Microphone Phelps
Gig Seeker Pro

Microphone Phelps

Detroit, MI | Established. Jan 01, 2011

Detroit, MI
Established on Jan, 2011
Solo Hip Hop

Calendar

This band hasn't logged any future gigs

Sep
13
Microphone Phelps @ PG

Evansville, Indiana, United States

Evansville, Indiana, United States

Sep
11
Microphone Phelps @ Marble Bar

Detroit, Michigan, United States

Detroit, Michigan, United States

Aug
27
Microphone Phelps @ Majestic Theater Grounds w/ Cold Men Young

Detroit, Michigan, United States

Detroit, Michigan, United States

This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos

Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


"Detroit is the New Black Gives Local Designers a Chance"

"Poet Natasha T. Miller, a Shinola brand ambassador, organizes the poetry nights with Microphone Phelps. The suggested $5 donation goes to the nonprofit Artists Inn Detroit." - The Detroit News


"Best of 2016 Entertainment"

"Local music festivals, including Mittenfest, Hamtramck Music Festival, Corktown Strut"

"I particularly enjoyed Mic Phelps' performance at Batch Brewing ... " - Detroit Free Press


"Grand Design 2: djkage & Mic Phelps"

Mic Phelps and djkage both hit considerable creative strides this year. Their latest collaboration, Grand De$ign 2, is coming out in January.

Phelps, the emcee, lyricist, and leader a full band (on piano and vocals) called The Plug, which featured his father as a player, played a slew of shows this year and continued to collaborate with other contemporaries like Macs The Realist and his mates in Cold Men Young.

djkage, meanwhile, is the visionary producer behind the Imports series, which released a 2nd volume earlier this year. An emcee in his own right, he recently demonstrated his versatility against contemporary DJs in the realms of ghettotech, house and hip-hop through events like the Twerk or Die tour.



It was almost two years ago, to the day, that the collaborative duo of Mic Phelps and djkage released the first Grand De$ign. On Monday, everyone's invited to a listening party for Grand Design 2 at MIX Bricktown.


This album's predecessor already had a considerable chip on its shoulder, setting an urgent tone that called for substantial change over a soundscape of cerebral jazz samples and cathartic soul swoons. The stakes are raised for the sequel. A song like "WORD" off Grand Design 2 amps you up, with djkage's whirl-o-tilt percussion tightened to a danceable pattern but emitting a palpable aggressiveness, while Phelps...

The "chip on my shoulder" lyric is even dropped in the album's tremulous hard-rock-guitar sampling, gospel-tinged, ceiling-rattling closer, "HDMD..." give me justice or give me peace
get my lawyer or get my piece
i'm gonna raise my son
you can't touch my wife
you can't give me time
you can't take my life
you can't stop my friends, i'm young and wild

And as Phelps flies onward, djkage continues to churn these guitars underneath, with this marching beat buried just enough to evoke a heartbeat with its pulse raising ever so steadily. Phelps, as is his signature, speeds up his vocal cadence past the lyrics quoted above to a point of balletic blurs and angular enunciation, punching back various storms of oppression and a declarative digging-in to take claim of his own life until he explosively crescendos with: "fuck "10," I am on "12"

Then there's a song like "Word," with Phelps flaying hypocrites with that satirical refrain, while he further inspires self-empowerment to stay in ones proverbial lane. What's notable here is the syncronicity; Phelps matches up hypnotically with the danceable gear-spin of kage's beats while slices of funky guitar riffs flash in and out to give it this retro feel, half 70's/half 90's. Later, "Make It Real" brings in the pianos again, evoking a bit of jazz glamour and street poetry's imperativeness, a heed, a harangue, a heave to make it real... The horns kage finds are piquant, and Phelps is channeling Gil Scott-Heron. Intense.

But I shouldn't say too much more...because the final shape of this album, its track-list, its sonic ambiance, could be determined by the listening-party, by those who take in the tunes at the MIX Bricktown. But I can tell you that you'll hear cameos from Cold Men Young's steely/suave Blaksmith and Kopelli, as well as impassioned bars from Pierre Anthony.

Stay tuned for updates about The Grand Design as the month rolls along.

Meanwhile, you can hear it for yourself on Monday evening. - Deep Cutz (Jeff Milo)


"Sky's the limit for Mic Phelps and djkage"

Both Mic Phelps and djkage were very productive in 2016. Phelps released the highly lyrical The Wave, while djkage continued to promote singles from 2015’s D-Imports Vol.2 (while producing the viral cut “Titties In Detroit). Metro Times caught up with both of them to discuss their new collaborative project, The Grand Design 2.

