Mic Manik, the man behind one of Country Rap’s greatest collabs, "Redneck Remix”, is one of the better known names of Country Rap. He’s brought us some great songs like “Unkle Budd”, “Breaking My Back”, and “Stuck In My Ways”. Country living, and the music that comes from it, is just a way of life for him.
Though Mic was raised on the Red River in Texas, Mic was actually born in Oklahoma. His father worked on the pipelines that lay across the United States. Pipeliners travel where they are needed for work. During the time of Mic’s birth, his father’s job had their family located in Northwestern Oklahoma. His mom told him that it was the worst recorded snowstorm in Oklahoma history. It snowed in feet, not inches.
Growing up, his family attended church wherever they were. His love of music grew from that. He sang in the Church choir as a small child. That continued throughout the years. Singing was where it began, but his style evolved as he grew. Hearing rappers hitting mainstream inspired Mic to lay down his own bars. His first song was recorded on a dual tape deck around 17 years old. Fast forward until now and Mic has been rapping for over 20 years.
He truly began rapping because he enjoyed the style, but felt like no one was rapping about what was relevant to him. He wanted to tell his perspective through his music. He grew up in a country environment with an outlaw father, who he loved, and a grandmother who would tell him to “Fix Ya Face” when he was crying after getting scolded. There were so many stories for Mic to tell.
Before making music professionally, Mic followed his father’s footsteps and started work on the pipeline. He worked hard to provide for his family. It also gave him the ability to afford pursuing his dream. It has taken him all over the U.S.A. The work may have led him to many places, but the pipelines always led him back to his home in Texas, and that muddy water of the Red River.
“Muddy Water'' was actually the name of his first country rap album. Released in 2016, the whole album, including the title track, was a metaphor for his feelings on country rap. When you live near an old, muddy river, you quickly learn that muddy water can look shallow, but it’s often much deeper than it looks. Country rap may seem all about muddin’ and trucks, but there is so much more underneath the surface. Mic Manik wanted to prove that. He wanted to make music that people heard and the lyrics made them stop and think.
With the help of the multi-talented David Ray, and well known music producer, Jon Conner, who Mic had heard about from a shout-out in a song, Mic put out some of the greatest thinking music in country rap. Mic continues to work with them and considers them good friends.
“Bumps in the Road” and “Sunshine After the Rain” from the album, “Muddy Water”, are songs that Mic knew wouldn’t be songs that people jammed at field parties or mud parks. They were songs that people could play on their way to work, when things looked dark. They are songs that would remind people that hard work and faith in God would see them through the storms of life.
Mic’s father passed away in 2018 (Rest in Peace, Outlaw). It was rough on Mic. He slowed down the process of making his album and took time to grieve. As the next year went by, Mic started to work on his album again and planned a tour in places around the world.
Mic continued working on the pipelines through all of this. After all, Mic had daughters and a son to provide for. Mic loves his children and is very family oriented. He had a great bond with his children, including his son Landon.
In January 2019, Mic lost Landon to suicide. My heart breaks to even write that. Rest easy, young man.
Mic was away for work when he got the call. It rocked his world. That day, his life changed forever. It left scars on Mic’s heart that will remain with him.
When he had his son, Landon, he knew that he had a chance to right any wrongs that had been done in the cycle of his life. Landon was a main supporter of his father’s music. He and Landon were very close. Best friends.
Mic recalled that Landon was really encouraging toward the music. After Mic began getting views on YouTube, Landon asked him how it all began to pick up. Mic had told him that it was by the grace of God and hard work. He told Landon that he wouldn’t stop working until he made it to the radio. Landon told him that he believed in him and he knew it would happen.
Landon was described as the kind of guy that always wanted to see people smile. He would always clown around to make people laugh when they were having a bad day. No one suspected that Landon was facing his own storms that he couldn’t see past. It left Mic, his family, and Landon’s friends with so many questions.
As I write this, I think back to my own family. My cousin, close enough to be my brother, lost his fight with depression. Losing someone to suicide is one of the hardest things a person can experience. When someone dies from sickness, age, or even a car accident, it hurts badly, but you have answers as to why. When someone you love loses a battle to the thief, depression, you are left with unanswered questions. I understand Mic because I have experienced it.
