Mikey Dinero feels most alive when he’s behind the mic

Mikey Dinero is nearly complete with his debut project, Cyberstar. (By Olivier Lafontant/SFMN)

Micah Curry is a smooth driver. 

As the 22-year-old Miramar-born MC maneuvers through the streets of his hometown, he proves himself to be a riveting conversationalist. Anything from his sudden rediscovery of alternative band The 1975, to the grim personal life of Pablo Picasso, to his unbridled love of UFC Fight Nights is selected from his dense library of interests and excitedly verbalized to whomever’s there to listen.

Curry, also known as Mikey Dinero, is a tireless devotee of these interests. Rapping just happens to be at the top of a pretty sizable list. As Dinero guides his silver Nissan into the tranquil apartment complex of his sound engineer, Joel Nuñez, he’s in high spirits. The rollout for his debut project, Cyberstar, is pending, and with the help of Nuñez, some songs on the tracklist are getting final touches.

Dinero has fixated on blossoming into a rap star since his earliest days at Everglades High School. As Joey Bada$$ and Pro Era sparked a boom-bap resurgence in the early 2010s, Dinero spent his adolescence making connections with local artists who were just as inspired as he by the movement. By 2017, he was developing his skillset and performing his first few shows as a member of local rap group DTB. 

“With rap, I had my people in my circle when I first started,” he reflects. “These were like my teammates and these were the people I sparred with that made me sharper. I believe very much in aligning myself with people who are going to push me. And I think iron sharpens iron.”

Life was turbulent for Dinero after parting ways with DTB in 2019. The untimely death of his 21-year-old mentor and first-ever collaborator, Swank, shook him to his core. Born Stanley Desir, Swank was Dinero’s “rap sensei.” He provided a space to record music for the first time. His moniker (meaning “extremely cool or stylish”) was a representation of the Brooklyn-based counterculture they modeled themselves after. 

Dinero’s early singles like the vibey “Obsessed” set a precedent for his increasingly steady flow. His most recent drop “In2Deep!” is cold and heavy-handed. The rasp in his voice cuts deep as he finds a slick pocket over a piano loop, lyrically opening up about the pressure that comes with chasing lofty aspirations. Although he deviates from the traditional New York rap style he was inspired by, his rapping is riveting.

Inside a bedroom-turned-studio, Nuñez sits with Dinero’s close friend and collaborator, Ryan Young. Also known by his stage name, TH.BLEU, Young is a 23-year-old indie alternative soloist who shares Dinero’s goal of supporting himself through music. The atmosphere in the room is bright, inviting and compounded by weed smoke. Dinero and Young are mercurially giddy, throwing goofy Spongebob references and Joe Budden quotes back and forth.

On the surface, Mikey Dinero’s lively temperament makes him seem borderline carefree and unconcerned. But he obviously takes what he does seriously. He speaks of creating music as if it’s something both intrinsic and deeply sacred to him. It takes time for a creative breakthrough to materialize, but once it does he grabs it. 

“I try to stay consistent,” Dinero states, “so I like to go to the studio often.”

Dinero has been meticulously crafting his debut for over a year. Leaning heavily into sounds like rage and pluggnb has given him room to hone into new spaces that stretch him out of his comfort zone. He embraces the slow grind of the process. “Coupe,” (an unreleased track that fits under neither of those genres) very easily sounds like his hardest material yet. 

Through Cyberstar, not only is Dinero hitting a milestone of finally releasing his new work, but his childhood dream of living vicariously through a character will become reality. When his father was deployed far away for military service at the beginning of his life, young Mikey inherited a love of comics through stuff his dad sent from a distance. 

As a kid, he would write short stories and poems inspired by the universe his dad opened to him. He now looks to bring a new persona to the light, complete with lore and ambiance surrounding a figure who has turned his own life into a spectacle. Cyberstar.

“I feel like everything I’ve made up until this point has led me here,” Mikey Dinero says. “I’ve kinda always been on this track and now I see it. I’m just tryna flesh it out at this point and see where it goes, man, have fun with this shit.”

Olivier Lafontant is an aspiring music journalist who is pursuing a Bachelor's degree in digital journalism at Florida International University. He enjoys thrifting, collecting vinyl, taking film photography and watching sports in his free time.