Detroit MC and Umbrella Collective figurehead Mickey Diamond was as busy as ever in 2023. Since breaking out in 2021, he’s been dropping a steady stream of shorter projects that have earned him a name among fans of hardcore, boombap influenced hip-hop. Of everything he’s dropped so far, it was No Liquor Before 12 in late 2022 that really showed what he was capable of conceptually and beyond just some nasty street raps. With that being said, it seemed to be his goal for the next year to round out his discography with a variety of producer collabs, and the results had us eating good – but hopefully he comes back soon with another higher stakes project as well.
Here, we’ll talk about just a few of Mickey Diamond’s best projects from 2023:
While Oroku Saki wasn’t much of a departure or anything outside of Diamond Dallas’ usual sphere, it seemed to pick up more hype than his usual drops and remains a fun, lighter listen – likely thanks to the MF DOOM influenced album art and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles motif. It was a bit of a breakthrough in popularity, exposing him to all kinds of new online fans and publications.
Anytime Sadhugold puts out a full collab with somebody, it’s a big deal; he’s elusive, to be sure, but he ranks among the Knxwledges to fans of the heady underground and scenes such as Mutant Academy. That being said, Mickey is among the hardest MC’s he’s worked with yet, and Death Threats turns out as one of their best projects thanks to the cohesion and storytelling feel brought on by the skits.
Again, while Mickey Diamond doesn’t step away from his usual subject matter and menacing punchlines very often, it works to great effect with a producer as talented as Griselda’s Camoflauge Monk – somebody who will hopefully continue to do more projects outside of the collective. That being said, Capital Gains sees Mickey stepping in to that world a bit and flexing his high fashion and business acumen a bit, such as on Bulletproof Bathrobes before it.
A collab album with Big Ghost LTD is almost a rite of passage in the underground these days; he’s put on so many MC’s at this point and always brings the best out of them with his signaturely heavy sound and some motifs tacked on to match his partner. Well Mickey Diamond got not one, but four Big Ghost produced albums, and it’s clear why. Their chemistry is off the charts and they love the entire Godzilla / high fashion aesthetic. The new third and fourth installments in the Gucci Ghost series are among the best for their clever skits and the posse cut with Ty Farris, among others.
What better way is there to close out a strong year of Mickey Diamond releases than with another installment in his signature Bangkok Dangerous series? While his producer collab albums might be best to hear the variety across each, Bangkok Dangerous 4 is special for how he collected a relatively all star cast of beat makers, including the likes of Spanish Ran, Futurewave, and Nicholas Craven. It functions well as a victory lap for 2023 and sends a message that he won’t be slowing down – that there are big things to come.