Harlem has always been a staple in Hip-Hop and in every generation, there have been rappers from Harlem waving the New York flag. One Harlem rapper who has been making some noise and should be on your radar if he isn’t already is rapper and co-founder of the rap collective Fear The 23rd Don Mykel. The Harlem rhymer is first and foremost influenced by lyricists such as Tupac, JAY Z, Nas, and Big Pun just to name a few, but also has his finger on the pulse of the rap game. Allowing him to combine his lyrics first style with the current trends of hip-hop.
Music has always been in his blood and has been rapping since the tender age of 3.
“I didn’t have any words, I was just mumbling, like the real mumble rap. I just had mad flows.”
From that point on he began working on his craft and writing his first bars as early as 5 years old. Getting help from his Aunt’s and Uncle’s the young rapper began to formulate his own songs. Citing his family as having a big part in cultivating his style at an early age. Even though rapping was something he had been doing for years it wasn’t until he was 14 that he started taking things seriously.
“I wasn’t going to the NBA, and rap was the one thing I was always good at. That’s when I decided I’m going to take this shit serious and really start practicing my pen and go back and really researching these guys (Lil Wayne, Lupe Fiasco, Hov, Pac, Big Pun and more) and studying the craft.”
In 2015 he formally introduced himself to the world with his debut project King Mykel: The Rebirth but it wasn’t until he released his G.O.D Mykel: The Last Martyr the following year that he really started making some noise. A project that was very therapeutic for him.
“Not only was there a lot of personal stories told on that project about me, my upbringing and my family and how that all affected me but it was really just a lot of things I was learning at the time. I made that project more for myself than anything.”
After dropping his latest effort he got right to work on his follow-up project Infinite which was released early last month. The project was first created as a Side B to G.O.D Mykel bringing a more vintage hip-hop sound. Along with that, he had also been working on another project which “was just straight fun, energetic type music.” Don then took the two projects and combined them to form Infinite leaving off any unnecessary tracks cutting it down to 8 tracks in total.
“My biggest thing with it was I didn’t want any skits or any segue or anything piecing it together I wanted the music to flow together perfectly.”
With production from LevyGrey, Scott Farlee, Sm Tracks, Druracula and Rich Icyy Don Mykel created a cohesive project that gives you all sides of the rapper showing off his lyrical dexterity as well as his ability to craft bangers like “N.W.O” that are radio ready. A personal favorite track of mine and one of the standout cuts on the project is the 6-minute banger “Notorious” which finds Don Mykel spitting over three different instrumentals and is the perfect introduction.
“I knew I needed something epic that sounded like a grand introduction. It’s kind of crazy because the song kind of pieced itself together backward. The last beat he made first, then the second beat was an old instrumental that he never used, and then he made the first beat right before he left Georgia. I laid all three songs down separately and then I ended up literally piecing it together.”
With Infinite out now Don Mykel plans on dropping more new solo music as well as new music with his collective Fear The 23rd. The Harlem rapper is just getting started and when asked about what’s next this is all he had to say:
“I really want to show the gatekeepers there’s nothing that they can do to silence us, there’s nothing they can do to stop us and real music is going to live on!”
Listen to Don Mykel’s latest effort ‘Infinite’ below as well as on all streaming platforms and watch him destroy “The Five Fingers Of Death Freestyle” On Sway In The Morning.