Album Review | miles cooke – i used to feel things

This album was released on October 14th last year. This is another debut album from an underground MC who seemingly came out of nowhere, much like the 2022 releases from KILLVONGARD, Malachi. Whitman, and ManDaMyth. The main reason I’m checking this one out is because it was released by Lt. Headtrip‘s label, WATKK. They’re the same label that brought us Teddy Faley‘s 2022 album, which I loved. I’m pretty much going into this album completely blind. The only thing that I know about miles cooke is that he’s from Brooklyn, and that he also produced this entire record. The project is only about 19 minutes long, so if it somehow ends up being wack I guess I won’t have to suffer for too long. I will actually be shocked if I end up thinking it’s bad though.

The album begins with a song called sway in the morning, which has a pretty great instrumental. miles has a really unique voice. He sounds a lot like Mr. Lif mixed with Aesop Rock to me. I also was reminded of Kill Bill. The song’s just over a minute long, so there’s only time for one verse, but it’s very enjoyable to me. I think miles is a really good lyricist. I was actually interested in everything he had to say.

You don't have the answers, Sway, and you don't know the half I've been in
Burned it when I walked away, so I don't have to ask forgiveness
Need to cease the preaching thinking God'll bring the wrath for sinners
Demons stalk the streets unflinching, morning they're right back to business
Angel on my left sits to witness, the devil on my right says "let's get it"
They both made a killing
Now deep amongst the fathomed trust, believing doesn't seem convincing
It's just some grief for the living

Again, the song is short as hell, so there’s not much to break down aside from the verse itself, but I really enjoyed it. The production is nice too. The song’s pretty good. Track 2 is called oprah.

The beat here kinda sounds like something MF DOOM would rhyme over, and I really dig miles’ flow here. Once again, there’s just one verse. There’s also kind of a refrain for the outro too though, so that’s cool. The verse itself is really nice.

I'm lounging, solitude doesn't seem so troubling
Drink if I gotta keep grief out the utterance
Double down on bias, plus brief in the subtleties
Hand over fist, break bread for the sustenance

The song is almost twice as long as the opening track, so it feels a bit more fulfilling. I like both tracks, but this one is definitely more enjoyable to me overall. I think it’s dope. It’s followed by game face, which probably has my favorite instrumental up to this point on the record. Once again, there’s just one verse here, and it only lasts about 53 seconds before the rest of the song is commandeered by a clip of what sounds like a movie or a TV show. I definitely like the song to some extent—the verse is pretty nice, and I really dig the beat—but it just feels really skeletal as a song. I think it’s good overall though. I fuck with it. Track 4 is called pep talk. The intro to this track made me laugh, and this song definitely has one of my favorite beats on the album. The chill, jazzy horn loop sounds great. Just like with all the other tracks on this album, there’s only one verse on this song. Thankfully he kinda let the beat ride out after he was done spitting though, so the song doesn’t feel incomplete or anything. The verse itself is very good too.

Another prolonged sleeper, season for self inflicted sickness
Predictably malicious with the business, and you don't want it either
It's fiction for all you non-believers, I bet it's bound to brilliance
Say the word, I'll keep it secret, humility the lost teacher

This is definitely my favorite song up to this point on the album. The production is great, and the verse is really nice. The song’s dope. Track 5 is entitled listen to what i’m saying, not what i say. There’s just one verse on this track, and it’s pretty nice. Same goes for the production. I liked the closing line about having a penny for your thoughts that don’t have to make sense. I definitely like this song, but, just like with a couple of the preceding tracks, it’s so short that it doesn’t feel like there’s much to grasp onto. I mean, the beat is good, and I enjoyed the verse, but it doesn’t make for the most captivating song. I still fuck with the track overall though. I think it’s pretty good. It’s followed by on the c, which I think is better. The production is really dreamy and pretty. The verse from miles is really nice too.

