Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound Engineering by Patrick Stolley
Mac Lethal lives. It's a stand alone statement that is not meant to be a cunning ploy to introduce any resurrection stories or analogies to have them apply to the Kansas City rapper with bigger, more opinionated balls than any other MC working. Mac Lethal lives, the line, is an attempt to distinguish how he processes and writes from the way that most do. Living is tantamount for the hooligan-shaped, balding (he believes this is happening because those are the spots where the devil horns will be poking through the surface any time now) little brainiac hellbent on being as brutally honest about every single flinging, half-cocked thought that goes galloping through his melon - flattering or not.
These aren't macho, mojo-fueled rants about bitches and monies - allegiance to drugs and a degenerative world where the more one can falsely brag about their purported exploits with easy women and abusive day-to-day loutishness, the more they can work record executives into a lather and fill nightclubs in Miami and Atlanta or pick-your-spot-wherever. Mac Lethal doesn't find himself where the money is at and there's absolutely no glory-seeking, no mythologizing of a life that he doesn't have, nor would he ever. He is, to the bone, a very loony man, who reads a lot, has a finger glued to his own pulse (a self-realization and personal experience that oddly enough isn't as common as should be expected), smarts off when it's appropriate, get's stomping mad at idiocy (all of it and there's a constant supply) and leads as interesting of a life as anyone could ever expect. He claims to ruin family dinners during the religious calisthenics of grace before meals, by shooting down the magic man in the sky theories with his own atheist beliefs, stating that he'll go back to church when the Chiefs with the Super Bowl. He's loud and he's brass and self-assured, but in a way that affords him the ability to reference Proust, The Family Ties, Kilgore Trout and hail George Carlin.
The latter reference, in Mac's song "Tell Me Goodbye," was questioned - as he reports here in priceless between songs banter that involves much talk about beer at early hours of the day - by hiphopsite.com as being disjointed and irrelevant. A reference point for Mac Lethal couldn't be any closer to the bull's eye than the atheist comedian whose "Seven Dirty Words" routine is one of the most legendary bits in comic history and his brilliant observations about the inconsistencies that so many harbor, the absurdities of dumb asses and the blind leading the blind syndrome that remains as rampant as it ever was are the bedrock of Lethal's blastings, his stream of consciousness scrolls of irritations. He chides fellow rappers for their sheepish desire to fall in step with what sells and with what makes them most marketable - latching onto anti-establishment anger and perpetuating falsehoods. Mac drinks copious amounts of beer and engorges himself with food (then writes about it all; he's got a hangover that he could sell to scientific research; he rails against Boulevard Beer and maybe he's got a good reason). He sees real people (please look to "Know It All" for a heaping helping of just the kind we mean) doing stupid things or operating with a live that's in impossible disrepair - real problems that take real work to create and to diminish - and he presents those stories and people, not in a grandiloquent way, but in a way that makes them neighbors to all of us.
These are songs that are infinitely better - these songs about food and beer and people fucking up left and right by doing things we've all done - than any songs Jay-Z could be writing about selling drugs in the here and now, cause he doesn't do that anymore as far as everyone knows. Jay-Z should be writing about fine dining and drinking the most expensive of liquors - then we could start to believe him again. Mac Lethal lives and what he lives is what we live, he's just more cleaver in the retelling.