Mike P And The Road To A Leap Of Faith

Artwork By Battle Rap Bum

Mike P is On The Trenches

This Saturday at The Trenches’ Nastyalgia card, Mike P vs Rosenberg Raw is happening. And let’s be honest, it’s the main event of the card. Even if it’s not getting the top billing, it’s the battle with the most likely chance to be the battle of the night and it’s the one with the most stakes, specifically in regard to Mike P. 

Going against Froze, who has been great for the last 3 years and is one of the faces of RBE presents a difficult challenge, but also a unique opportunity. There’s absolutely a world where Froze takes control of this battle and puts a halt to Mike’s post-URL run before it even starts. But if Mike grabs this battle by the horns and can get a win over one of the defining guys of RBE, there’s a lot of upward momentum and possibility for him. In a summer where there are grudges and mega-matches everywhere, huge events happening left and right and a lot of guys being set up in put-up or shut-up situations, don’t sleep on Mike P vs. Rosenberg and the ramifications this battle could have.

One of the brightest stars to come out of battle rap in the last 8 years is Mike P. A rhyme pattern mastermind, a creative brain that takes risks most wouldn’t take in their material, and a walking nuke with his ability to build to a haymaker that can swing the tide of a battle. A powerful delivery, comedic timing, and maybe to his detriment, a battler who isn’t afraid to battle in any setting. Mike’s interesting URL journey started in 2015 with his PGs vs. Haixtian and Ave. A clear win in the Haixtian battle that showed Mike as levels above nearly all of his PG class peers…and Ave…fucked him up.

2016 to 2018

No but in all seriousness, Ave has a consensus clear win but it’s a great battle and slyly one of the better PG battles of all time. Mike was a name on the rise, with fans clamoring to see what was next for him. Before long, we would be introduced to Ryu in 2016 when Mike had his planting the flag moment vs. Tink the Demon with the infamous Street Fighter scheme at Born Legacy 2. I can’t say this was the best battle of the night, as this battle was on the same card as the legendary Rum Nitty vs. Ave encounter. But it’s not a wild statement to say Mike left with the moment of the card, even against bars like Rum’s “MOP your ante up” and Ave’s “improper fraction”. Mike’s star burned even brighter and seeing what they had on hand with him, the URL booked Mike in what still might be his hardest battle to date, versus the enigma known as Daylyt, in Daylyt’s official URL debut. And it was a bonafide classic. A Daylyt in a rare form, reaching the levels we’ve always wanted from him. So it’s easy to overlook Mike P across with him, poised and looking like the pressure of that moment didn’t get to him at all. Mike didn’t just fight back, he left that night being able to say he has a debatable with battle rap’s alien and on a card with memorable battles like Th3 Saga vs. Chess and Rum Nitty vs. Ill Will, being able to argue Mike vs. Daylyt was the best battle of the night 


The ascension continued for Mike P after that in 2017. Another battle of the night with a fellow rising star Chef Trez, Mike’s Night of Main Events debut vs. Nu Jersey Twork, getting himself a clear win and one of the better performances of the night on the card with legends. A win in what some might call an underwhelming battle vs. Big T on Born Legacy Supreme, but I would say Mike’s rounds age very well and is some of his most overlooked work. The first speed bump of Mike P’s career was on the horizon however, when he faced veteran Shotgun Suge, at the inaugural Volume event. At the moment, the general thought was Mike clearly lost to Suge. You could point to plenty of reasons for that, not the least of which is a post-battle interview from Mike where it could be looked at as him conceding defeat. The battle dropped on YouTube and immediately the narrative started to shift surrounding it. It didn’t become a clear win for Mike P, but it was a great battle where you could make a case for either guy. This battle and the reaction to it felt like the beginning of the rose falling off the bloom for Mike. 


