Mike Dreams, a Twin Cities rapper, headlines Elysium II’s Cellar stage on January 12. His precise lyrical acrobatics mingle substance with complicated cadences and crisp production. We caught up with the hyper-focused rapper for a brief interview.
What do you know about Elysium?
I don’t know a whole bunch about it. I’m interested in vibing with it because it reminded me of some of the events I went to back in LA and stuff like that.
What do you think the benefit of partying with purposeful music in the background is?
I think it’s super important. On this album I got to move into a little bit of that more than my previous works and that’s what I’ve always believed in. Having stuff that people really vibe to and rock to on a surface level, but then always having that underlying meaning. That’s the kind of music I gravitate to. People party to Kid Cudi music, or music that has an underlying message, and things that are deeper, which I think makes it dope. [It connects] with the people who want to dance, but it’s also meaningful to people who really listen to music deeper and want to catch those messages. Maybe they listen to the same song, maybe they turned up to it the day before, the next day, they’re sitting and thinking, they didn’t catch those references. That gives it multiple levels.
What’s your writing process like? Your wordplay sounds precise, it sounds like something that you’ve been over a million times – is that the right impression?
That is the right impression. I’m very meticulous in my writing process, just because I’m trying to balance out saying something that’s profound enough to make sense but also make a good song. A lot of the newer stuff that’s out is just as much about the melody and the way it makes you feel as much as it is about the lyrics. I think on both sides, people sacrifice one or the other in creating, so I’m really meticulous on trying to make that balance. Make a really good sounding song that somebody who doesn’t even care about what’s being said will rock with it, but also make sure that [it works] for those who do care about what’s being said.
What are five songs of yours people should know?
Take Me Higher (ft. Ashley DuBose)
If Only U Knew
The Lights, The Life (EDM Mix)
Born In 1988
What are some songs you’d recommend for pre-gaming to your set?
Kirko Bangz – “Drank In My Cup”
Kanye West – “Flashing Lights”
Drake – “Shot For Me”
Mary J. Blige – “Family Affair”
JAY Z – Change Clothes (ft. Pharrell)