Mickey Diamond – “Oroku Saki” review

This is the 6th EP from Detroit underground emcee Mickey Diamond. Emerging at the beginning of 2020 off the strength of his debut EP Bangkok Dangerous, the dude has since gone on to turn quite a few heads in the underground by building up the impressive discography for himself with his previous 6 albums alongside 5 EPs & & a mixtape. His last 2 outings Gucci Ghost & Gucci Ghost 2produced by Big Ghost Ltd. that dropped back to back last month have quickly become my favorite bodies of work that Diamond has put out yet so when I found out that one of my favorite graphic artists in recent memory Ral Duke would be behind the boards for Oroku Saki in it’s entirety, it was only right to give it my first review of 2023 since Gucci Ghost 2 was my last review of 2022.

After the “Can Opener” intro, the title track is a symphonic boom bap opener where Mickey talks about how he’s gonna make you learn to respect the throne whereas “Chrome Dome” works in some more strings whilst dashing some jazzy undertones to the beat as well referring to himself as the masked man. “Wow!” hooks up some kicks & snares with a piano loop talking about how those listening be knowing his style leading into “Multiverse” following the “Krangstrumental” interlude takes a more cavernous route in terms of sound echoing the iconic Tribe Called Quest joint “Can I Kick It?” painting images of the wicked mean streets. “Turtle Soup” is a killer rap rock cut talking about what he be dining on tonight & ruthlessly hijacking your whole residence while “The Foot” returns to the boom bap talking about how he could never take all of this from a rat. After the “Ooze” interlude though, Mondo Slade come into the picture for the closer “Shredder vs. Casey Jones” as he & Diamond essentially battle rap one another over an uncanny instrumental with co-production from & Swab.

It’s funny how Gucci Ghost 2 was a last minute addition to my best of 2022 list & now here is 3 weeks later kicking off the new year the exact same way: By giving us his 3rd consecutive classic. As someone who enjoyed the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series as well as the first 2 movies from the early 90’s & the ‘03 series, the concept of the EP is incredibly cohesive as Mickey ties in references into his hardcore lyrical style excellently. Now the only time I can recall hearing Ral Duke production a track was “Painkillers” off Conway the Machine’s 11th mixtape Everybody‘s F.O.O.D. 2: Eat What U Kill & that was always a highlight track for me personally, but I genuinely appreciate how much his production here has fluctuated so much in the last 4 years or so.

Score: 4.5/5

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