Known offstage as Miles Stewart, Microphone Phelps, or Mic Phelps, was born and raised in Pontiac. He started writing poetry in elementary school and diligently workshopped his freestyle raps in basements with his best friend throughout middle and high school. He started releasing his own music nine years ago, right around the time he began appearing on local stages as one-fourth of a hip-hop collective known as Cold Men Young. He’s collaborated with several other artists, including djkage, Ilajide, and more.
In mid-May, he’s releasing his latest album, The Great Adventures of Money Mic. Check out the track “Drop Top Benz” using the audio player above.
Phelps said that when he performs, he often enters a trance state, allowing him to attain a furious flow. This style was ingrained in him from the fiery trials of battle-raps from more than a decade ago. He’s mastered the craft of culling and coordinating the sea of information and ideas tiding through his head and bringing them forth into a tight cadence of words that bluntly address a number of issues he’s stewing on, which he refers to as “struggle rap”.
On The Great Adventures of Money Mic, Phelps reveals a renewed sense of self. It’s clear that he’s performing with a new perspective, one shaped both by a recent bout of depression and the realization that he finds fulfillment not only in making music, but in the value of friendship and family.
On these new raps, produced by Donnie TAUT, Phelps takes on a bit of a persona and partners that with a particularly propulsive vocal delivery. This pairing is exemplified on “Drop Top,” a track that critiques artists, celebrities, or anyone too preoccupied with extravagant lifestyles, who misperceives what defines “success.” The music itself features a darkly atmospheric aesthetic, augmenting the immersive quality of Phelps’ transforming into “Money Mic.”
If you follow Mic Phelps on social media, you’re likely to encounter a recurring hashtag sign-off: #du. This comes from a catchphrase traded amidst his friends from school, which he adapted into meaning, essentially “do something,” or “always be doing something…” It’s an affirmation he’s been living by these last 10 years.
True to #du, Phelps will be featured on a new collaborative album with Ilajide of Clear Soul Forces later this summer. He’s also going to be back in action with his band, The Plug, which blends hip-hop into soul and jazz, and features some of his longtime friends (and talented instrumentalists) on guitar, bass and drums, with Phelps at the keys and doing vocals. Beyond all the new music he’s completed, he’s also continuing his work with the Motown Mic Spoken Word series at the Motown Museum.
The Great Adventures of Money Mic will be available May 14.