Music by VICE

Mic Outlaw's New 'Oragami' Tape Is an Adrenaline Shot to Toronto Rap

The Brampton artist's bold performances stand in opposition to Toronto's dark R&B sound.

by Phil Witmer
Dec 28 2016, 4:15pm

Brampton, Ontario's Mic Outlaw raps like it's the last thing he'll ever get to do, which makes him stand out in the narcotized Toronto rap/R&B scene. His previous singles established his gritty, streetwise take on the Northside sound and his full-length Oragami expands and solidifies it. Introductory track "Reality Rap" lives up to its title, with Mic's desperate words setting the tone for the intense listen that follows. It's necessary listening for those following the rap scene of the Greater Toronto Area. Even though it comes out near the end of the year, it's an album that grabs by the collar and occupies attention fully. You can stream Oragami in its entirety below and read on for our interview with Mic.

What is this album about? 
Oragami means to me a bunch of flavours. Every flavour is a colour, and every colour is a different story.

I noticed that you don't sing on your beats nor do you use lots of R&B elements in your music in comparison to other Toronto-area artists. Why is that? 
I enjoy R&B but I feel there's an overload of that in the GTA. I feel being unique isn't alive anymore, everybody wants to bite off another person's tree and not start their own tree. I don't want to be like everybody else, I don't think like everybody else, my material and voice to me is like a puzzle. I only have a certain amount of time and lines on a song to tell you something you need to know. The difference between my material and a Toronto area artist's material is that mine is like a heartbeat, it keeps beating while others eventually wear out. 

So, who are your musical influences? How'd you get started in music?
Off the bat I can easily say Tupac, Bob Marley, J. Cole, and Kanye West, but an interesting thing about these influences [is that] not only [did] their music influence me, but the way they carry themselves. They're not afraid of being honest in public, speaking their mind even when others didn't understand. I got started at 16 when I was on lunch in high school, and at the time my friends were freestyling and I tried to freestyle with them and got made fun of. I went home the same day till late in the morning, wrote 8 bars to go back to school with. They thought it was dope, and from that moment on I told myself I'm not going to give up on this like I did with everything else. I knew I wanted it so bad cause back then I did something that a lot of kids wouldn't do. I had no money and couldn't afford anything but I knew a kid that had a microphone and audio box. So, I traded all my clothes for it and ever since then I haven't looked back.

How does being from Brampton influence your work?
Being from Brampton is very hard. There's no music atmosphere built down here yet, where people can say there's a lot of talent in Brampton. Toronto, you go down there [and] every street, every neighborhood has energy, inspiration, stories, cultures combining with cultures. So for me to live in Brampton doing music, I have to create my own atmosphere down here, create my own lifestyle, my own slang and the way I look. I put everything to test to let the GTA know there's a new breed coming.

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Phil Witmer is a Noisey staff writer. He's on Twitter.