Highly Suspect are a Grammy-nominated American rock band that have always kept it real with fans, bringing them a legion of admirers. Led by vocalist Johnny Stevens, the band has just released their third album, MCID, a follow-up to 2016's The Boy Who Died Wolf. It's a left turn for the band who in the past have been known for their alternative rock sound, with the band branching out into other genres in a way many bands are afraid to do.
Leading up to the record, Highly Suspect released their single, Tokyo Ghoul, featuring Young Thug and Stevens' hip hop alter-ego, Terrible Johnny. Speaking to Billboard, it's evident that hip hop is something close to the band's (and Stevens') heart. "I didn’t want to half-ass it, so it’s not like a rock band that plays hip-hop beats on Ableton. We did it the correct way and produced our own beats and made real hip-hop songs. I don’t want to get that corny sounding shit. The hip-hop in the song is full blast and I’m stoked that the world is finally going to know that this is something we’ve been wanting to do in the public eye and never got to do." It comes through on the track, too, with 'Terrible Johnny' more than holding his own alongside Thugger.
The single comes off the band's latest album, which dropped at the start of November. It features their other singles, 16 and Upperdrugs, as well as collaborations wth Gojira, Nothing But Thieves and Tee Grizzley to go alongside the Young Thug feature. The band set out to work with a large range of artists on the album, and told Louder that collaborations are something the band's always wanted to do.
"Everything we do is a conscious decision. We really enjoy the process of making art and so for the first time, we decided that we wanted to team up with other true artists. With the exception of the hip-hop and the pop world, you don't see too many collaborations these days. There was a time in rock history however – the 60s to 80s – where people teamed up all the time and made really incredible and different shit that could only come from the love of art itself. When one chemical or element is mixed with another, you get a third. Red and blue make purple. Could you imagine life without purple? We wanted to give you some purple."
MCID shows a new side of the band - one that expands far beyond rock music, and positions themselves as artists in the truest sense of the word. While they are definitely the main focus of the album, there's no doubt there's a sense of curation with the album's features, and it'll be exciting to see where their sound goes next.