Hip-hop gets me excited because it guarantees a rabbit hole where I find new talent. The genre always cross-promotes producers Mic Nickels makes no exception. He's brought the hip-hop fam with him. Of the many singles from Method Man, 2023 is the year we finally hear a track years in the making since the pandemic. Also, just to be clear, the Wu-Tang Clan member is not in this interview but Mic Nickels is.
"El Matador" is the last of four singles off of Bars For Days and the biggest one because it features Wu-Tang Clan legend, Method Man. Some readers won't know that the great MF Doom had already agreed to do this track before he died. Then Method Man agreed to do it too, and so it can't be ignored that a second chance to collab with the O.Gs of hip hop rarely comes around. I think that says a lot about the quality of the track and what Nickels has to offer. Nickels has referred to the "El Matador" title as similar to what a rap battle is like. To listen to Method and Nickels throw bars, it sounds like there's gonna be a shootout at high noon.
"At first there was two, now there's one."
It's cool enough that the original single has a spaghetti Western theme to it and double the cool because it's illustrated by Charles "Ooge" Ugas, who's got connections to yet, another legend, Ralph Bakshi! Also, notice the tribute to MF Doom at the end of the music video.
I've added the lyrics in the description for this video here.
Method Man 2023 "El Matador" and The Remixes
The original track is Mr. Cord (New York) as you'll hear the hip hop organization MHB (money-hungry bastards aka most high beings) that he's part of on the intro. The other remixes cover span a variety of some of my favorite music styles. For instance, when Bizzythowed (Los Angeles) gets his hands on the track, he rocks it. I love the way they extend this mix, spacing out the lyrics for more impact and then Keef Wookie (Swansea, Wales) comes in with the mad scrub! Then we land on one of my favorites, O.P. Supa's remix, which brings us back to that cinematic style, this time Italian horror movie scores styles from the 60s and 70s. Finally, we land on Sponatola's loungy, easy-listening rendition. Sponatola and O.P. are both from Tampa and have collaborated on the brand-spanking new Drum Cinema Vol. 1.
Download this release here.
Bars For Days Album
The mix of talent on this album is mind-blowing. For that reason, I'm going to cover all of the tracks with collaborators before Mic's own. We start with "Mission Statement" featuring scratch DJ Keef Wookie, who later on in the album returns to scratch on "Mr. Sleep". I pick up on some Luke Vibert or Dan The Automator Nakamura feels in a lot of these tracks and if you know their work, then you know the great world of influential hip hop I'm swinging the doors wide open to.
"Sky City" is one of the tracks that stands out because of Teen AF's vocals. The message is often one I relate to when I look back at some of the stuff I've done to get here and wonder how the fuck it happened! Also, Mic talks a little bit about the sky diving experience in the interview at the end of this article.
Whichcraft (Brooklyn, New York) comes in on "Mr. Sleep" who has collaborated with Wookie and Nickels before on their "Flourish" single. ADUM⁷'s (Brooklyn) contribution to the track genuinely makes this collaborative effort one of the most powerful on the album. Bizzythowed is also credited as a co-writer for "You Feel Me?" "Ebb and Flow" is another one of my favorites. I know this is a standard jazz groove but just throwing what comes to mind as a first listen, it reminds me of the jazzy vibe Rage Against The Machine puts out in "Darkness". When Jeanette Berry's (Long Island) vocals come in, she really makes the track swing.
As if this album can't get any better, another hit comes flying off of this thing with "Count The Waze". The surge of energy off of this track gets me pumped! This is the track that's going to set me on my path as a DJ, just so I can spin this! I need to find out who Alejandra Sierra is! Also, if this is correct, a co-writer of this track is Dan "CHIMY" Chmielinski (NY/Chicago) who is a composer of film scores, bassist, and producer, no doubt classically trained but I'm not certain. The mystery of these people makes me love this track more. And then we get to "Things To Come" with Timbo King and Mr. Cord, going harder on the verse. In our interview that follows, I bring up another time when he and Timbo collaborated. He also brings up the sci-fi movie quotes he sampled.
The Mic Nickels Tracks
Next, come the tracks where Mic Nickels carries the album by himself. "Rappers Don't Smile", serves as one of the album's first singles and is a fun novelty track to call out a thing we notice about most rappers. It's light-hearted just like we expect Nickels to be. This one should have rappers smiling. "The Phantom" against a loop sampled from a piano is also fun as he raps about being a presence you can't get rid of. The mall soft quality of "Overcome" has a positive message about overcoming obstacles. "You Feel Me?", "Pirate Radio 2150", "Joe Perkins AKA Gritty Soul", and "A Porno For Heads" are all surprising, and this album gets better with every listen.
Download Bars For Days here or...
GET THE BOOK!
Mic Nickels has been in the game for some decades to and he has one hell of a story to tell. From his introspection during the pandemic came a retrospective in the form of a book. Some artists launch these exclusive bundles that are worth collecting and now include Mic Nickels. This is a major turning point for him at this point in his career and when you get a copy of the book, you also get a download code for the album. By getting it here, you also show your support for our service!*
*As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualified purchases.
Talking Method Man, Music and Being An Artist with Mic Nickels
BTW, this happened recently.
Haters always hate'n. In reaching out to Mic Nickels for this interview, I feel I'm one step closer to Method Man. Maybe I can finally get someone to see my script? But seriously. I had to talk to one of the veterans of hip-hop about the latest single but to also share some of our musical experiences. We also talk a bit about the creative process.