The only thing I had was laughter
Calling for the umpteenth time to a disconnected landline, hammered
Another round of drinks on Maslow
Awaken from the nightmare in style
Despair a waste of breath, life's sweeter in denial
Bliss for the sweet summer child
Peace riding tandem with violence
Speak using silence, heads in the sand multiplying

My favorite aspect of this song is honestly the piano solo on the outro. The piano is my favorite instrument, and it’s because of shit like this. It just sounds beautiful. It leads into the following track, strangers, really well. This track has a gorgeous piano-driven beat that I really love. It’s definitely one of my favorite instrumentals on the album. miles sounds great over it too. The verse is really nice.

I haven't been myself in years, and the corners of the room closing in
Cracked the amethyst, a blank slate curbside cigarette candidate
A graveyard shift with the amateurs, both arms reached across the precipice
Save face, hold fast, subtle with the recipe

Again, the straightforward song structure makes it so that there aren’t any curveballs thrown at the listener. I think it’s a really dope song. The following track is a highlight entitled dead prez doctrine. I love the production on this track. It’s really jazzy and comforting sounding. It makes me think of Christmas. I think this is one of the best songs on the album lyrically too.

Oh, the irony; a black cop
Steady bootlicking then run and stick you up for a bootleg
The uncle tom mascot
And all the green is on the other side
White lies screaming color blind
Locked in, caged bird singing for a locksmith
All out of options
We get out of pocket for a change, the lint to dollars
dead prez doctrine

I love the beat, and miles killed it. It’s a pretty straightforward song structurally, just like all the other tracks. Everything is so well done here that I can’t help but love it though. I think this shit is dope as hell. It’s followed by the title track, i used to feel things, which is even better in my opinion. Once again, the production is really warm and comforting sounding. I love this beat. I also think this track probably has miles’ best rap performance on the whole album. His flow was really nice.

I used to think I felt something
I used to think I failed the litmus test
All flaws forward for your interest
And dumb luck, I thought game would be enough
Brung to table conversations where the funds front
For now I’ll stay secluded in reluctance
Flash a smile for the unaware
Stumble through the evening under tungstens
The ideals that they judging by doesn’t fly
'Cause who needs the presumption?
Always criticize the ones that touch the summit
Done it, running, then running back just to watch the faces look disgusted
'Cause the blueprint gonna need a few adjustments

I really like everything about this track. The production is fire, and miles cooke killed it. The song’s dope as hell. The closing track is entitled ugatz, and it’s the longest track on the album.

It’s still just under 2 and a half minutes long though, so by conventional standards it’s pretty short. I really dig the jazzy, sample-based production here, and miles killed it. This is another one of the better verses on the album in my opinion.

I bring neuroses to any event
Monitor the exits closely, conversations missing consent
Donate the proceeds, a penny was spent
Believe it’s mostly wilted out the windows, who I need to convince?
Some smoke from the lips, whistle from the lungs, face down on cement
I locked eyes with my one and only and let the mirror make sense of laments
I didn’t have to pretend, another shot will lift my spirits slowly
Oh so kindly leave me with my dignity
Time keeps reminding me I’ll never see you again
Cocoa butter skin, whiskey on a whim, drink so I forget
Blindly follow where the limit ends

The outro where that guy talks about how “your life is a joke” didn’t really add much to the song for me, but I don’t really mind it at all. Overall, I think this track is really dope, and a pretty nice way to close the project.

This album is really, really good. I really like the production, and I think miles cooke is a very talented writer with a pretty nice flow. Some of the songs feel a little scant and like they could be fleshed out a bit more, but there aren’t any tracks that I didn’t enjoy to some extent. Even though some of them feel a little skeletal, I feel like that might be part of the album’s appeal for a lot of people. The one person I talked to about this project specifically said that he liked the brevity. Personally, I was able to enjoy this project despite the fact that there are zero hooks or bridges, and every song is just one verse. I’m really glad I checked this album out because I enjoyed it a lot, and I look forward to hearing what miles cooke does next. Give this project a listen and let me know what you think of it. I think it’s dope.

Favorite Song: i used to feel things
Least Favorite Song: game face


Grade: B

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