Even with a face full of tattoos and a distinctive hooped nose ring to catch your attention, there’s a lot more than meets the eye with mikeflo.
While serving as the DJ for the iconic rap group dead prez (if you don’t lose your mind every time you hear the bass line from “Hip Hop” drop, we’ll send the coroner), the Atlanta-based emcee, stylist, producer, vocalist, and second half of rock-heavy music duo Royal has built a resume that’s as multifaceted as any in the industry.
Add to that list of descriptors “hops enthusiast.” When he’s not in the studio or jet-setting to shows in Paris with Rakim and Busta Rhymes, mikeflo likes to kick back with a brew that’s as complex as the artists he works with. So, he was a natural pick as the next guinea pig for our music-inspired beer tasting, curated by ATL beer scribe Ale Sharpton.
Hitting up Argosy—one of the hottest beer bars on Atlanta’s Eastside—Ale selected a diverse roster of craft brews to present to the suds-sipping DJ. The mission was simple: mikeflo had to tell us what he tasted in the glass, than explain which hip-hop artist the beer made him think of.
Boulevard Unfiltered Wheat
mikeflo says: “Okay, off the top, this one is so clean and smooth. I am going with CL Smooth with this one. I always understood his flows because he did it so smooth without being corny. There is mild citrus, lemon zest from this. After a bike ride, in would definitely drink one of these; I drink many wheats.”
Creature Comforts Tropicalia IPA
mikeflo says: “This looks like what a real champagne of beers should be. It looks sexy. I like this a lot! Grapefruit-y. Vivid. This is like Kendrick Lamar. I can taste the flavors that were truly crafted on purpose. They’re intentional; no hiding. It’s like I can see the rhyme—strong, but not abrasive. This is an IPA I could drink: low-key, yet vivid and distinctive. That’s Kendrick right there.”
Burnt Hickory Didjits Orange IPA
mikeflo says: “Right off, I get caramel; it’s like an old-school McDonald’s sundae. It tastes juicy. Smooth. Very full. From the time I sip it to the end, it’s consistent. This one is Jigga. Bar for bar, this is a Jay Z tribute. I can drink a whole one of these, easy.”
Great Divide Ruffian English Barleywine
mikeflo says: “I am seeing burgundy and velour—it’s sultry. This is J-Dilla right here. There are layers to the flavor profile, like his beats. There is something going with each sip. You can get toffee, and then grapefruit comes out of nowhere—very complicated, and a different finish than what you get up front. Just when you think Dilla has you on beat, he will throw you off. I really like this one. Good job there, Ale.”
Ballast Point Sea Monster Imperial Stout
mikeflo says: “Oh man, it’s like butter right there. Okay, it’s chocolate-y, but not a bitter or milk version. It’s a mix of both. This is silky smooth. You get the alcohol heat, almost bourbon-y, with a bit of coffee; like a rich cabernet, but a beer. It’s like Barry White! If I am sticking with the hip-hop, I would go with certainly Big Daddy Kane. Mature like a Rakim, but smoother. I like Ra, but you are sitting on leather with a smoking jacket. I’d get pussy off of this. [Laughs]”
Evil Twin Justin Blåbær Berliner Weissbier
mikeflo says: “It smells like something other than beer. Very aromatic. Apple-cider vinegar. That’s it. This is one of the most unique beers I have ever tasted. It leaves your mouth very dry. I don’t like this. It lingers, too; it’s hard for me to really enjoy it. I respect the intent and I am sure there is cult following of people who dig it, so I compare this to Eminem. It’s probably really, really good for what it is—brainy, and well-executed—but I don’t feel it. I can see why people love Eminem and love this; I respect his story, but this beer is not for me.”
So…which one would you make a track with?
“Ha! I would have done a track with the Sea Monster. But today I am stretching out and trying new things, so the Ruffian (a.k.a., J-Dilla) is in the booth—so many layers, just like my complicated life. We can go so many places together. Your pairings took me all over the place man. Dope.”