6./7. MYKE BOGAN
FORMED: Started performing in 2012.
SOUNDS LIKE: Going one toke over the line and challenging your subconscious fears to a rap battle—and losing.
Myke Bogan's parents just don't understand.
"I feel like my mom keeps putting me on this time limit," he says "What a lot of people don't understand is you can do well in music and not be a superstar. I think my mom is waiting to see me on MTV."
If only Mrs. Bogan could've seen him last summer at PDX Pop Now. The 28-year-old rapper was the highlight of the weekend, delivering a set with more energy than anyone who claims to "smoke like a freight train" should be capable of. She might not have approved of the joint he sparked in celebration, though.
Only a few years after daring to spit his first rhymes in public, Bogan is doing pretty well for himself. He has more than 14,000 followers on social media. He's put out three mixtapes in as many years, plus an EP. He can go on tour and people actually come out, and rap every word of his odes to weed, women and beer back at him.
But he's got problems, too, and an impatient mother is only the beginning. Sift through the skunky haze that enshrouds his music like Pigpen's dust cloud, and you'll find a Tumblr's worth of late-20s angst hiding in his chilled beats and confident delivery.
"People have to understand, I've got two kids, and I don't get along with my babies' mom," he says. "Me and my parents don't always get along. Music is my diary, it's my journal, so sometimes it comes out."
Bogan grew up in Lancaster, Calif., but kept his artistic ambitions to himself until attending the University of South Dakota—the last place anyone might expect a rap career to take root. "There was nothing else to do but drink beer, work out and freestyle," he says. Hip-hop became an outlet for his feelings of loneliness and self-doubt, but the catharsis is hard won: It often sounds like Bogan, who moved to Portland after graduation, would be content just making music for his friends to get blunted to, but his conscience is constantly ripping the mic out of his hands, forcing him to confront his anxiety over raising a family and the pressure to prove himself in the rap game.
Live, though, Bogan's only concern is pure release. His philosophy is simple: Win the crowd first, worry about the consequences later.
Portland's Best New Band Poll Winners
SEE IT: Willamette Weekâs Best New Band Showcase, featuring Divers, The Domestics and MÃ¡scaras, is Friday, May 15, at Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi Ave. 9 pm. Free. 21 and up.