4:22 by Mike Dean is what's good.
This is the second solo album from hip-hop producer Mike Dean.
Last year, at the height of quarantine, Mike Dean released 4:20, an entrancing album of instrumental, spacey, electronic music.
4:20 was the precursor to this album, but it definitely wasn’t the first project that you've heard from Mike Dean. He has production credits with artists including Beyonce, Frank Ocean, and even Madonna. He's worked on every single project album released by both Kanye West and Travis Scott.
Mike Dean is best known as a secret weapon. — Rolling Stone
Dean is also known as one of the most prolific stoners in hip-hop — hence the title of his previous album, which was also released on 4/20 (April 20th) of 4/20 (April 2020). To quote Travis Scott: “it’s lit.”
4:22 is a proper successor in every way. It's spacey and psychedelic but with more human elements to it. 4:20 leaned almost entirely on super heavy vocoder vocals, deep resonating synths, and electronic guitar instrumentals; 4:22 has some lighter vocoder and auto-tuned vocals, more airy guitars, and there are even some woodwinds thrown into the mix later on. 4:22 clocks in at 28 songs, lasting 1 hour and 50 minutes — about 20 minutes longer than its predecessor.
I didn't even realize this album was released back in April 2021; it was only this week that I opened up Apple Music and noticed it had been released (a delightful surprise).
Familiar, yet new
Some of the tracks on this song sound almost familiar; at times I think I'm listening to the Tenet soundtrack, other times I think it's a Travis Scott song. As soon as this happens, I'm immediately surprised by the ensuing switchup.
Compared to 4:20, which starts uplifting but progresses to an increasingly heavy conclusion, 4:22 feels more light, more uplifting, like the storm clouds moving on, the sunlight peeking out through dark skies.
4:22 is orchestral but modern, ethereal while still being earthly, in a way unlike any other music I've heard.
This is an album to get lost in.
Listen on Spotify or Apple Music, or YouTube Music.
Some additional thoughts
The last track on 4:22 is a reprise of "The Fifth Day", which makes up the earlier half of 4:20. And it's so freaking amazing.
There was an NFT drop to commemorate the album release, a collaboration between Mike Dean and Shepard Fairey, who created OBEY Clothing.
Further reading, listening, and viewing
Zane Lowe does not disappoint here. I like how they mix music in with the interview so it feels like radio.
The Needle Drop's interview with Mike Dean is a fascinating history of his career, starting all the way back with Dean's start back in the early 1980's, and moving to the current day. Some comments mentioned that Fantano gets a little weird after the 30 minute mark and I stopped watching around then.
Mike's Twitch streams from when he was building up to release are utterly epic.
They're like full-fledged concerts, with lighting effects, epic music, and Mike smoking copious amounts of weed as he moves from keyboard to keyboard with an incredible dexterity.
Bonus: some memes which describe what it feels like to listen to this album
Travis Scott's "Highest in the Room" ends with an extended synth solo from Mike, which sparked a million memes that also adequately explain what this entire album feels like.