It’s the type of growing pains most battlers go through coming out of the PGs, especially in the ages of Facebook and Twitter. But something about the change of opinion on Mike came across a little differently. Mike’s 3rd round vs Suge references his bouts with drug addiction and suicidal thoughts. A round that I thought was constructed beautifully as a counter to Suge’s signature “What’s your life like?” and also refreshing to hear a battler open up about his mental health in that way. There were people on the 2017 Champion of the Year panel dismissing it as a “white boy’s” flip on it and there are plenty of comments on the battle saying the same thing. I always found that odd, to dismiss anyone’s mental health that way, and found it even stranger when you make the connection that content like that is what drove Ooops’ career.


But nonetheless, we move on to 2018. In the midst of his rise, Mike had another battler on his heels, a veteran by the name of Young Kannon. Now, setting the stage here is important. Young Kannon is an extremely respected name in battle rap. At this time he was regarded as one of the most feared and ducked battlers in the game. Not too long before this, YK halted Jakkboy Maine’s momentum. But he was not someone who was getting major URL looks consistently at that stage. He’s the definition of high risk, low reward. YK baited Mike into taking a battle he really didn’t have to at the time. I’ve run down his resume so far, but there are battles that were on the table for Mike at points that never came to fruition. He was originally offered the Summer Madness 6 spot vs. Cortez, but turned it down after being told a Tay Roc battle in Maryland was the alternative. There was even an Aye Verb battle that according to Mike was considered.


Long story short, none of these battles ever happened, but it at least gives additional context to how Mike was viewed within the URL at the time. To put it bluntly, Mike lowered his own stock to take this battle. They went back and forth on Twitter until it was finally booked, the stage was Volume 2. It’s a very good battle and some of my favorite rounds of Mike’s. The general thought is that this is a debatable battle, the YouTube comments say about as much, but ultimately the battle didn’t do much for Mike’s stock in either direction.



The next stop is Los Angeles, to battle B Dot on Initiation. Before his COTY level run in 2020, B Dot was still trying to find his footing in URL. Mike was his 2nd battle in the league, and on top of that, it’s in LA? If you’re paying attention, you might be noticing the pattern of Mike being too fearless for his own good. That being said, it’s a great battle. It’s bogged down by the fact it was 200 degrees in the building, but they both brought A1 material. And let’s be real, a white dude not dying in front of B Dot is a win within itself. For me, the most interesting thing to come from Initiation was a video posted by Hiphopisreal after the face-offs for the event, in which Emerson Kennedy and B Dot said that if Mike P wasn’t white, people would be calling him the next Hollow Da Don. It’s only at a little over 5,000 views, so a lot of people haven’t seen it, but it’s one of the most poignant observations of Mike I’ve ever heard and it’s coming from his black peers. Mike hears their praise and instead of agreeing about the fact people may hold being white against him, he takes it in stride and says he knew what he was signing up for by deciding to be on URL. And keeps this glass-half-full optimism that one day people will realize how good he’s always been. I hear this clip and it’s in stark contrast to the privileged complainer that Mike’s most vocal detractors paint him out to be.


We have to talk about the Brizz Rawsteen fiasco. This is yet another instance where the fan reaction here was notable in my opinion. A long-awaited grudge match between Brizz and Mike was supposed to go down on two different cards, The Strike and Summer Madness 8. From bad communication from the URL staff to some legal troubles Brizz had at the time, it was a snakebitten battle that Mike gave up on and was no longer interested in by the time Brizz was all sorted, and the battle would have taken place on Volume 3. Mike declined and the narrative that gets put out there for the reason why is Mike P “ducked” Brizz. I don’t know how you could hear both of their versions of events and come away with any conclusion other than “URL handled it poorly”. The guy that lowered his own stock to battle YK, battled B Dot in LA, and was willing to battle Tay Roc in Maryland, was labeled as “ducking”. Is it because of Mike’s whiteness or whatever other reasons people had to dislike him in the last year, Was Brizz just more popular and well-liked so he was able to control the story, or was it a combination of all those things? I’ll leave that to y’all to decide. 

