“I thought this was what I wanted. I know that I need it now.”
That powerful statement from the introductory track of Pennsylvania-bred rapper Voss’ debut album Insatiable isn’t just his lyrics…it’s his mantra. Through high school and college, the young artist tirelessly recorded and played as many shows as possible, a majority of which he put together and promoted himself, perfecting the craft he fell in love with. Fast forward to 2012, when Voss was let go from his mind-numbing office job right the middle of his nationally televised two-month run winning a rap competition on BET. Voss knew then that it was fate guiding him toward the hip-hop greatness he needed and deserved.
In the four years since, Voss’ work ethic has already seen him declared “prolific,” having released four EPs of intricately woven complex rhymes with multifaceted deliveries (including the Has-Lo produced Down the Bully EP and his highly personal three-volume The Book of Michael series), capping it off with his musical milestone of a debut album Insatiable, released in April 2016 through Monster Ent./Empire Distribution.
Michael Voss was raised in Levittown, PA, a lower-middle class suburb just outside of Philadelphia. His parents, a truck driver and school nurse, overcame immense obstacles in their life before raising a family, from his father surviving the Viet Nam War, to his mother running away to California (where she later met his father) at the age of 17. Voss’ older (and only) brother, Chris, was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, a “social disorder” on the Autism spectrum, which caused young Michael to form a unique bond with his brother, helping him manage his issues with socializing during their adolescence.
The product of a household that instilled family love and loyalty, Voss discovered hip-hop at a young age after a used copy of Big Daddy Kane’s “Raw” fell into his hands at a record store. This led to Voss’ passion for rhyming surfacing in the form of putting his own lyrics on other rappers’ songs and freestyling for laughs at school. When his classmates began telling him the superb quality of his rhymes was no laughing matter, the underage Voss started performing at every open mic he could find, usually having to leave after his set due to his age. But word-of-mouth about the young upstart who was turning heads so fast bouncers were failing to check his ID spread throughout the greater Philly area. Once he started appearing on BET in 2012 and 2013, he quickly became an in-demand live performer, repeatedly winning over some of the toughest crowds on the east coast to the point where his headlining shows regularly sell out today.
Additionally, Voss has performed live with all corners of the hip-hop map including Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Pusha T, Run the Jewels, Wale, Ab-Soul, Ghostface Killah, Raekwon, Talib Kweli, Mac Miller, Action Bronson, Cam’ron and Freddie Gibbs. His version of the hit song “Panda” was featured on XXL’s website and has received well over one million views online. Voss is also credited with essentially building the West Chester, PA hip-hop scene himself through the various shows and monthly “hip-hop nights” he hosted there featuring ciphers and rap battles, all while earning his English Literature / Creative Writing degree at West Chester University.
While Voss’ openness in his lyrics has made him a relatable voice to his listeners, his music isn’t marred by the limitations so often heard with typical “every-man” rappers. On Insatiable, Voss maintains his dedication to quality lyricism, balancing that sharp pen game with the catchy, powerful hook-crafting that comes with pop songwriting. By combining a conversational flow with a confident voice, Voss has the ability to engage a wide range of subject matter in a way that’s both true to hip-hop’s foundation and fits in any playlist of today’s biggest hits. Refusing to pen “filler” songs, Voss knows his words are too important to waste.
With Insatiable taking three years to write and record, Voss’ consistent output in that time shows both his work ethic and range, releasing numerous projects, singles, and freestyle tracks, none lacking in quality. From straightforward, smooth, syllable-stacking to more personal, intimate subject matter, Voss is a one-man hip-hop all-star team ready for the championship game. Whether it’s a listener’s first time hearing Voss’ music or a diehard fan’s hundredth, the careful construction of every line, meticulously layered storytelling, and pure sonic variety always reveals something brand new. Through rewarding repeat listens, Voss’ gift of gab just keeps on giving. As Voss himself says:
“I’m just here to tell the story before somebody tells it for me.”