It may have seemed like a lofty goal for an independent rapper to get Lil Scrappy and Iam of Soul Mafia on his first single. Not for Mike Petrone, whose breakthrough record "Crank It" is heating up the streets of his native Atlanta on the strength of spitfire verses and an insanely catchy hook.
The independent release of his epic LP "The Last Hundred Yards" is just the most recent accomplishment from this multifaceted individual who served two tours in Iraq, was wounded twice, and received his Purple Heart, all before the age of 22. The remarkable story of how Petrone received his Purple Heart is detailed in his music video for his song "Baghdad" which was filmed overseas during Petrone's second tour in Iraq. Authenticity is a prevalent theme from this artist who chose to skip a rap moniker and use his government name.
Trigger warning for war imageryThe buzz about Mike Petrone is hard to contain. Already, he has been featured on Fox News, Fort Benning TV, VH1, and various other media outlets. His debut single "Crank It" is additionally featured on To the Fallen Records Hip Hop's Volume 2. He has performed in countless venues nationwide and always dazzles his audience with energetic, electrifying live shows.
Petrone is frank and humble about his talent and his place in the rap landscape, "I've always been a fan of hip-hop first, and an artist second. Even if I quit rapping today, I'll still be a fan tomorrow!" Risking his safety everyday and watching comrades fall has undeniably inspired Petrone's modesty, maturity, and passion for life…or maybe he was just born to "CRANK IT!!!"
How do you describe your music to people, Mike?
Deep lyrics meet knocking beats as Mike Petrone brings the energy of Lil Jon and raw emotion of Eminem to his southern rap anthems.
Tell me about how you originally got into your craft.
I was 14 years old and I first fell in Love with Hip Hop the night I saw The Lyricist Lounge Show. It was so captivating. The way someone would put words together and freestyle off the top making words rhyme in such a way that it sounded like they were meant to flow together. I wrote my first rap that same night and I haven't stopped since!
What is your favorite thing to do in the whole wide world?
Travel. I love experiencing Life and New amazing things that fulfill the soul!
What is your biggest challenge when it comes to running your business?
Doing everything yourself. Being an Independent Artist is a lot of work. It has its pros and cons and its always nice knowing you have the final say and being your own boss of your music but at the end of the day If something needs to get done you need to make sure it happens.
When you were a kid, what did you think you were going to be when you grew up?
I never really thought to much about what i wanted to be when I was younger. I know when I was in kindergarten I wanted to be a Solider like my Dad but once I became a teenager and music took over my life its all I ever wanted to do!
In what way has your community impacted your development as a musician?
I love being realistic in my music. I love talking about everyday experiences so I look at the whole world and say that is was has impacted my music. From Politics to Women to Hanging with the Boys to the War overseas. Everything I've seen from my life, my travels and my experiences. My community plays a part in developing me as a musician being a proud artist from Georgia but only to a certain extent. I go beyond that!
What other artists out there do you love?
My Genres of Music vary a lot. Im a huge Blues Fan. I love the Blues. Everything from Robert Johnson to Chris Thomas King. Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin. Bob Marley, Matisyahu, Reel Big Fish, Outkast and Eminem.
What does your future hold?
Lots of Travels. More music to share with the world. Over the next year I'm going to be taking some time to do a lot of volunteer work around the world, see new places, put out new singles and new videos and the end of 2011 start working on the sophomore album. A deal doesn't seem too bad either!