Michael Brown’s raps: Money, sex, drugs — and a vulnerable side
In the neighborhood around the worn Canfield Green Apartments, 18-year-old Michael Brown was known as a young man with some potential. His peers around him struggled to hold jobs and had multiple run-ins with the law, but Brown had graduated from high school and was headed for community college.
And he had another ambition: his music.
Calling himself Big’Mike, he was a prolific amateur rapper, recording solo and duet tracks and posting them online. He even included a phone number where he could be reached, asking for “features and advice.”
Brown's cousin, Daryus Watson, 16, said Brown used to shy away from freestyle rapping with him and that he had learned how to do it in only the last eight months. Brown taught himself, with help from friends, Watson said. The two chatted on Facebook about Brown's growing interest and how he had spent time in a studio matching his lyrics with beats. Brown posted a photo on Facebook showing how he composed his songs, scrawling lyrics on scraps of notebook paper that appear in a pile.
"I write all my lyrics down as I go off the top of my head," he wrote.
Many of his tracks were styled as hard-driving “trap” hip-hop, propelled by strong bass-filled beats and lyrics that tapped into familiar musical themes: money, success, drugs and sex. But some showed Brown's more vulnerable side, as he rapped about his love for his stepmother and the manners his grandmother extolled.
Sampling beats, styles and lyrics and rapping alongside fellow amateurs, Big’Mike had more than 150 followers on the SoundCloud page where he showcased his music.
Below are excerpts of his song lyrics and musical clips. Please be advised some of the lyrics contain explicit language and sexual and drug references.
“SMH Luh Vee”
“On my side of town
When the sun go down
You in trouble now”
“Devil get up off my back
I knock you off your feet
Another man down in my city
Why people so petty”
SMH Luh Vee” is the last song posted before Brown’s death. Fellow St. Louis amateur rapper Luh Vee also raps on the song.
“Feel my pain, feel my pain, my own momma don’t give a damn.”
“Money on my mind, I ain’t got the time, trying to nickel and dime.
Just trying to make some rhymes
So my baby can eat on time.”