If you have been a follower of the Weekly Music Commentary for several months, you most likely know that I was born and raised on the south side of Chicago. For sure Chicago gets a great deal of negative attention because of the high murder and crime rate, but still I will forever consider it my home. I never shy away from the fact that I grew up in a poor household, that my family did not own a car until my pre-teen years. I identify with a myriad of artists whom also had similar beginnings, and not unlike myself embrace those character building humble foundations. Mikkey Halsted is relatively new on the hip hop scene but he also lays bare his Chicago roots in much of his music.
I use the word relative here because Mikkey comes through a very familiar hip hop tree in Chicago from Kanye West in the beginning to renowned Chicago producers No ID and The Legendary Traxster. In between he worked with fellow Chicago rapper Twista, and also had a stint working with Lil Wayne and Cash Money Records. Therefore, in Chicago “Money Making Mikk” as Halsted is also known, has developed a large following. However, Mikkey Halsted’s new album, Castro, is creating a major buzz and just may push this talented artist into the world hip hop scene. Even before the release many thought Castro would be exceptional because No ID and Traxster were involved in the production. Now that Castro has dropped no one is disappointed. In fact, Castro seems to be the next step in Halsted’s progression as a hip hop artist. I have been listening to Mikkey Halsted for some time and his earlier recordings caught my attention because I could identify with his theme. For certain I know quite well his geographical references to Chicago south side locations. However, I believe most people who grew up under similar circumstances will understand and appreciate what Halsted is rapping about, even though not ever living in Chicago. Mikkey Halsted is like so many of the socially conscious rappers of this generation, a group which includes Common and Lupe Fiasco. When Halsted raps it is like he is sitting down and having a conversation with you about struggles we all face in life. His crisp, very clear style of rapping has brought him this far, and should take him to the next level. Mikkey Halsted now stands ready to stand and deliver performances next to some of the top hip hop artists of today. Get ready for your shot at the big time Mikkey Halsted, you’re next!