. There are scenes were I’m lounging in the water, in my swimsuit, kind of taking a break from “the house” but then there’s this final dive that I take, emerging from the water in this wool suit. That poor wool suit, by the way—I hated to have to get it all soaked like that. But yeah, that’s the new new. Cleansed of the desire to live in the house. Then we end off in this kinda neutral zone, surrounded by air and mountains and natural life. An area for you to design as you see fit. There’s also the fun little bit at the end where I leave the house and the guy who actually lives there pulls up and is all “what is this dude doing coming out of my house?” People are protective of their things in that way. What they’ve acquired and worked for. I’m not mad at that but I think this video, much like the song, is saying that there are places where the rules and requirements of your physical world—whether it’s one that’s been thrust upon you or one that you’ve been stacking up for yourself—don’t exist. Where you don’t care who’s in your house because you don’t have a house to own in this alternate environment. Maybe that’s just in dreams or perhaps there are more unknowns out there to explore. It sounds really dumb to say it like that and read it back in my head but you know what I mean. - Impose Magazine


Discography

'agoraphobia' (mixtape) - released independently online, january 2009

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Los Angelese based artist and performer. Hip hop. Songs about love, depravity and personal management.

Band Members