Metro Times: I know you guys have worked together before. What made you decide to come together for this project?

djkage: Are you kidding! Mic Phelps is SICK!!! LOL. For real, for me, there are some real fundamental things missing in the art I love called hip-hop… I’m a DJ, the mainstream stuff sounds dope in the club and turns a party out, no doubt. But we all know content is definitely lacking, especially in terms of social relevance. For me, that’s one of the many "Grand Designs." So why not base a project in exposing that. But not by being over handed or preachy. Small amounts content wise over the course of an entire project that’s still dope to listen to and also showcases a variety in beat making and moods to boot.

Mic Phelps: We had done the Grand Design 1, and afterwards we took time to focus on the various projects we had separately, and it was just the right time again. I believe time is in control of everything and no one can avoid that so let it control naturally.

MT: Both of you have done collabs with other artists. Can you describe the producer/emcee relationship between you two and what makes it so different?

djkage: Symbiotic! We’re on the same wave for sure. After working with Phelps over the course of a multiple of projects including his mixtape series Up in Smoke Vol. 2, my djkage PRESENTS: D-Imports Vol. 2 or our first album collaboration on Grand De$ign [1].

Mic Phelps: It's easy. Kage is such a dope producer it makes it easy to come in and get to work. There's no pre thought it's just what comes out in the sessions. I write particularly fast so we never get a chance to get tired of a song while we're making it because it's done by the time the session is over. He doesn't make beats he produces and I don't rap I give words power that combination is a recipe for greatness.

MT: Was there a particular sound you were going for with this project?

djkage: Our process is really open in the beginning. While the content may already have an overall focus (see Phelps) the beats-only criteria is if it’s “flame,” After about six or seven songs there are usually three that are the best. And those tend to have a certain vibe or wave that we feel we really want to focus our direction. After that? Ride the wave. We do a lot of experimenting too, which is one of the reasons we also have around 12 songs we may compile later for a cutting room floor style mix tape! (GD2.5 maybe)

MT: How long did it take to put it together?
djkage: We started around June. We also had a few starts and stops as I had a heavy travel schedule during that time.

MT: What next on the agenda? Shows? More videos?
djkage: Brand Awareness! Which includes music videos, artist features on sites such as “Never Say Die” and crafting a superb stage show and booking them!

Mic Phelps: Action figures, trading cards, personalized sushi bibs, GD2 engraved Body Spray and Old Spice deodorants, Zima sponsorships — to be honest, the sky's the limit. - Detroit Metro Times


"Third Wave Music Store Plans Opening Celebration in Midtown"

During the opening week, dubbed "Wavy Week," a lineup of local artists are scheduled to play, including Macs The Realest, Microphone Phelps, Casual Sweetheart and Rebecca Golberg. - Crain's Detroit Business


"Album Review 'The Wave 4'"

Microphone (Mic) Phelps' lyrical prowess has been a mainstay in Detroit for the last six years. Like his southern counterpart Lil’ Wayne, Detroit fans and hip-hop heads have watched Phelp’s verbal aerobatics grow throughout his 20-plus albums, mixtapes, and EPs.

It doesn’t matter if he's sharing the mic with his Cold Men Young peeps or holding it down solo, Phelps has always hung his cap on a spitfire flow and crazy wordplay.

Enter The Wave 4. It's Phelps newest album and his best work to date. The album begins with the airy keys and witty lyrics of “5am.” “Yak town soldier/sicker than pneumonia/in the club cleaner than a bucket of ammonia/smell the skunk on me/call it Stankonia,” he raps.

“Boomin” wins the award for the catchiest chorus on the album, while “Let’s Get High,” is an R&B-ish track with lyrics that live up to the title. Phelps takes a stab at promoters who never want to pay artists to perform in “I Got Kids.” The track shows Phelps' humility and the constant Motor City struggle of local emcees getting paid what they’re worth.

Phelps also flips a Beyoncé sample into 32 straight bars of fire on “4mation.” This could have easily backfired — aren’t we all tired of the crunchy banjo in “Formation"? — but Phelps brings a new swagger to the track.

As with his previous albums; Phelps remains diverse in subject matter. “Hold Up” is an erotic cut for the ladies, while he addresses police brutality, alcoholism, unethical pastors, corrupt schools, materialism, and oppression in the layered “Tranquility.”

A simple hi-hat, kick, and snare is all Phelps needs in the powerful “M-16s.” “I’m on my job, on my occupation/I spark a blunt like a conversation/I got it locked with no combination because I’m whipping and snapping like dominatrix,” he raps.

