ALLHIPHOP PRESENTS "10 Steps to NOME X" featuring Mike P
Kershaw St. Jawnson
He clearly remembers the day that changed his life. ‘
He received a call one day and it was P from URL, inviting to do a Proving Grounds 3-rounder after his 10th battle on Trap House. It seems that making the switch from recording music to battling was a paying off.
P remembers how Mike P got on his radar.
“Terra (URL affiliate) told me about Mike P.” P reflects, “He told me to watch a battle that Mike had versus another emcee named Aura.” This was the battle that Mike remembers as his breakout battle.
“I then watched another battle he had versus another emcee named TapeDeck. After watching the battle I got his number from Terra and contacted him to offer him a PG against Haixian.”
However, Mike P was in high demand. Other leagues were looking at him … in fact, King of The Dot out of Canada was tapping his shoulder. The Long Island native had options, but none of them could compete with the league that was born out of the DVDs that the little kid in him used to watch on repeat.
P shared, “He told me that he was in talks for a KOTD Ground Zero battle. He asked if he could call me back because he needed to talk to them. He wanted to inform them that he was gonna take the PG with us.”
Of course, he was going to shut the KOTD offer down. What battle rapper wouldn’t want to get a call from someone from the inner-circle over at Smack White’s league? Who wouldn’t believe that this was the chance of a lifetime?
Michael Pulice’s friends.
People in his crew told him that the Ultimate Rap League didn’t have white boys on their stage — and since he didn’t have a gimmick or a crazy backstory— he might not fit in. It is a great thing that he didn’t listen to them. First, because the URL has had mad white boys touch in their battles. One of the architects of the culture is Iron Solomon, who made his debut when he battled Math Hoffa in 2010 in a record store, and he is white. Secondly, had he ignored the message from P, he would never have been ready for this moment right now. A moment that should feel even more intimidating than getting that call. The moment where he will go up against Th3 Saga on the biggest stage of his life, NOME X.
If you ask Mike P, this is long overdue. He been ready. He been dope. The thought is not new and it is one that he was not alone vocalizing.
C3, a powerhouse emcee from Queen of the Ring, said, “Mike P is one of those battle rappers you can tell is passionate about his work. You're gonna feel his energy anytime you watch him, whether it’s live or on camera.” The passion comes out in his lyrics, as the emcee is notoriously vulnerable on the mic. He even says that people get what they get because he wears his heart on his sleeves.
“He gives the culture big moments.” Reda from *Champion *offers, “He made it this far through dedication, quotable bars and making his presence known. Mike P deserves every plate he gets.”
He has had some big plates over the years.
Selective in how he curates his competitions, he has faced some formidable opponents. He stood in front of a young Ave, Tink Da Demon, Young Kannon, and Dre Deniss. He has had some vets that he grew up watching: Shotgun Suge, Daylyt, Big T, and Serius Jones. He rocked with the lyrical B-Dot, energy-absorbing Nu Jerzey Twork, and the quick-thinking & freestyle savant Chef Trez. You can’t sneeze at his resume but the question keeps coming back to why someone so dope has not popped. People seem to love him, but the rise that got the league to take notice seems to have been stunted. P points to his performances to find that answer.
“He accepted the battle with Haixian and did well. But URL wasn’t the walk in the park-like those other leagues he was used to. His next battle was with Ave and he lost. Sure, he had a very impactful and memorable third round, but he lost.”
“To his credit, his next battle he bounced back and it was his breakout battle with Tink Da Demon, where he had his viral street fighter moment that was just fire.”
It is that passion that got him invited back.
Perhaps that is why he is as passionate as C3 says. He knows that he is special and will not stop pushing until the world sees it. Mike P says in his own words how this passion and vulnerability manifests, where it comes from and how it fuels him.
“It takes a lot to get me to write. There is a deep mode that I need to hit to get there. I wear my heart on my sleeve. How I look is probably how I feel and I never had a problem expressing myself. My vulnerability I look at as an advantage. You have to show yourself first and speak on things that are dirt or you might not want to be exposed. You can’t be like you don’t want people to know about who you are. I think that is ridiculous. I think the one thing I want you to know, or at least have the best idea of, is who I am. What I am made of. What I have been through. And how much I care about what I am doing. I think that emotion and passion is always going to come out in every single performance. Even if I didn’t want it to, it is just something that happens. It is a thing in the subconscious. The switch gets switched and I am really blacked-out on that stage.”
According to Mike, the feeling of performing is so possessive and overwhelming that it even stays with him when he comes off the stage. He is open to the crowd and the energy that is crackling in the air.
In many ways, he is like the Kid Cudi of battle rap. A grand statement, but it's true. Both artists are uber emotional, sometimes sharing more than they have to and also under-rated.
Another artist that people say is under-rated is Th3 Saga.
Mike confesses that it actually bothered him to be compared to The Sensei, but one must wonder “why?”
“I tried to deny that we were very much the same because that’s the conversation that has always been around us. It has always been Mike P and Saga; they work so hard but they don’t get what they deserve. They don’t get their shot. I’ve always been like ‘I’m not Saga. I am better than Saga. I have done more than Saga. I don’t deserve this shot; this is a late fee. Smack and URL, they owe me this. Saga had to work for this. I should have gotten this a long time ago.’ But the more we get down to NOME … the closer we get … I realize we are very much the same.”
“But this is bigger than him as far as my mission and what I am here for. Although I know we will be the best battle. There will not be a better performance, I can almost guarantee this. Because we are so similar in our position. I just need to do what I need to do.”
That is tough talk, particularly considering all of the top tier talents that will be sharing the stage with him. Tsu Surf will be going up against Loaded Lux, Tay Roc and Daylyt will go at it. Geechi Gotti is battling Aye Verb and John John Da Don will be matched up against Ill Will. NOME X is going to be an experience. A confident Mike P is adamant about what he and Saga, who happens to be his friend in real life, will bring to the event.
“I think this will be the biggest card in the history of battle rap. You have every single era on this card. From the people that first came to the second and third wave. The first and second wave of proving ground battlers, you have every era. This is the most anticipated card. There is going to be the most eyes on it. This is history and it will live up to the hype.”