Mac Lethal – 11:11 - 5/5
“Sittin on the roof of the factory high, there’s a blood orange moon and a strawberry sky,
To come home soon is the wish and wonder, and I’m calmed by the boom of the distant thunder.”
Believe it or not, poetry is not what I think of when I think of rap. The two are linked, but when I think of rap, I think of lyrics, not poetry. In addition, of few bands whom I consider poetic, none were a part of the genre of hip-hop.
Okay, that’s over dramatic, but still, the past few weeks, this hip-hop artist from ‘Kansas city muthafuck-face’ has not only been at the top of my playlist, he has dominated, and in my mind there is no more deserving artist in recent discovery. Mac Lethal is a curious specimen in rap. He’s white, which is no longer an oddity, but still definitely in the minority, he’s incredibly technically skilled, yet maintains something that can only be described as pop sensibility. The beats that accompany him are energetic, song-suited, and original, yet relatively simple and irresistibly catchy. In Sheldon’s (Mac’s birth name) own words, “I write weird songs that got hooks like Journey.” Said hooks are a combination of Rhyme Sayers’ beats and Mac’s lyricism, a combination of Slug’s emotional probing and Eyedea’s lightning tongue, and their combined sense of fun.
The album as a whole has good flow, but doesn’t really feel unified. This is most likely caused by the fact it was recorded once, and then about half the songs were taken out due to circumstances that Mac felt made the songs too dark and self-destructive. Also, most of the strongest songs sit directly in the middle of the album, giving both the beginning and the ending a weaker feeling. Don’t misunderstand, there isn’t a bad song on here, but there are certainly songs that are better then others. Songs that aimed at different audiences, but will hit every mark. Songs aimed at the radio, namely Make out Bandit and Pound That, and songs aimed at the underground, like Calm Down and Jihad! are prime candidates. More importantly, the rest are still freaking good. Make out Bandit gets old eventually, and Calm Down is as much an introduction as it is a song. On the other hand, the flow on Pound That will impress even the most experienced listener, and the humor of Jihad! has gotten actual laughs from my soulless ass, proof of its quality.
The point is, if you’re a fan of hip-hop, I can’t see a reason you wouldn’t like this, and this is probably a great gateway album to the genre. Check it out.