Most hip-hop stars don't get their start playing college baseball, but Mike Stud is one MC who used his downtime from the diamond to hone his rhyming and rapping skills. On 2013's Relief, he balanced raunchy, party-friendly songs with more reflective ones, a style that soon led to chart-topping success with the following year's Closer. He continued to expand his style on albums such as 2018's 4THEHOMIES, his final full-length before changing his name to mike.
Michael Francis Seander, Jr. was born on October 30, 1988 in Providence, Rhode Island. A talented athlete, Seander lettered in baseball and basketball in high school, and when he graduated from St. Raphael Academy in Pawtucket, he was named Rhode Island's 2006 Gatorade Player of the Year, and received a Louisville Slugger scholarship to attend Duke University. An outstanding pitcher, in his freshman year Seander set a record for the lowest ERA in the history of Duke's baseball program, an impressive 1.61. However, after his second year at Duke, he suffered an arm injury that required surgery, and as he recuperated, he began writing rap lyrics to keep himself occupied. Seander wrote a rap song, "College Humor," about hard partying and his raunchy exploits with women, and recorded a rough version for his friends and teammates using GarageBand. The song went over well enough that in 2010 Seander produced a video for the song and distributed it under the name Mike Stud; "College Humor" racked up millions of views on YouTube, and Stud's follow-up, "In This Life," featuring a guest appearance by Loggy, fared even better. In October 2011, Stud's first mixtape, A Toast to Tommy, rose to the number two spot on the American iTunes Hip-Hop charts, and his first proper album, Relief, which found him introducing more serious themes along with his bro-centric party dude material, appeared in the spring of 2013. Stud made his major-label debut the following year with Closer, which was released by the Atlantic-distributed 300 Entertainment imprint. Released in July 2014, the album topped the Billboard 200 Albums chart, and hit number two on the R&B/Hip-Hop chart. In 2015, Stud followed up Closer with an eight-song EP that featured new material as well as remixes of earlier tracks; it was fittingly titled This Isn't the Album. The album in question arrived in January 2016; These Days included a guest appearance by Marcus Stroman of the Toronto Blue Jays on the title track and reached number five on the Billboard 200. Five months later, the Esquire Network debuted the reality series This Is Mike Stud, which followed the rapper at home and on the road as he worked to take his career to the next level.
In 2017, Stud joined Bea Miller on her track "To the Grave." He issued a steady stream of singles into 2018, including "Talk Less," "Honolulu," and "Get Out." That November, he released his fourth album 4THEHOMIES, which featured collaborations with Vory and Goody Grace. After completing his tour for the album, he changed his stage name to mike. ~ Mark Deming