Rappers are in a perpetual race to be the realest. The best way to win this race seems to be mentioning in your songs that you are, indeed, the realest. As much as possible. But while Portland indie rapper Myke Bogan is sometimes guilty of claiming to be the realest, ever, the genuine pull of his music comes from its realness. His honesty, his everyday subject matter and his openness are refreshing in a genre where artists often try to hide behind status symbols and egos.
With a backdrop of mostly chill and pleasing beats, Bogan raps about his real life. He didn't grow up in Compton. He hasn't survived a life of violence and drugs. And he isn't an uber-confident ladies' man whose life is a carefree mix of Benzes and Cristal. Instead, he's a hardworking guy from the suburbs of LA with a degree from the University of South Dakota. A guy who is trying to balance fatherhood and co-parenting with building a successful rap career—along with having a little fun drinking PBR and smoking weed.
With a sound and storytelling style similar to Kendrick Lamar and Chance the Rapper, Bogan represents a new wave of navel-gazing rappers who don't mind taking down the front and sharing their everyday struggles and everyday accomplishments. Mix in some enjoyable wordplay, some solid hooks and good production, and you have a recipe for what indie rap should be.
Myke Bogan performs at the Palace Fri., Nov. 21, at 9 PM along with David Dalla G with Surebert, Hemingway and Tommy John. $10/$7 advance at tickefly.com. 18-plus.