The Wave 4 meets expectations because the production is top notch, and it’s Mic Phelps being “Mic Phelps.” Phelp’s lane is defined by the energy and substance he brings to the beats, not the other way around. Phelps has released a lot of projects, and if for some reason you still don’t know who it is; pick up The Wave 4 and get familiar. - Detroit Metro Times


"Catching Up With Mic Phelps"

Catching up with Microphone Phelps

Hamtramck's Café 1923 is filled with its usual cast of writers, readers, and coffee whisperers. The T-shirt-and-shorts-wearing emcee known as Microphone Phelps fits right in. The former performance poet (who used to go by the name Phenom) talks about his early days as a spoken-word artist.

"I used to be a waiter at Hoop City Grill back in the day," he says. "It was hosted by this dude named Jamal Gibson. He called me Phenom one day and it stuck." Poetry came naturally to the Pontiac-born Phelps. He'd been penning verses since fifth grade, and by 2006, he was one of the city's best slam poets. "I wrote every day, man; I was focused on being the best."

Even as Phelps was competing in poetry slams all over the country, he was always writing lyrics. By 2009, his fix for hip-hop had taken over. He began working on his cadence, upping his lyrical game, and acquired a new name. "I had this line in a rap that said All I do is smoke weed and win. I'm Microphone Phelps," he says. The name stuck as he started recording mixtapes and was one the founding members of the hip-hop group Cold Men Young. "It was only supposed to be a Cold Men Young project. We ended up getting a whole bunch of shows and we just ran with it," he says. The group also consists of Mic Write, Blaksmith, and Kopeli. Aside from coming up with the best name ever for a Detroit hip-hop group, the four emcees proved to be an ideal mesh of separate but equal styles (just think of a Four Horsemen version of Outkast). "Chase is more nerdy, Kopeli is more classic hip-hop, and Blacksmith is all about Hamtramck. I'm the street edge of it," he says. The group's 2009 debut, Champagne Nights/Red Stripe Budget was a local hit for backpackers and boom-bap heads alike.

By 2010 Phelps began firing off a litany of albums and mixtapes. Every release was better and more creative than the last (check out 2013's Stay Real, where he raps over five different Rage Against the Machine beats). "I decided the best way to be heard was to continuously be in the studio and put out music. I used Lil' Wayne's formula," he says with a laugh. Over the last five years, Phelps has released no fewer than 19 projects (all available on his Bandcamp page). His desire to record was so relentless that he stooped to unprofessional means. "It was a situation where I went to the studio, got done with the session, the dude downloaded it, and I dipped. It took me a few months to pay him, but I was just that hungry to record," he says.

In between recording in studios in the evening and hitting open mics at night, Phelps was able to earn money contracting himself as a poetry instructor for Detroit Public Schools and community centers. Along with money from performances, the income was enough to get by, but it still left him in the starving artist zone. At one point he was crashing with fellow group member Mic Write, and sleeping on the couch at poet extraordinaire T. Miller's crib. "I did whatever I had to do to keep going," he says. By 2012 he and his girlfriend were staying at the Untitled Bottega, an art gallery in between Midtown and New Center. "We had been evicted from our apartment. A dude we knew living at the Bottega helped us out. It was a little living space: a futon, and all we had was our clothes and our cat," he says. Phelps hustled his CDs to make sure they ate every night while his girlfriend would sell hemp brownies and pancakes at his shows. Once he became a father, the couple moved into a home in Hamtramck. "She's been a help and she's always supported me," he says through a smile. "At one point she was my manager."

2012 provided Phelps with a potentially big break. He applied online to audition for Simon Cowell's show The X-Factor. "I knew those shows featured mostly singers, but I figured I didn't have nothing to lose," he says. His application was accepted, and he killed his audition. But after reviewing the contract the show's producers placed in front of him, he decided to pass on being featured on the show. "They basically own you for two and a half years. I wouldn't have been able to perform at any open mics or release any music for that time period. The only thing I would have been allowed to do is perform on The X-Factor," he says. The decision not to sign tugged at his heart. If he would have penned his name to that contract, Cold Men Young would have had to pull all of his lyrical contributions from their second album, You Should Be a Fan, which they had just completed. Also, if he would have gotten knocked out in the early rounds of the show, he still would have been under the two-and-a-half year contract. "After it was over, I thought about my decision a lot. I still think I made the best move," he says.

