Little Rock, Arkansas born Mike Davis Jr. has a fully-rounded artistic vision that’s quite remarkable by any standard, but all the moreso because of Davis’ youth. His latest single “Livin’ Life” elevates his rising profile several notches and puts across his cutting edge approach to pop and hip hop music with every bit of the burning intelligence and passion you might expect. Davis’ avowed influences of Dr. Dre, Michael Jackson, Jay Z. and Jermaine Dupree have shaped his creative vision to seek out more than just musical results – his music is intended to speak about Davis’ desire for self-realization and facing life with a positive attitude despite its wont for undercutting our dreams. “Livin’ Life” has a lot of musical substance and a strong message to boot, all guided by a young performer well on his way to ranking among the best that the style has to offer.
Listeners can’t miss his message. He doesn’t overdo it, taking some sort of strident tone, and never forgets his obligation to entertain listeners, but Davis definitely makes music infused with his personal convictions and has found a way to incorporate them into his musical art without ever making it a tiresome experience for audiences. His delivery never risks the swaggering arrogance that so many crasser practitioners of the form find to be required and, instead, emphasizes the content while also providing a musically inspired flow to his voice. The decision to lock his voice in so tightly with the song’s electronically generated grooves proves to be an inspired choice thanks to the exceptional and substantive nature of the arrangement. It isn’t merely just some afterthought to carry his lyrical musings. Instead, running over four and a half minutes in length, the excellence of C.E.O. Business’ backing track offers further evidence that he brings a well rounded approach to this recording that makes it stand out all the more.
A common knock against electronic instruments is that they have a cold, sterile sound compared to real people playing acoustic or traditional instruments, but that’s not valid here. There’s genuine, palpable warmth in the backing on this track and it has a physical quality that enables the music to get right next to the listener, refusing to be denied. He studiously makes sure to give the song an ample lower end sound and it’s this sort of attention to basic fundamentals that further distinguishes him from his contemporaries while, also, creating a strong groove for him to ride out as a performer. This is a solid performance from its first seconds on and Mike Davis Jr. clearly shows himself to be capable of formulating the genre’s classic elements into something unique that bears his own signature. “Livin’ Life” features a performer who is doing just that and his commitment to finding his place at the table will only bring him deeper into the spotlight with each new release. C.E.O. Business is open for business and business is good.