From the moment of birth, men are told that they are meant to be strong. Mic mentioned that boys are told to “walk it off” when hurt, instead of crying about it. They aren’t supposed to show emotions. If they do, they get called names like “sissy” or “wimp”. This imposes a serious issue with men trying to find help to deal with things like depression and anxiety. Statistically, men commit suicide ~3.5 times more than females do in the western world. Even in country rap, many well known names are just now feeling comfortable speaking up about dealing with depression or anxiety to fans.
After losing Landon, Mic found himself trying to pour himself into his work. He needed to be strong for his family. He tried to continue performing shows that he had promised, but it became harder and harder. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder made it hard to write.
Soon, he removed himself from music. He canceled a tour that was set to have shows in New Zealand, Australia, and Europe. The tour would have made him the first independent country rapper to perform in so many locations globally. People feared that Mic would no longer play music. Instead, Mic kept telling everyone that he would be back, but he needed to get his mind right.
Deep down, Mic knew that he would have to come back to music, because he had made promises to Landon that he would never stop. He got to the point that he felt like he was letting Landon down by not pursuing his music. That became the drive to continue working on his upcoming album “Fireproof”.
Friends like City Chief, Hitman, and David Ray, also supported him. He said they all three showed him what it was to have true friends in the music business. For those who may not know, City Chief and Mic Manik run a label together called “Manik Life Entertainment”. Hitman is an artist associated with Manik Life and David has helped produce some of Mic’s greatest works. The bonds they made through music proved to be greater than just a business relationship.
David Ray stayed in Mic’s ear with encouragement and pushed him forward. When the time came, Mic reached out to David Ray to work on Mic’s most thought provoking song.
Mic knew that he wanted to create a song to honor his son and to give hope to those who may be feeling similar things that his son had. He wanted them to know they weren’t alone. It was also his way to tell the story of how a person feels after losing someone they loved to suicide. He told David, when “Save Me” by Jelly Roll was released, that he wanted to make a song like that. He wanted to sing his story. The song “Scars” formed from there.
They sat down and figured out the guitar riffs while David played and Mic sang. In no time, the song was finished. All the words that Mic needed to say just poured out.
It came together so quickly, Mic remembered David saying that it was like Mic’s son was there pushing them. When the song was finished, it was as if Mic could feel his presence.
Mic went on to say, “It was like, ‘That’s it dad. This song is going to touch some people,’”.
From fruition to completing the music video, it took a total of 3 to 4 days. It is a touching song that speaks deep about what it is like to feel broken after losing a loved one like that. Mic and I both agreed, it changes you forever. No one can expect you to be the same again. It leaves wounds that may scar over, but they will never go away.
He hopes it reaches those that truly need to hear the message behind the words. He wants to honor his son’s memory by making sure others do not follow in the same path.
Just from hearing “Scars”, a fan can almost guess that Mic’s whole upcoming album, “Fireproof'', will touch hearts. Please be ready, because it is coming.
Mic stressed the importance of this article. He wanted the fans to know that it should be a call to unite everyone for the sake of future generations who may need our help. Mental Health Awareness is an issue that we all need to take with a head on approach and not be afraid to discuss openly. People should be able to talk with others without fear of being belittled. This article is our way of starting hard conversations that leads to saving lives.
So, for anyone out there reading this article, if someone reaches out to you, listen. Do whatever it takes to make the person feel comfortable and loved. Help them find solutions without making them feel crazy. Be open to them. It may save someone you love.
Also, if you are reading this and you are dealing with depression, know that you aren’t alone. No matter how rough it seems right now, suicide is never the answer. Storms are only temporary, but that is permanent. The scars that it leaves on family and friends are something that never goes away.
If you are hurting, reach out to someone. Anyone. Reach to God. Reach out to me, or Mic. Your best friend. Your middle school gym teacher. The little old lady that you see go to church every weekend. Reach out to the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255. Play music that pulls you forward like “Scars”. Write out your feelings or take a walk. Do anything, but please, DO NOT give in to the lying thief known as depression/anxiety.