On August 15, Phelps released his newest EP, The Attic. His spitfire flow and clever wordplay are still intact, but as Phelps has developed as a man, so have his lyrics. He no longer strictly raps about blunts or murdering beats. He now mixes in rhymes about fatherhood and struggling to make his mark on the world of hip-hop. "Lyrically, I've grown leaps and bounds; I started when I was 18 and people told me I was good, so it took me longer to grow because I thought I was already good," he says. Phelps talks about the future, his new baby on the way, a new Cold Men Young album, how he's back to writing poems, about eventually going to Europe, his love for Detroit hip-hop, and his desire to expand his client base. "I gotta find those fans out there in the world that would like my stuff," he says. "At first I just wanted people to realize I was a god rapper; now I want people to know I'm a good artist overall." - Detroit Metro Times


"Mic Phelps Waterfall Video Premiere"

A fixture of the Detroit hip hop scene for years as both a solo artist and as one-fourth of Cold Men Young, Mic Phelps wrapped 2014 with the release of his full-length debut, a collaboration with producer djkage, The Grand Design. Keeping that momentum going, Phelps (real name Miles Stewart) is kicking off 2015 with the first video from the record, for the song “Waterfall”.

Serpentine, nocturnal beats merge with Phelps’ vocal delivery, moving deftly with a hypnotic cadence in the hook. In the verses, Phelps’ highly sexual lyrics flow with a fluidity, profanely poetic or poetically profane. The ambient tones are served well by their visual accompaniment — starkly beautiful images of Iceland’s mountains, glaciers, and waterways juxtaposed with shots of Paris and Leon, France.

“The inspiration behind the song was the smoothness of the beat and a little bit of herb. The lyrics were a result of hot, steamy memories of sexual encounters I’ve had over my time here on earth,” Phelps said.

The video was created and produced by Detroit-based filmmaking duo Andrew Miller and Jamin Townsley, collectively known as the Right Brothers.

“I had the pleasure of traveling out to Iceland with American Expedition Vehicles in 2012,” Miller said of the filming process. “We traveled all over eastern and northeastern Iceland for just over 10 days. It was in their summer week, which means the sun never sets so there is 22 hours of great sunlight then it dips below the horizon for an hour then comes back up. It was incredible. Even with the footage I captured, I could never do it any justice. Easily the most beautiful place I’ve ever been.”

Townsley added: “We wanted to explore a different way of portraying the topic of ‘making love’ as depicted in Miles’ song. Avoiding the standard mold of showing the idea through a generally materialistic and chauvinistic view of a man singing to a scantily clad woman at his submission, we were able to show a more cosmic perspective of gender and love by linking a sort of journey of the masculine spirit to the flowing power of the feminine Earth.”

Miller shot the France footage when he accompanied Jamaican Queens there on their spring 2014 tour.

“The scene where it follows a woman on a bike through Paris leading to the Eiffel Tower was real,” Miller said. “I met her the night before at one of Jamaican Queens’ Paris house party shows. She had traveled to Paris to meet a boy she was dating, but the day of the show he had broken up with her. She was really quiet and sad at the show and wouldn’t open up about anything so I made it my mission. She eventually warmed enough to chat a little, but said she didn’t like American guys. The after party was still going late and she needed a ride home. We had a rental car in Paris so I offered to give her a ride only if she would show me around Paris the next day which was Sunday and her last day there. She reluctantly agreed and we met in the morning and both had a really genuinely beautiful day. She took me everywhere, and at the end of the day, when she was getting on the train she thanked me for saving her weekend in Paris with a little kiss on the cheek. You just can’t make that shit up though; now I will always love that city.”

“In the scheme of the whole album, ‘Waterfall’ is an expression of gratitude for women and all that comes with being close to women,” Phelps said. - Pop Matters


"Record review: djkage's 'D-Imports Vol. 2'"

The album starts off with “Song of Victory,” which is the most well composed track on the album. The song has an ill trumpet loop as Valid’s opening verse is a banger. Ron D and Negus Arubis hold down the middle and Mic Phelps finishes it off with a high speed flow reminiscent of Jay-Z before he got a record deal. - Detroit Metro Times


"Society Confidential"

Some of the biggest names in Detroit hip-hop have been invited to 1701 Cigar Bar in Cadillac Square on Nov. 16 for a private listening party featuring rapper Mic Phelps of the Detroit hip-hop collective Cold Men Young (yes, as in the former mayor). The event will debut Phelps’ latest collaboration, “Grand De$ign,” produced by djkage. “We’re very excited about this project because Mic Phelps is one of the coldest rappers in Detroit, and the way we teamed him with some of the best artists around on this CD — he’s unstoppable,” said djkage. The guest list includes Passalacqua, JP from the HP and Lokye, who are featured on the album. “Grand De$ign Detroit” will be available Dec. 30 at granddesigndetroit.bandcamp.com. A public record release party will be held at Tangent Art Gallery the same day. - The Detroit News


"Detroit hip hop artist Microphone Phelps drops first official album today"

Tuesday, December 30, marks a day long awaited for many Detroit hip hop fans, especially so for the one man who is at the center of it all causing all of the stir: Microphone Phelps.

