Today’s Song: MIKE & Tony Seltzer’s Collaboration on “R&B” Is a Breath of Fresh Air for Underground Hip-Hop

MIKE © Ari Marcopoulos
MIKE © Ari Marcopoulos
Fresh off a successful 2023, producer Tony Seltzer and rapper MIKE unite on “R&B,” a quirky, smooth, and impressive summation of the artists’ respective styles. 
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Stream: “R&B” – MIKE & Tony Seltzer




It has been five years since Hip-Hop officially overcame Rock and Pop as the country’s most popular genre.

Since then, it has shown no signs of slowing down. Even though our modern music landscape has seen Billboard charts filled with a multitude of great Trap and Mumble Rappers, we have been blessed to have seen an Underground Hip-Hop scene which is, perhaps, at its own peak in relevance. Flaunting their unique respective styles, “R&B” finds New Yorkers MIKE and Tony Seltzer collaborating on an effort that is a colorful, fun, and innovative addition to the Alternative Hip-Hop landscape.

R&B - MIKE & Tony Seltzer
R&B – MIKE & Tony Seltzer

October 2023 saw the release of Burning Desire, MIKE’s 6th studio album which was met with widespread acclaim from the online music community. Almost entirely produced by the emcee, the album saw eclectic, short-form, rap cuts adorned by MIKE’s slow, deadpan, almost spoken-word-like rap style akin to contemporaries the likes of billy woods and Earl Sweatshirt (whose feature on the album fits like a glove).

Meanwhile, producer Tony Seltzer is not far removed from the success of 14K Figaro, a versatile collaboration with fellow New Yorker, Wiki. The project showcases Tony Seltzer’s crisp yet melodic production whose merit lies in musical subtlety and a raw, charged fidelity of sound. A common friend between the two artists, rapper Wiki can be heard on Faith is a Rock, a heartfelt collaboration with MIKE and the legendary Alchemist which quietly made waves in the underground earlier last year.

Please don’t judge me for them scams
 that was not legit
But I spent money on them brands
got my mom a crib
Then gon’ touch me, watch them hands,
come [up positive]
But please don’t flex ’cause I’ma fan,
but I’m not a bitch
I look sexy, I look handsome,
I hop out the whip

A deep, hard to discern vocal sample kicks the track off alongside a slick synth melody in a soundscape that is enigmatic yet alluring. It doesn’t take long for the beat to flip into a slow, feathery, dreamlike groove. Seltzer’s bubbly drums meticulously laid across a slick R&B chord progression that will stick in your head for hours. MIKE’s flow borders on mumbling but adds a strong, almost Dilla-esque type of rhythmic lilt which plays off the beat incredibly well. His rhyme scheme is consistent throughout much of the track, the uniquely stated lyrics delivered with incredible whimsy.

She wan’ [game] it’s like ransom,
I got lotta chip
I threw confetti on this dancer
for my confidence
I hit the scene already
jamming off all kind of shit
She said I’m sneaky,
like the Panthers, from Wakanda shit
You with the team, you gotta answer,
where your honor sit?
I know the scene,
I’m in a trance and I’m pondering
MIKE © Ari Marcopoulos
MIKE © Ari Marcopoulos



Masked through the glam of the instrumental, MIKE delivers a confessional, semi-disjointed narrative which paints a cartoonish narrative of a selfish thug.

The stark, (hilariously) pathetic opening line “Please don’t judge me for them scams/that was not legit” is immediately contradicted with a braggadocious line about mainline brands and buying “mom a crib”; it’s clearly not beneath the rapper to scheme for a quick buck. Even though MIKE’s girl calls him sneaky and the rapper isn’t proud he “had to do a homie bad”, he still loves the fact he can “make a dollar stretch” – and hey, at least the rapper feels sexy.

I had to do a homie bad,
I ain’t proud of it
And when they snooping in my bag,
hop out of it
Yeah, I be moving with the bammers
like Obama kids
When it’s lit I do my dance,
like my collar itch
I could make a dollar stretch,
make a dollar slim
I could make a dollar stretch,
make a dollar thin

Just as quickly as it came in, Tony Seltzer pulls the rug on the track and clips back into the same sample as the intro. In all, ‘R&B’ is a fun, varied track which is a must listen for any music fan looking for something fresh. Tony Seltzer’s creativity and MIKE’s storytelling skill pair together in a feat which displays the variety of what Underground Hip-Hop has to offer without sacrificing the listenability.

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:: stream/purchase R&B here ::
Stream: “R&B” – MIKE & Tony Seltzer



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R&B - MIKE & Tony Seltzer

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? © Ari Marcopoulos


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