2019 - Rebuilding

Mike returns in the first quarter of 2019 to battle crowd favorite JC, a battle where Mike was a heavy underdog going in. A very good battle and a loss that Mike P himself owns up to. The Banned concept did a lot for quite a few names, but someone left out of that conversation is Mike P. His Banned performances vs. Drugz and Serius Jones filled that void of clear wins that people started to use as a nitpick against Mike. The Serius Jones battle in particular is a landmark for Mike that I think gets downplayed. Serius since his return to battle rap at Summer Madness 2 has a legitimate case of not losing any battles clearly. With opponents ranging from Charlie Clips, DNA, Dizaster, Ill Will, Pat Stay, Charron, Rum Nitty, and others, you could argue Serius doesn’t have any clear losses in the modern battle rap format…other than Mike P. And with updates pouring in from the weekend, Mike was one of the shining stars from Banned Legacy 3 for that performance. Then this weird pushback happens where some people argue that Mike P was “gassed” at Banned. Mike for a long time was in a group called YTG, and a lot of YTG battlers weren’t battling on URL or going to the events with Mike. So regularly, Mike was at battles with relatively no entourage. So this idea that a guy who wasn’t in any of the big groups in battle rap at that time like the Goonies, NWX, or Cave Gang and by no means is some gigantic crowd favorite was being “gassed” felt like the point where no matter what Mike P accomplished, there was going to be a “but” attached to it. 


Mainstage Mike went on the campaign trail afterward, making his case for spots on cards like NOME and Summer Madness, even calling out the then 1x COTY Geechi Gotti. Nothing comes to fruition for his mainstage aspirations that year, but he closes 2019 with another grudge match, this time versus Snake Eyez in URL’s The Update card. It was an intense battle, with what felt like genuine animosity in the air and Snake did well but the consensus was another clear win for Mike P, making it 3 in a row.

2020 - The Turning point

That brings us to January 2020, with everything on the line for Mike P, being booked vs. the bar god, Danny Myers. Another person trying to break through that middle tier in URL and be booked for bigger names and stages, but Danny’s fanbase is much more rabid than Mike’s has ever been. Coming off of battles with Hollow da Don, Big T, Chess, and some setbacks with Stuey Newton and Pass, Danny is another name that’s one battle away from possibly getting a spot on the next major card. It’s all on the line here, there are only so many seats at the table, and in the 2nd round, Mike made sure he was the one to get a spot. This battle was the first time we heard Mike express any frustration about his placement on the URL roster, he opened a round addressing Smack directly saying “Put me on the main stage or I’m outta here.” 

It came off as humorous but there’s always a level of truth to satire. In the actual battle, he proved why he was worthy of more when he rapped what is genuinely one of the best rounds ever written in battle rap. It’s perfectly constructed, and no word is wasted. It’s the type of round that would be YouTube compilations for years to come at a different time. It was a special moment and Mike could no longer be denied. He followed that with getting a NOME appearance against another talent having a career run, Th3 Saga. It was unfortunate that Saga crumbled under the weight of the moment, but Mike P seized every second of it and left NOME with an argument for being the 3rd best guy on the card that night behind Tay Roc and Daylyt.

Mike P was set to do Ultimate Madness 2 following his NOME success and while there is a level of respect to be had for him going into a tournament after working his way back onto one of the biggest cards of the year, hindsight begs the question on if Mike should have turned the tournament down. Turning down a chance at 25k in a field where you were viewed as a favorite is hard to pass up on, but seeing as to how this moment is what plagued Mike and was used to attack him for years, it’s a fair thing to wonder. What if Mike doesn’t do the tournament, do the fans turn on him as quickly? What could Mike’s next big battle have been?


