Melodies with KB Mike
When you think of Hip Hop or Rap in the Chicago area, storytelling drill rap like G Herbo, Lil Durk, and Polo G may come to mind, or conscious music like Kanye West, Common, Lupe Fiasco, and Chance the Rapper, may also come to mind. Nonetheless, with the city being filled with enormous amounts of talented musicians, the melodic artist KB Mike has created a lane for himself with his unique sound and is thriving in it. Growing up near the Marquette Park section in the Southside of Chicago, lots of times, Damichael D. Tate, better known as KB Mike or Klanboy Mike, found himself surrounded by violence and intense poverty. The 21-year-old admitted that “Music is what kept me focused and out of harm’s way. That’s how I navigated through all the stuff going on in Chicago”.
In 2020 he released the tracks Distant, Addicted, and Deep In Love which grabbed social media attention and instantly made him an artist to keep an eye on. A year later, he released his debut mixtape, Nothing Last Forever; the 15 track project had zero features letting Mike showcase his songwriting and his vocals to his audience. The project had standout songs like Have U Ever, Memories, and Change For Me, which went on to help him earn a record deal with the long-standing record label Republic Records. Since signing his deal, KB Mike has released 14 singles, with three of the songs gaining over a million + views on YouTube. Over the years, Mike has landed a few features that have played a vital part in his career from his peers, such as Yungeen Ace, Luh Kel, and more.
Just a few months ago, KB Mike announced that he would be releasing a new EP on June 17th, which is going to be his Republic Records label project debut. We got a chance to sit down with the man himself and ask him a few questions about his musical background, who he looks up to musically, and who he considers the best writers in the music game. Check out some of the things discussed below!
Omar Mitchell: Obviously, you have a substantial musical background. What did you grow up listening to, and what are you listening to now?
KB Mike: “I’m going to be completely honest. I didn’t grow up listening to a lot of music, surprisingly. I used to listen to whatever was played around me, and I never really liked anything in particular. It wasn’t until I was older that I started to form my own interest in music. When I started listening for myself, I would listen to what was popular at the time. But if I had to pick two songs I grew up listening to, I would say Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me” or Lil Wayne’s song Mirror featuring Bruno Mars. As far as right now, besides myself, I’ve been listening to a lot of Polo G and Lil Durk.”
Omar Mitchell: Besides yourself, who would you say Is the best songwriter in music right now?
KB Mike: “I’ve never been the type of person to say someone is the best, or someone is better than someone. We all are working on getting to a certain level, so I have never been the type to put someone over someone. If I had to pick someone whose songwriting I appreciate, I would say Polo G. I chose him because he has the type of bars where you have to really listen to what he’s saying. We’ve been compared to each other for so long, especially since we’re both from Chicago. I think his songwriting ability is dope. Artists like Lil Baby and Durk have a great pen as well.”
Omar Mitchell: First of all, I appreciate you and your time, and thank you so much for having us here. I have one last question for you. If you could have a feature with any artist, dead or alive, who would it be?
KB Mike: “Nah, man, thank you! I appreciate you all for being here today. It genuinely means a lot. Keep doing your thing, bro. It’s going to pay off one day. And If I had to do a feature with anybody dead or alive, it would be Polo G. I know I keep saying him, but like I said before, he and I have a lot of similarities in our music and our style, so its only right to get that feature in. That would be huge for the city, especially since we are from Chicago. I feel like we would be doing something good for Chicago.”
Make sure you stay tuned for his project, which is set to drop on the 17th of this month. Below will be a Spotify playlist of KB Mikes top tracks. Stay up everybody!