Parallels drawn between Killer Mike's forthcoming album with El-P and Ice Cube's eastern pilgrimage to Bomb Squad's Long Island preproduction studio might be the first convenient rap narrative in years to actually hold water. Equipped with a menacing delivery and revolutionary but gangster philosophy, Mike is probably the closest we have to a modern day Cube. Obviously he doesn't elicit fear like ol' uncle O'shea in his prime, but that's mostly due to the teary-eyed Ras Kass-esque video released amid his brief standoff with Sir Lucious Left Foot. But if we limit the conversation strictly to rap persona, as we always should, the comparison is certainly worth entertaining. Despite being championed as a great artist over the years, Mike's artistic victories have been few and far in between, if not nonexistent altogether. The initial leaks from R.A.P. Music show the heights he's capable of reaching when his production is truly aggressive rather than just annoyingly brash. On the appropriately titled 'Don't Die', El-P's ever-adapting roller coaster backdrop fuels intense cop killing confessions and science fiction references. This project has the potential to lend credence to Killer Mike's critical acclaim, which up to this point has been largely unsubstantiated.

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