‘One Foot Out the Door’ | Mike Posner

| Cadenza Reporter

By now you should have heard about Mike Posner, the senior from Duke who is making waves throughout the music industry with his first two mixtapes. If you haven’t, don’t worry; you’re not alone. There are plenty of people who have yet to discover the musical genius of Posner, but that’s what I am here to correct. By the end of this article, you won’t be able to say that you don’t know.

A mixture of pop, R&B and hip-hop, Posner started to make real noise when he released his first mixtape, “A Matter of Time,” in February. The mixtape, hosted by Don Cannon, was released for free download on iTunes U and features a mixture of new songs and sampled songs, mostly produced by Posner himself. Throughout the mixtape, Posner reworks popular songs (like The Fray’s “Over My Head,” Beyonce’s “Halo,” and Gorilla Zoe’s “Lost”), reproducing them and, of course, changing the lyrics. Mixed in with these songs are original tracks produced and sung by Posner along with a few featured guests (including Kanye West’s signee Big Sean). Although all of the songs are great, the standouts are by far “Drug Dealer Girl” (which is now Posner’s first official single) and “Cooler Than Me” with Big Sean. On “A Matter of Time,” Posner created super-catchy songs using his unmistakable voice. While maybe not the best or fullest, Posner’s voice is unique in its breathy falsetto. It is instantly recognizable and alluring.

(Courtesy of JessieLouiseMark)

(Courtesy of JessieLouiseMark)

Then, in July, after touring and much buzz, Posner was signed to J Records. Of course, at this point, he had the choice either just to focus on his burgeoning music career or to finish his senior year at Duke University. As he puts it at the beginning of his Web series, “To make my parents proud, I returned to Duke University to finish my senior year. I’m taking a full load of classes, rocking shows every weekend and finishing my debut album.” So, he decided to combine the two—finish out school and work on his music.

This leads us to Thursday (Oct. 29), when Posner released his second free mixtape on iTunes: “One Foot Out the Door.” He kept much of the same formula on this mixtape, though with fewer “covers” (there is only a remix of 3OH!3’s “Don’t Trust Me” and a rework of Soulja Boy’s “Kiss Me Thru the Phone”). He mixes his unique voice with his own production to create yet another promising mixtape. On songs like “I Don’t Trust Myself” and “Red Button,” Posner shows that he can hold his own on more pop- or R&B-inspired songs, while on “Bring Me Down” (featuring Big Sean and Freddie Gibbs) and “Mirror’s Edge” (featuring Bun B, GLC and XV) he also demonstrates his ability to produce radio-friendly hip-hop. Although this was also true on his first mixtape, it is reinforced on his second. Also made evident on this second mixtape is that Posner has the musical ability to take on any of the other pop or R&B singers out there. He can sing, write and produce well, while also standing out among the crowd.

Mike Posner has already demonstrated that he can produce an engaging and entertaining album, but the real test will be to see if he can break into mainstream consumers’ consciousness. He has the skill and the equipment; he just needs to break out. Whether his debut album (to be released in 2010) will be able to catch the ears of the average listener has yet to be seen or tested. That said, with an appearance on “Last Call with Carson Daly” and a Tweet from Perez Hilton under his belt, he already has one foot out the door and into the fickle world of the mainstream.