The response to the Ryda battle and the infamous angle is a fascinating battle rap comprehension case study to me. The justification of “well Mike disrespected Danny’s wife so you can’t call foul” from people never made sense and made me question if they even actually listened to Mike’s 2nd for Danny. If what someone gathered from Mike’s round was disrespectful intent, they completely miss the context of Mike empathizing with her addiction because of his prior drug abuse and directing his ire towards Danny not being around for her more. It’s an argument that holds no weight, but nonetheless, after that battle and the judged verdict having Mike winning (in what some people tried to call a “robbery”), there was a hard hole to try to find a way out of an overnight, Mike was back on the outs with the fans. And it would only get worse the following round against Bill Collector. The general consensus is that Mike died horribly in this battle, and Bill absolutely did win this battle clearly, but Mike’s first two rounds are both great. The deflating end to this battle with Mike choking in his 3rd and looking dejected, followed by another powerful Bill round made for a lasting image that was hard to shake.


On a human level, that is a hard thing to go through and to witness happen to someone. To see a person work their way to a goal and to achieve it, but then have it go down the drain in the blink of an eye. These battle rappers are people too and some might call this next part dramatic, but I think it’s true and I don’t give a fuck: this period of time really showed the lack of humanity and compassion we had as consumers. These people we watch in all forms of entertainment, yeah it’s not our job to care about their personal lives. We’re mostly here to be entertained and enjoy a product, but with something as niche as battle rap, we have more access to the human side of these entertainers than most mediums and I think in the jokes and the hot takes, we lose sight of there being another human on the end of these things. It especially takes on a life of its own when it evolves from the battlers making bars about it to the fans making comments to Mike about it. That’s when things go way too far.

Main Event Mike in 2021

We’d see Mike again at the top of 2021 vs. Real Sikh in one of the very best battles of that year. Mike would get his 3rd appearance on NOME, this time facing Lu Castro in what in my opinion is a super dope battle that gets a little forgotten because of how amazing that whole event is. For as great as these battles are though, Mike was craving bigger names and he got one in the form of T-Top. Remember how I mentioned earlier about Mike being too fearless? Yeah, he battled T-Top in North Carolina. There’s some controversy surrounding this as well with Mike saying he and Top both agreed to not get personal, Top claiming to have lost his rounds so he had to scramble and use what came to mind, etc. Regardless of where you fall with that, the outcome wasn’t favorable for Mike and that gets expounded when we get to the Banned event at the beginning of 2022 where Mike P sees GeechI Gotti and we know how the rest of this story goes. 


Two very bad back-to-back looks for Mike, all coming at the expense of battling two dudes in their hometowns. Mike is a warrior, but these were two super foolish decisions. Something I do find interesting and worth pondering is in 2020, Mike vs. Top was actually supposed to go down on one of the Quarantine rooftop events and I believe that battle probably have played out significantly differently if it had taken place at that time, especially considering this would have been before Ultimate Madness 2. In 2019, Mike was calling out Geechi Gotti every chance he got and I think that battle also plays out a different way if it took place back when there was originally smoke to it and not after years of ammo built up on Mike. T-Top and Geechi are two of the best battlers of all time so they could still win those battles no matter the circumstances, but I think those two battles are interesting sliding-door moments and intriguing what-ifs.


The rest of Mike’s 2022 is good, facing Chilla Jones and Nunn Nunn in good battles but as a Mike fan, I felt like there was a little something lacking in both performances. But by the time we get to the Charron battle on Litework, Mike P turned it on and took full advantage of facing the legend. He was dominant and once again, gave us one of the best rounds of the year. The tide was finally back in Mike’s favor. After endless ebbs and flows over the last couple of years and stops and starts with momentum, things were finally looking up.


And then Mike didn’t get booked for 6 months and when he did get an offer it was far from the upward trajectory he was on and that’s where that final straw for him happened. After nearly 10 years of being on URL all the ups and downs finally boiled over and seeing as to how he came to the realization there were no plans for him in the league, he decided to take that leap and bet on himself. That brings us full circle to this Saturday when Mike will have all eyes on him. This isn’t the only big event Mike has coming up, he also is announced for KOTD’s Blackout. So I don’t want to place too much weight on this Rosenberg battle, but this battle has an air surrounding it of Mike P backing up all of his talk and insistence that he is unquestionably a top-tier battler. Mike is one of the guys where there is a microscope attached to everything he does and this battle will be no different. 

Leave a Comment

Scroll to Top