Mike G is Odd Future’s secret weapon. Even on tracks that call for commotion, Mike’s voice hardly rises above a whisper, hitting the pocket so perfectly that he often schools more-famous pals like Tyler, the Creator and Domo Genesis. In a group that thrives on overstatement, Mike plays the background. His cloudy bedroom eyes and half-cocked smile don’t make a big first impression, but as FADER pointed out, he shares a tacit precociousness with someone like Omar Little from The Wire.
Unlike Tyler, who may have already reached his ceiling with the twin triumphs of Bastard and Goblin (especially if he follows through on his threat to make a loft-jazz record), Mike doesn’t lean on gimmickry or bombast. But the seven-track Award Tour EP keeps the moxie of the best Odd Future records. “Michael Douglas” pulls off a double miracle, fitting a reference to The Smiths’ “The Boy with the Thorn in His Side” into an autoethnographic account of schoolyard homicide: Quiet nigga in the front of the class/With an autographed Bible and a gun in his back.
“Chevron” spins its thesis — the fragmentation of the nuclear family — into a desperate, gently aching hymn, its MPC string sounds knotted like prayer beads. Religion looms heavy over Award Tour. Several times Mike alludes to the preachers and church folk who dotted his childhood with demands for repentance. How the fuck is God gonna give my life a purpose? he wonders atop the King Krule-esque synth thrums of “Vicks.” It’s a question he leaves unanswered. (self-released)