The Motown native has been making music and collaborating with other artists across the city for some time now, and today, Microphone Phelps gets a chance to release his first-ever official debut album, featuring all original production from fellow Detroit hip hop producer, djkage.

Mic Phelps, as he is known, got his start in the underground rap battle scene of inner-city Detroit, much like the one of the world portrayed in Eminem's film debut, 8 Mile. For the past few years, Mic Phelps has been biding his time and learning the ropes of the Motor City's intricate hip hop world that has a pulse all of its own. In addition to performing solo, the rising star has also been seen on stage slinging rhymes as one-fourth of the hip hop collective group, Cold Men Young (a play on the name of former Detroit Mayor, Coleman Young).

Microphone Phelps' first record release is titled Grand Design, and isn't quite your average debut hip hop release. Instead, Phelps wanted to give the album a concept that would help it to stand out among the many other young artists within the city's booming rap scene. To achieve this, Mic Phelps created Grand Design, at 19 tracks in length, as a part intellectual fantasy/part story told in segments, with “fireside lectures of a radical political theorist from U of M in the 1970s” at the center of the album.

Music moguls and influential figures around the city have been hotly-anticipating the new album from Phelps, and in a show of support to celebrate the release, many businesses and groups around Detroit are organizing release parties. One of those events will be a release party thrown by Detroit community group, ASSEMBLE, which will hold a massive shindig to mark the effort that will be hosted by WDET’s Travis Wright (Culture City), alongside rapper CrackKillz DaGod at the Tangent Gallery in Detroit. The party will feature a show from Stones Throw Records icon Guilty Simpson and also appearances from Erno The Inferno presents Lisa Stocking, rapper Passalacqua, hip hop star Lokye, and many other Motor City personalities and music stars.

A promo video has been put together by event organizers and record officials, which can be seen alongside this article. Grand Design is available today from a number of retailers throughout Detroit, as well as online.

For more information on Microphone Phelps, check out the artist's profile page here. - axs


"MIC PHELPS RELEASES EP “ATTIC” PROD. BY KRVSPY"

Detroit rapper Mic Phelps has stayed busy since starting 2015 with the release of his full-length project Grand Design. He’s constantly on bills around the city and elsewhere, including an appearance in Austin at SXSW, and the prolific writer released two tapes The Wave 2 and The Wave 2.5 earlier this summer. While they stand alone as impressive projects, it appears Phelp’s Waves projects were largely meant to hold us over while he finished up a new EP, an album written and recorded entirely in an Attic in Hamtramck this winter and spring.

Today Mic Phelp’s releases Attic, his second project with original production, which comes courtesy of the young producer Krvspy. It’s Krvspy’s (impressive) debut project, and his eery, spaced-out beatmaking turns this into Phelp’s darkest project yet. It’s almost a perfect marriage in that Krvspy’s sinister sounds are airy enough that Phelps has room to display the verbal assault we expect from him, but they are unpredictable enough to force Phelps into various flows and cadences. Per usual, Phelps delivers both thoughtfully and relentlessly across a range of topics: drugs, alcohol, police violence and structural racism, family, sex, etc. He gets minimal but notable support on this album, with features from Detroit rappers Lokye and Ka$hTheKu$hman on the aptly titled track “Low Key Ka$h”, and a co-write and vocals from Cedrick Owens on “Speak My Mind”.

Artwork comes courtesy of J. Hendricks, and Phelps has already delivered a preview visual from the project which you can peep below. Visuals for the rest of the project are forthcoming.

Our favorite tracks: Flex, 3:13, Low Key Ka$h, Da Roof.

Of course, all praises #du to Tracy Mcgrady.

#du - Assemble Sound


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Mic Phelps is a musical ambassador for today’s Detroit. He is motivated by an understanding that the arts bring out the best in all of us, and that his art, an exercise in thoughtful lyrics with skilled wordplay, contributes to the realization of a better Detroit, and through that ...  a better world.