Meet Mike Dimes, Texas’ Rising Star

After the viral success of “My Story” and an excellent album ‘In Dimes We Trust,’ Texas rapper Mike Dimes has emerged as one of rap’s most promising new stars.

Mike Dimes photo by Jalin "Hype" Morgan

Photo by Jalin "Hype" Morgan (@donthypeme)

Mike Dimes photo by Jalin "Hype" Morgan

Mike Dimes should be on everyone’s radar. The Texas rapper rose to prominence in 2021 with the viral success of “My Story” on TikTok. Shortly after, he kept the momentum going by putting out his debut project DLOG, followed by his excellent new album In Dimes We Trust, which was released in March 2022. At this point, it’s safe to say he’s one of rap’s most promising new stars.

In Dimes We Trust is a gritty 12-track project, guided by a youthful spirit of arrogance. Throughout the project, Dimes shows his strong ear for production, selecting hypnotic, multi-dimensional beats, and pairing them with his naturally addictive flows. At its best, songs like “Religion,” “Where the Party At?” and “Home” deliver the high-energy vibes that Dimes’ young fans come to him for. It’s a party record.

“A lot of my fans were like frat party kids, college kids, and high school kids that love to party,” he tells Complex. “I wanted to bring the old school vibe, like you could turn up to music that’s not talking about violence all the time. You could just turn up to good music.” 

Though he happily shouts out some of his influences, like ASAP Rocky and Joey Badass, Mike Dimes says he’s carving out his own lane, thanks in large part to his unique personal background. The 21-year-old artist was a military kid who moved around a lot as a child, experiencing the life and culture of states all around the country. As his music career takes off, he’s also currently enrolled in college as a business management major. 

Looking back on his come-up, Dimes says all these experiences have played a big role in his outlook and how he approaches music. “I’m a military child and I tell my story from another perspective,” he points out. “I’ve been in a lot of different places and I tell a story from different perspectives.”

Complex spoke with Mike Dimes about In Dimes We Trust, balancing a rap career with college, and more. The interview, lightly edited for clarity, is below. 

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How did you first get into rapping?

Well, I got into poetry first. I was a big Tupac fan in middle school and elementary school. In sixth grade, I started writing poems, and then the following years, I discovered ASAP Rocky, and that’s when I started making it into little raps. When I got to ninth grade, I started watching Joey Badass, and I was like, “OK, I could really do this.” That’s when I started making actual music.

Who were some of your other musical influences, besides Rocky and Joey? 

50 Cent, André 3000, Outkast as a whole. Erykah Badu, Jill Scott. There were a lot of them.

When did you realize you could make a career out of rapping? 

I used to freestyle around my school during lunch. Sometimes we’d skip class and go get some food and then there’d be cool workers there who would be like, “Freestyle battle. If you win, you get free food.” We’d be doing a whole bunch of that and then people would be like, “Oh, you’re actually good. You should take this seriously.” But I never really responded in a way that I was going to. I knew I wanted to, but I never let it be known. And then towards my senior year, I dropped my first song and it was like, “OK, yeah, you’ve got to actually take it seriously.”

I heard you were a military kid growing up. How did that experience influence your outlook and approach to music? 

That’s true. I was born in central Texas, but I lived in the Killeen area for a long time. Then I moved to Colorado, moved back to Killeen, moved to Oklahoma, and moved back. Later, I moved to South Carolina, where I was for three years, before moving to San Antonio in tenth grade. It made me more diverse and versatile, because my mom is from Georgia and my dad is from Virginia, and I used to always go to these different places around the US. I’ve seen how different states made music and their style, so it helped me with storytelling and different styles I could switch onto, and different beats I could rap on.

“I never gave in. I never wanted to blend in with the crowd. My cockiness is really just confidence in me being myself. I never wanted to be one with the party. I wanted to be the party.”

So do you rep San Antonio? 

