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Soundcloud Comeback: Mike Dece Rebranding in the Works?

In a different time, Mike Dece would have been a renowned name in the rap community. The once rising star and former member of the Raider Klan played a role in popularizing South Florida’s now-iconic rap scene.

Circumstance and poor judgment, however, would put a damper on all that. A failed political gamble in support of incumbent president Trump on the eve of the elections led to a cascading decline in his popularity and alienation from former friends in South Florida’s burgeoning rap scene.  While his former colleagues became big league performers in the genre, Dece and his career would languish following the performance’s backlash.

The initial tepid response from the pro-Trump rally he attended was the visible beginning of the end for his career. Dece himself would fade into obscurity until late in 2018, where he would attempt a comeback that cast aside the connections to the politics of 2016. Will this make his former wunderkind’s career great again?

Career Background

Dece’s earliest appearances were rather modest with one of them being a guest appearance on the Nick and Pouya Show on YouTube in 2012 hosted by Miami rappers Pouya and Fat Nick.  This series of videos were loose comedy sketches, but one that had much of the roster of the Raider Klan in its cast.  Dece and his then-partner Slikk were credited by their original music project’s name, the Propr Boyz, which had enjoyed some modicum of success in 2011 and 2012. By then, the two had already become part of the Raider Klan and had extensively worked with them on numerous projects. Dece would leave the group after creative differences with its founder.

The unique visuals and sounds featured in these earlier comedy sketches characterized the milieu of Dece’s music and that of the South Florida rap scene he came from and helped promote.

At this time, he was also well known for his work with then up-and-comer Denzel Curry, who he had introduced to the Raider Klan. They would develop a longtime collaborative bond in the next few years and even did appearances on each other’s singles and music videos, the biggest of which was Curry’s single Ice Age. For a time, the two artists remained close even after Dece left Raider Klan.

A highlight of Dece’s career, Ice Age premiered on early 2015 in WorldStarHipHop and would become a hit on YouTube with over 2 million views. His second most successful single, The Federation, also featured Curry.

What Went Wrong

The two, however, had a massive fallout in 2016. In June, Curry came on the record on the radio show Sway in the Morning to announce the end of their longtime partnership. A month later, Dece began to vocally support then-presidential candidate Donald Trump and released a single named for the hotelier-turned-political aspirant.

The fateful moment that sealed the end of Dece’s career in September 2016, a few months’ shy of the election.  He had come to perform at a political rally held in support of Trump at the Louisiana State University. An initial lack of fanfare despite the urging of the hosts, frat-rap duo Rockie Savage and Rockie Gold, led to a tepid reception and subsequent backlash.

As it turns out, it takes more than pandering to politics to bolster your career, and Dece had to find this out the hard way. Rather than rapturous applause, the MAGA crowd he had sought to pander were unimpressed by the rap performer and his explicit number and were nonplussed even by his slogans.

This underwhelming reaction from an audience in a state of unease, punctuated only by awkward “woos,” was compounded by a Redditor posting his performance on a r/Cringe (not exactly the most flattering places to be exposed), where other site regulars predictably gawked at the seeming awkwardness of his personal getup.  Other responses from the Internet were hardly any better, with one Twitter chain complaining about how his awkward choice of outfits made the rest of his faltering performance even more lackluster.

Compounding the decline are the controversies surrounding his hosts and promoters, including one Milo Yiannopoulos, already a divisive and unpopular figure with his own issues and now reportedly $2 million in debt.  As if being doomed by association wasn’t enough, Dece now has to contend with a colossal fallout from longtime friends in the Florida rap scene, including Denzel Curry.

Just three weeks after Dece’s failed performance, Curry pulled out his original album 32 Zel/Planet Shroom, which contained Ice Age, to have it remastered. The new edition of Ice Age has Dece’s verses removed.

Guess Who’s Back?

For a time, Dece disappeared from social media, dropping to obscurity in the past two years while his career disintegrated. At one point in 2017, he staged his first attempted comeback with a mixtape titled Dece, which included the single Donald Trump. It proved to be massively unpopular, with detractors calling for his retirement. Subsequently, he disappeared from social media and seemed to have relented to the growing

His return to social media on December 2018, however, was startling, to say the least, but one that appeared to have some degree of calculation. The artist released a new song and came back online on Instagram and Twitter, having expunged every post that remotely associated with anything from the electoral campaign from 2016. His latest single Drug Phone, which featured producer Lofty305, nary had a thing to do with politics at all.  At the time of writing, the new single had less than 7,000 views on YouTube.

The new aesthetic he had taken also attempted to recapture elements of his early career. The single’s music video, complete with a grainy and shaky aesthetic, showcased an aesthetic evoking the South Florida style Dece had hailed from. His producer, the younger brother of another longtime collaborator Slikk, was even involved in Jesus Boyz, his most successful album to date whose aesthetic became the flagship post of his return to Instagram.

Although it is unlikely that listeners have completely forgotten his failed gamble on politics, he seems more than eager to put this episode behind him. Hope springs eternal for the South Florida rapper, it seems; he had promised a new album to follow Drug Phone.

Date: February 28, 2019 / Categories: New Stuff, / Author: Rich Drees


Rich Drees

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