Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
Not sure exactly how I came to this realization - and I think it was just minutes ago, really - but Mac Lethal is a lot like the guy I secretly wish I was. Really, there's a lot of him in all of us and that's why we hang on his every word, well now, I'm speaking for you and I'll stop doing that right now. That was the last time, I promise. I hang on his every word. He's smarter'n shit. He's funnier'n shit and, by that, we mean that he's so damned sharp and so damned witty. It's one of those rapier's wits that we've read about in thicker books, getting proper on us. He speaks about as bluntly as anyone ever could. He's offensive without ever being too offensive. We took him with us to a few barns here in rural Iowa a few years ago. Prior to arriving at the first one in West Liberty, Iowa, he shot some disturbing video of what looked to be a scarecrow being lynched in some farmer's front yard. It was completely messed up and the following night, in Coon Rapids, Iowa, close to the world's only Templeton Rye distillery, and in a river house barn in the middle of who-knows-where-nowhere, he started his set by stating that he knew that there were some racists in the barn that night. Okay, so he was a little offensive, but it was with good reason. He is one of the brightest people I've ever met - in all seriousness - and he could make it all up. Every word he raps could be a huge load of shit. Rappers get away with that stuff all the time. He could just stomp around up there on stage or in the studio and spout off a bunch of bullshit and no one would give a fuck. He doesn't though. He calls himself out. He calls everyone else out. He knows he's just a person. He loves pointing out all of the ways that others forget that they're just people too and consequently forget that there are other people out there too. He pounces on the inconsiderations of nearly everyone, thinking that they deserve more or that they deserve better when it couldn't be further from the truth. These are the people that Mac eats alive, deconstructing their every thought, word and action and using it for the meat in his sandwiches.
Just a few weeks ago, Mac texted me to tell me that he'd just gotten off the phone with Ryan Seacrest, who had called for an interview about the video that he'd done in the kitchen of his Kansas City apartment and posted on YouTube the day before. It was a rap about cooking pancakes (as Mac was cooking pancakes - "That's done. That cake is done!") and Jerry Sandusky, amongst other subjects, set to the beat from a Chris Brown song. At the time, it had just been featured on the Huffington Post and had gone ballistic, racking up over 3 million views in a matter of hours. It's now been seen over 20 million times - as of January 19th - and toward the end, he raps, "There's nothing beautiful about this world." I have a hard time being that he means that. He can't possibly. He might even mean that literally EVERYTHING is beautiful in this world. The things to cuss, the people that need to be choked out, the idiots and the foolish dreamers, the beaters, the lovers, Wall Street and the 1%ers, everything might actually add up to be a whole lot more beautiful than anyone knows what to do with. Pressed, Mac might agree. On this lo-fi session, where he and DJ Sku used the oldest microphones we have here at the Horseshack, he plays the song, "Bird Feeder," and offers these words, "I'm right here/If they don't wanna love me/Fuck 'em/I haven't changed/Just got sick of being what I wasn't," repeated a handful of times at the very end of the song. The words hang out in you, coming from a man all his own. He might be lonely - and that's the place that I choose not to get to - but he's reasonable. It might be all he's ever felt he deserved, all that any of us should feel that we deserve - ourselves and a bunch of books, movies and music to keep us from blowing our brains out.