C.E.O. Business – Livin’ Life
Based out of the Little Rock, Arkansas area, the Natural State seems like an unlikely backdrop for the emergence of a major new talent on the hip hop scene. C.E.O. Business, the stage name for Mike Davis Jr., puts that idea to rest in convincing fashion with the release of his single “Livin’ Life” and it feels like the culmination for a dream he’s been actively pursuing since the summer of 2011. In reality, however, this wildly successful single is just another important step towards Davis’s professed goal of matching the talents and influence of his heroes like Jay Z, Michael Jackson, and Dr. Dre in building an impressive music catalog that sprawls into a full blown media empire or fiefdom all his own. This single proves he is well on the way towards that goal and it will leave close listeners relatively breathless to take in his immense talent level at such a young age. No matter though – “Livin’ Life” will grip those already familiar with this performer and win over countless new fans based on the persuasiveness of both its message and performance.
“Livin’ Life” has it all – a memorable vocal performance, a great arrangement, and above average lyrical content. Davis is clearly a performer and artist alike, not merely just one, and his unique vision for the genre has a fluency that seasoned performers often struggle to sustain. The song has a great build and establishes a satisfying groove early on – despite the fact that Davis is delivering a lyric about far more than just bling and babes, he never forgets that the audience wants entertained as well as informed and never errs too much on any one side. The balance of this approach is another feature of his talent that seems surprisingly well developed in such a young artist. Even the running time, nearly five minutes, illustrates the high level of confidence he brings to this performance and his relaxed method of winding through the lyric is note perfect.
The most striking musical features of the song are the pulsing bottom end he wisely anchors everything around and how cleanly he brings together individual synthesizer strands of varying color into one coherent composition. It isn’t a talent that all of his contemporaries share. The compelling tempo of the song keeps your attention throughout and definitely has strong physicality. “Livin’ Life” has such a naturalness of sound that it’s not difficult to imagine Davis entered the studio with this song fully formed in his mind and that the process producing the song involved merely transcribing the sound in his head onto a recording. It’s a performance that never sounds uncertain of itself. C.E.O. Business owns the song from his first entrance into the track while still working to make himself part of an overall package that hits attentive listeners like a gut punch. He’s a bright burning star in the hip hop sky and his reach will only increase with each new release.