About Michael Lanza and Chow Mane
The sweet-singing pop artist and the fire-spitting rapper: for decades, that’s been a winning combination. It’s the musical equivalent of a buddy movie, a marriage of styles, a perfect balance between the gritty and the glamorous. When the singer has an affinity for hip-hop, and the rapper understands pop presentation, that makes hybrid tracks particularly rewarding. Michael Lanza is a singer with the precision, unerring sense of rhythm, and easygoing swagger of an emcee. Even though he’s best known for his future bass and house music collaboration with KEPIK, his opening slot for Major Lazer, and recognition by The Chainsmokers, his artistic adjacency to hip-hop is immediately apparent. “Lion,” the #23 Billboard Dance chart hit he cut with GhostDragon and Ron Reeser, was pitched for the clubs, but it had the soul of a rap-influenced R&B banger.
On “Islands,” he takes it one step further. He applies his voice to the song’s soaring choruses, but he turns the verses over to rapper Chow Mane, the Bay Area rhymer whose music has always found the middle ground between party-ready rap and offbeat, leftfield pop. The new single continues the gruff-voiced rapper’s recent hot streak: “Go Back to China,” his recent collaborative single with fellow emcee Jason Chu, made waves with its witty, outspoken verses, written to dispel anti-Asian racism. Chow Mane’s rhymes on “Islands” aren’t quite so incendiary, but they’re every bit as personal, emotional, and revealing. Here’s a rapper who has never been afraid to get confessional in the name of artistic expression – one who rhymes, unashamedly, straight from the heart.