With his latest album Closer (baseball terminology), Mike Stud proves that the end of one life is the beginning of another.

I think it’s safe to say that the Tommy John surgery that caused ex-baseball player Mike Stud to give up his potential career with the MLB is the kind of life event we all fear. After all, no one wants to give up their goals and dreams without having a choice. But Mike didn’t stand still after the surgery that ended his career. He soon shifted his focus onto music, writing songs and hip-hop hits that were discovered and recognized by many soon-to-be fans, and he chronicles that journey in his new album.

The album starts with the titular track “Closer,” a song that tells Stud’s life’s story. Well, it’s actually summed up in the first verse:

“I used to dream about showing the world what I dream about
Forget a mic, my whole life I thought it’d be on the mound
I guess it’s fitting how life threw me the curve ball”

Baseball references are unique to Stud’s style as a musician, and the best part is that it’s never done in a shallow way. Sometimes these references are literal, but other times he effectively uses them as strong metaphors. As a writer, I was impressed to see a rapper use a basic literary device so effectively.

But Closer isn’t just made up of Mike’s rhymes; it’s also a combination of R&B and Hip-Hop music. Stud has developed more of a singing voice on this album, which adds a nice touch to his songs. And there are really catchy tunes included in this biographical package; “All Good” and “Thinking of You” are great additions to your music library. For a moment they drop the serious tone initially pronounced by “Closer,” and we get to see Mike as the party boy that we were introduced to in his earlier albums. “Submarine” is the perfect example of a fun track that puts together the elements mentioned before. Plus it features Micky Blue, whose voice holds its own next to Mike’s rapping, but it get a bit repetitive – hey Micky, we get it, you’re sinking.

Simply put, Closer is a inspiration for those of us who’ve hit walls in the journey of life. The album is a culmination of Mike Stud’s work as a musician, which shows off his maturity and his growth. It doesn’t subtract from any of his musical prowess, but instead offers us new and fresh content, wrapped up in a thoughtful and honest repertoire of rhymes and beats.

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