I claim Texas. I claim San Antonio due to the fact that this is where I really started at. So, of course I claim San Antonio, but I’m not really from here. I claim Texas as a whole because I’m more from Texas as a whole than I am from San Antonio. But this is where my group got solidified at. This is where I started my career. That’s why I really just push San Antonio.

How would you describe your sound to a stranger? 

I mean, not to sound very egotistical with it, but I feel like I’m very different. I make my own type of music. There are similarities, and you could see influences of other rappers, but when you pay attention to the core, it’s really just me, because you’ll hear a song like “Home” and then you’ll hear a song like “Snow White” on my project, and it’s very all over the place. That’s how I am anyway. So it’s very distinct.

Could you describe what makes you different from other artists? 

Because I’m a military child and I tell my story from another perspective. People believe that every artist is either a druggie or into violence. But my family has always been financially OK. And on top of that, I tell a true story. I don’t like to put facades on it. And again, I’m a military child, so I’ve been in a lot of different places and I tell a story from different perspectives.

Mike Dimes photo by Jalin "Hype" Morgan

You’ve been referred to as a TikTok rapper. What are your thoughts on that title? 

I mean, it’s whatever, because I feel like this is the same thing that happened with SoundCloud. In my opinion, it’s a social media app that you’re meant to project yourself on, show what you do. If I post my music on Instagram that’s the case where I’ll be called an Instagram rapper, but nobody says that. So, it’s just another avenue you grow off of. That’s how I look at it. TikTok rapper, people can say that, but it gets my bills paid.

You’re currently in college right? 

Yes, ma’am.

What are you studying? How have your studies affected your rap career? 

I was studying architecture when I first got in college, but when my music started blowing more, I didn’t have time to dive thoroughly into architecture. So I switched it to business management so it could help with my music career and I could understand the business side of everything. When I first started, when everything blew up, I was still working my job as well. So I was working my job, in college, and making music. So now, it’s not really anything. It’s not in my way at all. I know how to manage two things at once because I was managing three before.

What was your timeline for creating In Dimes We Trust?

It was being made since “My Story” blew up. After “My Story” blew up on TikTok, I re-released my first project and then started working. I just make a lot of music. I like making music. You’ll catch me stressing about making a little song. The next day after I dropped the project, I started working on another. Every song I make, I think about what I can do next. So really, the process started in April of last year. In April or May, we were just making a whole bunch of songs. We made so many, we had to narrow it down to 12.

What was your main goal going into the creation of this project? 

DLOG was the very first [project], and I was explaining my whole upcoming story. And for this project, I wanted to dive more in-depth in my confidence of how stuff is going. On In Dimes We Trust, you trust in me. There’s more arrogance in this. It has an “I’m making it” type of vibe to it. It’s about my life as a college student. That’s why a lot of the songs are more energetic and I want people to have a good time to it, because I’m a college student. So I was trying to make it a happy, entertaining album.

There are lots of upbeat records on this project, like “Where the Party At?” and “Religion.” What audience were you targeting with these types of songs? 

A lot of my fans were like frat party kids, college kids, and high school kids that love to party. Most people turned up to a lot of violent music, so I wanted to bring the old school vibe—like, you could turn up to music that’s not talking about violence all the time. You could just turn up to good music.

Have you been able to test out some of those songs on your own college scene? 

I mean, I haven’t done a college show, but on my own little Texas tour, a lot of people come out, and they’re loving it. They’re actually having a great time. Some people say it’s their favorite show.

“I like fishing. I like skateboarding. I don’t got a belly button.”

What is your recording process like?

I’m a writer, so I’ve actually got to sit down in a closed area. I could write in front of people, but to get to where I want, I’ve got to move over to the side and be like, OK, this is what I want to say. I write because it helps me structure [the songs].

What is your favorite song from the album? 

My favorite is “Snow White,” because there’s a background part, too, that people will never probably guess.

You have a great ear for beats. How do you go about selecting the right beat? 

