Do Remember: Killer Mike & M.O.P. – Push Back (Audio)

With Killer Mike on the minds of Ambrosia For Heads staff and readers this week, “Do Remember” looked deep within the Adamsvillain’s catalog this week.

Back in 2008, Killer Mike was in a major transition. The MC now stealing the show alongside El-P with Run The Jewels was in the midst of a shift. Following his gold-certified 2003 debut album Monster, Mike had become a slugger in the booth for Outkast-turned-just-Big Boi’s Purple Ribbon imprint. After so much work, a Grammy Award, and a gold LP, Mike somehow ended up on the outs by 2008.

No longer rollin’ with Big Boi, Mike focused his energies on his own outfit: Grind Time Rap Gang. Although seven years later, the movement is still without its fair share of props, the Atlanta, Georgia-based collective includes former Maybach Music Group star Pill, Little Rock, Arkansas act SL Jones, and producers Smiff & Cash. Out of the major label system, and dedicated to independence, Mike inked with the Fontana/Universal Music Group-backed SMC Recordings to release I Pledge Allegiance II The Grind, the follow-up to his 2006 sophomore set.

Before Mike dropped his critically-acclaimed third album, mixtapes—as common in the day—promoted the project. The Killer, released on Mike’s Grind Time Official imprint and hosted by The Aphilliates’ DJ Sense (Ludacris’ DJ), was one such mixtape. As a bonus cut to the street set-up, there was a track called “Push Back,” possibly a holdover from Mike’s Columbia/Sony Records days, and it featured another major label act then sent out to indie pasture: M.O.P.:

Mike, Lil Fame, and Billy Danze all represent hardcore Hip-Hop artists who enjoy bully tactics, but always balanced with lyricism, love of legendary songs, and finessed flows. This song, likely made at a time when Mike and Mash Out (a la G-Unit Records) were both above the independent form. However, this moment beckons a follow-up, or at the very least, greater attention.

Each MC hits the track as hard as expected, with a building beat as menacing as the message. Fame in particular shines, as he has so many times, on M.O.P.’s work, and in the guest role. Both artists, care of Run The Jewels 2 and Street Certified, had strong activity in 2014. Here’s hoping 2015 is more of the same…

Check out other Ambrosia For Heads’ “Do Remember” pieces.

Related: Men Of The Year: How Killer Mike & J. Cole Represented Hip-Hop Honorably In 2014 (Food For Thought)