Puerto Rico’s Mike Towers owes a lot of his success in the island’s burgeoning hip-hop scene to SoundCloud. The 20-year-old MC launched his career off the strength of a series of New York and Toronto-style rap loosies he released there, so it’s fitting that his first official mixtape would be a collection of those best-received tracks. El Final del Principio is an introduction to his moody style and sound, representing Towers’ evolution from anonymous rapper from Puerto Rico to a French Montana-cosigned up-and-comer on the verge of his big break.
Lyrically, Mike Towers is chiefly concerned with matters of the heart and the wallet, which he gamely addresses with both youthful energy and seasoned aplomb. Along with “Dejate Ver” and “Dinero en Mano,” two tracks that received Kid Art-directed visuals ahead of the release, El Final boasts other favorites like the Twilight Zone-produced “No Sabe Nada,” an ambling, downtempo track with Towers providing a melancholy, almost monotone hook about an illicit affair, and “Habitación 420,” also produced by Twilight with a brilliant sample of Ginuwine’s “None Of Ur Friends Business,” that further evokes the sound of Drake and his main producer 40’s best work together.
The set also contains two new tracks, “Desahogate” and “Alternativas.” Both flaunt a decidedly more upbeat delivery from Towers, as his earlier work is more muted. Still, he’s clearly picking up cues from the new school of American heavy hitters here, with the former sounding like an A$AP Mob caliber effort, and the latter calling to mind the gradual build and post-adolescent boastfulness of Kendrick Lamar (“Mucho gusto, Mike Towers, la droga moderna”).
While those already familiar with Towers may be bummed out by the lack of new material on El Final del Principio, it serves as a quality introduction for those who are getting acquainted with Towers’ individual style, as well as what true hip-hop from Puerto Rican artists sounds like. Towers, who will perform at our SXSW showcase this Friday at Swan Dive Patio, is poised to become a major player in a game that is finally getting its footing.