2022 All Stars: 5 song Guide to Mike Shabb

by Dan-O

2022 was a year absolutely jam packed with interesting things ambushing us. The biggest names in hip hop loaded up and fired their best shots at us. The debates were intense. Through the fog of that I want to make sure you don’t get blindsided in a year or two by a new name you don’t know who sounds so good…you can’t believe you don’t. On the song Nickelodeon off Bokleen World Montreal’s Mike Shabb said “Trying to get to the top like black Nova Scotians.” His production flow and vibrance are absolutely the future of this space I cover. Below you will find 5 songs from Mike Shabb’s 2022 that will guide you through his strengths.

The Rain off Sewaside 2 

A great song to get to know how talented Shabb is. This beat is minimal on drums but not led by a big vocal sample. It’s a tone that allows Shabb to flow sing swing and oscillate. As a producer and a rapper Shabb follows what feels right which is why everything is always switching. It’s why gunshot vocal doubles fire in out of nowhere and our narrator goes from laughing and investing in stocks to stabbing you in your bullet holes. It’s a race to get to the most natural space you can find.

What’s The 514 from Bokleen World 

Chung and Shabb fit like a ball in Steph Curry’s hands. Chung’s flow is so confident and hushed, a beautiful antithesis to the three round boisterous bursts of Shabb. The knock of the beat sounds like “What’s The 411” era Mary, the bar for bar trade off between the two recalls that period specifically. It’s so darn Shabb to do something completely new while showing us a crystal clear view of the past. I love this song so much.

Petaswel from Bokleen World 

This is my favorite beat on Bokleen World. Wonderful sample that gets its own space to breath as the song starts. On this track his voice is loud, vicious. He says “Like they say you play stupid games you win stupid prizes!” As much as Mike loves 90’s rap he loves the rap inflections the trap era has given us, the immediacy of steamrolling, the delight of vocal doubled ad libs. This has to be fun!

Buckshot Flow 93′ from Bokleen World 

This beat is gorgeous, the piano that leads into the tightly looped audio sample. I could have done two more minutes of this song. Proof that Shabb can fit his flow into whatever container it needs to exist in. His flow on this song is totally different from every other song on Bokleen World and if you know Shabb’s work that’s not unusual. Mike tends to stretch out as far as he can go.

I Ain’t Even in My Prime from Sewaside 2 

Another great Shabb beat, tight chopped loop to keep the song bouncing. Shabb says insane things. “I read between lines like a crossword.” “N’s still eating McDonalds for Monopoly.” As great as Shabb is at clearing space on the song for an earwig hook and singing it like it matters, do not get it twisted; Shabb bars out and loves it. That mix of old school mentality (the hunt to be the best) and new school durability is why you NEED to pay attention. This is a young artist that is taking from all the timelines to build a legacy and skill set. I can’t wait to see it take place.


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