Even for the small, intimate show like the one Thursday night at the Blue Note in Columbia, MO, new rap artist on the scene, Mike Stud did a great job engaging the audience. The smaller crowd would have thrown off some artists, but it never stopped Stud from throwing an all out bash during his performance.
As the college kids piled into the Blue Note they weren’t quite sure what to expect. Many had heard of Stud through his recorded music or his collaborations with other up and coming artists like Timeflies and Loggy. However, as all music fans know just because an artist sounds good recorded doesn’t mean they’re going to throw a memorable show. Thankfully, Stud didn’t disappoint and fans walked away with a smile knowing that they had witnessed something really special.
The story of how it all began for Stud is a pretty unique one to say the least. Originally a baseball player from Rhode Island, and a top-pitching recruit for Duke University, baseball seemed to be Stud’s path to fame and stardom. But in an unexpected turn of events, Stud had to undergo the always devastating Tommy John’s surgery on his pitching arm, which made a career in baseball much more difficult to achieve.
With a healing arm, Stud was still looking for something to pass the time. In his free time he began rapping and rhyming just because he enjoyed it. He began to notice that he had a real knack for it. Laying down creative flows and rhymes with a sort of ease and style that isn’t common, Stud would have rap battles with his friends and then he began writing down his verses and such. After one video of his song “College Humor” became popular, he gained some fans and everything started to take off for him.
Mike Stud’s College Humor
When asked about how he creates these connections with his young fans, Stud seemed to get as real as his music. “If I don’t have a sob story, I’m not going to try to tell one. I’m just trying to be as real as I can because people can tell when you’re not being real with them,” Stud explained about his music.
While talking to Stud it was obvious that Drake was a main influence due to his personal music. “That’s why Drake is so great. Even though he’s a superstar, he writes really personal music,” Stud claimed when asked why Drake was one of his biggest musical influences.
Stud makes it quite obvious right off the bat that he’s real with his fans. He wants them to see he’s more than just another “party kid” looking to cash in on the newly popular “frat style” hip-hop scene. Stud explained that in his track “In This Life” he’s trying to show everyone that he’s more than just a party animal. He wants them to see that he’s just like his listeners. That’s why he’s taking his real life and weaving relate-able songs with them.
Before the show Stud was a very reflective and down to earth. He didn’t seem to get too worked up and excited about everything going on around him backstage, but instead kept relaxed and composed. The entire time we talked you could tell that Stud enjoyed discussing his music, influences, and even his fans, but he was also very humble about his entire music career so far.
When asked about his common comparison to rap star Mac Miller, Stud was quick to point out that, “people like to compare us all the time, but [Mac] is light years ahead of where I am…and people try to compare our styles of music but he’s a big time dude, and I’m trying to work up to where he is, but he’s probably one of the hardest working guys in the music industry.”
3oNe3 opened the show, and they were playing as people were still walking into the venue. Although they performed a fairly short set list, they did a good job getting the crowd warmed up. After a few tracks, and even bringing up one of the fans in the audience to dance during one of their songs, a female vocalist who was labeled as new to the band began really turning heads. She sang many of the chorus lines as the other singer rapped and sang over the rhythm sections with her.
The rap portion of 3oNe3 was talented but at times it felt generic and unoriginal, as it seemed to get lost frequently amongst the bumping DJ beats and the talented, young female vocalist.
The next opener Goone was a big hit with the crowd. These guys were dancing and rapping along to catchy beats. The crowd really engaged to their unique style, and really got into their seemingly perfect mesh of jumping around, dancing, and effortless flowing rap verses.
Out of all the openers for Stud, Goone was both the most talented and the best received by the crowd. Even at points in the set where most groups would lag, Goone kept the revelry going, and the audience could tell that they wanted to keep the show running at a whole other level.
The final opener for Stud, Los was a group based out of St. Louis and they were the most unimpressive of all the artists that performed. Not only did they have the most trouble creating any sort of connection with the audience, but also one of their members even seemed so disoriented that he could barely perform. Los was unable to get any sort of crowd interaction going besides the occasional clap along with the beat. They did have a couple of catchy verses, but overall they felt recycled and generic. There was also a lack of focus and originality in their song writing, which also took away from the entire performance as a whole.
The crowd erupted as Mike Stud ran on the stage to begin his set. Nobody really knew what to expect, and with the smaller crowd, Stud’s performance would determine the overall quality of the show. Stud didn’t disappoint. He performed songs like his hit “In This Life” and his track that started it all “College Humor,” which made the crowd go absolutely nuts. With people rapping along with him and dancing, everyone in the crowd had a blast listening to the hits that are helping him to become a mainstream artist.
He also performed his hit “Back Again” but it didn’t pack the same powerful party punch that it normally does in the recorded. It could’ve been due to the fact that Huey Mack, who is featured on the recorded version, wasn’t at the show performing, but it just felt like it was lacking something. The audience didn’t let that bother them though, especially one girl who was screaming at the top of her lungs as he rapped through the song.
At one point in the show Stud had DJ Fader start beat boxing as he rapped a freestyle that he wrote about Mizzou, the university that surrounds The Blue Note at one end of the town. In the freestyle he mentions the hugely successful Mizzou basketball program, and even adds some coarse lines about Mizzou’s biggest rival, Kansas University. This went over huge with the crowd, and the whole place was almost shaking in an eruption of screaming and cheering.
There’s no doubt that Stud did a fantastic job forming a link with the audience. It was also very apparent how Stud truly is real with his music, and throughout his performance it never felt like he was throwing on a “mask” while on stage. He was real with his music and to his fans, which they picked up on quickly.
Stud may be, like he puts it in his track “On My Way,” “the diamond in the rough that got found,” but he certainly shows a true gift when it comes to rapping. It’s also true that he may not be on the same level as artists like Mac Miller and Sam Adams, but he’s definitely on his way. Stud is hopefully just beginning his road in the music industry because he’s got a lot of potential to bring to the table.
Written by Denny Ganahl