Mike Stud has one of the more unique journeys in hip-hop. After being named the Gatorade High School Baseball Player of the Year in Rhode Island in 2006, he was offered an athletic scholarship to play baseball at Duke University. Following a stellar All-American Freshman year, he underwent Tommy John surgery in order to repair elbow ligaments, which resulted in a nearly year-and-a-half-long rehabilitation process. It was during that time that Stud took up rapping. In 2010, he released a music video titled “College Humor
,” which went viral, with over a million views on YouTube. He followed that song up with several other viral videos, including a remix to Justin Bieber's "Boyfriend," and his first mixtape A Toast To Tommy
, released in October 2011 as an ode to the surgery which curtailed his baseball career.
Since then, Mike has been hard at work, releasing three projects, going on nationwide tours and consistently growing his fan base. His debut album, Relief
, topped the iTunes Hip-Hop chart on its release in 2013, while his his most recent effort, Closer,
came in at both No. 1 and No. 10 (explicit and clean) on the same tally last week, and at No. 1 on the store's overall chart. XXL
caught up with Mike to speak with him about his journey to hip-hop, how he feels about his critics and being pigeonholed as another white, collegiate frat rapper. —Marvin Jules