It’s a hard process. It’s very hard. My whole team knows that with every beat, I usually be like, “Nah, I don’t like it. I don’t want to rap on that. I don’t like that beat.” I do that a lot. To the point where people think I’m probably jaded. But I know exactly what I want. And if I don’t hear it, I’m not going to just adjust myself. I’m going to find something that complements me.

Do you have any experience making beats of your own? 

Nah. I’ve been trying, but I don’t think I’ve got enough patience to sit there and actually try. I could sit in the room with producers, and I know what I want with the hi-hats, or that I want the center right here. But I don’t know how to actually go in there by myself and manually put it in.

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There are few features on this project. Was that intentional? 

I wanted to showcase myself because it’s so early in my career. I didn’t want my success to be placed in somebody else’s hands so early in my life. I want people to gravitate towards my sound for me, not for the feature. Other than that, we liked the songs as they were. And we didn’t reach too far for something that couldn’t reach our level. 

Who’s on your bucket list, when it comes to features? 

I want to work with a lot of people. I want to work with a lot of female singers. I know my music is very left from that field, but I have a lot of songs I’m working on. I want Dua Lipa or Rihanna. And of course, ASAP Rocky and Joey Badass. But I want to work with some female singers, because I like to experience new things. 

Are there any artists who’ve shown you support that surprised you? 

A couple months ago, Waka Flocka hit me up and was like, “You’re going crazy.” I was thrown by it. Other than that, G-Eazy been showing love. I don’t know. I think I’m very behind the scenes. I don’t think a lot of people know about me yet.

What did you learn about yourself while creating In Dimes We Trust?

It’s taught me that the best music comes whenever you’re being very free and open. When you’re not stressing about it, it comes natural. The whole project came so naturally. “Backroom” was made in 10 minutes in my manager’s living room. “No Trends” was made in 20 minutes in my bedroom at my house. It also taught me to be like, “It’s OK to just lay back and relax and it’ll come to you.” The whole project naturally came as a whole masterpiece.

What was the most memorable moment from creating the album? 

So, three of the songs were recorded in my house, in my bedroom. But other than that, the track “Luv,” that was my first time being in the room with the producer, making the beat. It was some of my team, and then we had two producers pull up. Then they played a part of this beat they made, and I said, “Delete everything besides this one sound.” Then it was flipped. I just said, “Keep flipping it. I want to hear guitars.” And then we just knocked out the song. That was my first time ever sitting down in the room with a producer and making a track. I like that experience.

Who are your top five rappers out right now? 

The arrogance in me wants to say Mike Dimes for all five.

What is your biggest goal for the future? 

My goal is to be very happy with my work. Happy with everything, fall in love more with my work, fall in love with my team more. Just be happy and love everything that I do. And grow in all my music and become more comfortable every single day with the stuff I put out. Other than that, [I want to] be very successful and be the greatest. My definition of the greatest is being the highest that I believe I could reach.

Your confidence comes across in your music, but were there ever moments when you second-guessed yourself? 

No. The thing is, I just move on quickly, to the point where it’s an issue. We put the project down, the next day I called my manager saying, “Man, I can’t find any beats.” I was confident in the work because it’s all me. So I know my fans are already going to gravitate to it, because they gravitated towards my first song. So that’s never been the issue with that, but I just move on so quickly to the point where I always forget that I just achieved the goal of a milestone.

What’s something that people may not know about you? 

I like fishing. I like skateboarding. I don’t got a belly button.

You don’t have a belly button?

Yeah, they cut my belly button off when I was 4 years old.

It’s OK not to have one, though, right? Or does it affect your daily life? 

I mean, I’d be asking everybody belly button questions. But I never had one, so I really don’t know anything about it. Other than that, I like fishing. Me and my friends, we be fishing, skateboarding. We don’t like clubs. We like going to the arcade. You would catch us in the arcade—put $100 in the car just to walk out with a little fidget toy or a ping pong or something. 

What’s the most important thing people should know about you right now? 

The most important thing is that I’m myself. I never gave in. I never wanted to blend in with the crowd. My cockiness is really just confidence in me being myself. I never wanted to be one with the party. I wanted to be the party.

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