Mac Lethal was 16 en 17 april in Nederland en wij waren de enigen die een interview met de battle champ uit Kansas City deden.
Let’s start with a little introduction for the camera.
I’m Mac Lethal for the camera. I’m from Kansas City, United States, Planet Earth, what solar system is this? I was born in Ireland. I’m 22 years old and I like dogs.
Can you do an Irish accent?
No, Irish people don’t have accents. English people have accents. No Irish accents. But I do like dogs.
What’s the difference between Mac Lethal and the rest of the groups from Kansas City?
Well there really aren’t anymore. I’m the only person that lives in Kansas City. It’s like 200 miles wide and like 300 tall and I live in the middle. In a flat by myself. So no one actually lives in Kansas City.
But no there’s groups like; The Guilt, Approach, Archetype, Tech 9, he used to be down with Tupac, he tours with a lot of people in the cities he probably the biggest one. I don’t know I’d say the difference between me and other Kansas City artists is probably the difference between me and any other artists. I kind of say stuff that other people don’t. Not necessarily meaning that it’s better or worse. I’m influenced by Kurt Vonnegut the author. I use a lot of his quirks and stuff. And I don’t think a lot of people bring that to the table. But they have their own respective stuff that they do. The difference between me is the difference between me and anybody that ever lived. It’s kinda like my personality; it’s kinda crazy but real at the same time.
Because you say that Tech 9 is more Tupac
And he’s actually very good. Very very skilled, he’s sort of a gangster rapper, but you know he’s one of the most unique MCs that I’ve ever heard in my life. So it’s good that he comes from Kansas City. But we definitely have different content and concepts.
Tonight we all saw that your freestyle is very good
I can’t battle anymore. Props to whatever that kids name is.
Why I can’t battle anymore? I just don’t do it anymore. I used to all the fucking time. I don’t think I’ve battled in two years except at that Jay-Z thing I was kind of psyched for that. So it’s like he sat there saying shit to me and I wasn’t listening to what he was saying like… Oh my turn. It’s better with writing now. I got more comfortable writing. I used to be all about freestyling. It’s not a big deal though. And he’s very good at it.
Filthy and Ahab you guys will be here… next week.
Why do you like writing better then freestyling?
It’s more important. Through the hard concepts. Change the world, we’re changing the world. Like I hear songs all the time and I’m like WOW that’s an incredible song to me. And opposed to if you battle, that’s like two guys assaulting each other. It’s kinda counter productive. It doesn’t really solve any problems. It doesn’t change anything, it doesn’t motivate anybody to get up and do something. And even though I do a lot of goofy songs I’m still trying to get a message across and it’s more important to have a message. When I stopped the battling I kinda realized that writing; I could sit here and change somebody’s life; not saying that I have but I could suggest that a song… like how many lives John Lennon changed with his music, and he was never up there like battling some one with his acoustic guitar. And if he was it wouldn’t have mattered shit. So it’s like I’m starting to get more information about the serious musicians that really had a problem with the world.
You won Scribble Jam, did it help you to get where you are now?
Yeah I think so. It got me a lot of internet exposure, got me the tour with Sage Francis a lot of that stuff definitely helped. I also used it for the best of my ability and milked it for everything I got. It’s a good way to get your name out. There’s a lot of people that won’t respect you as a lyricist if you can’t battle or freestyle and I think you have to prove your self to them, to those people; the super core of hiphop.
One minute you’re performing in a hamburger suit the other minute your mood changes you’ve got a belt wrapped around your arm and you rap about your father.
Is that song for real?
Yeah. It’s real to the effect that a lot of it happened. It has an ending that never happened, but yeah it’s real.
How can you perform that?
Because I think about other people that are listening to it; while I do it. I’m beyond it. I’ve actually met him and I’m cool with him now and it didn’t end like that. The song is completely in the open and it’s a metaphor for what I felt at that time. But we don’t have a vendetta anymore, me and my father. I think about the people that do that never had that ending that’s why I leave the ending open like that. So when I perform that song I’m not really expressing myself I’m sitting like there’s got to be someone out there, at least 1 of the 500 that feels this and hears it. So I’m actually driving it to them. I’m beyond that, I have other issues now. I couldn’t always perform it.
You perform it with anger but do you also get emotional sometimes when you do it?
Yeah I do. I’ve only watched the videos of how I perform, but I don’t know how I feel when I do it because everybody is silent and I try to put so much into it that I don’t even pay attention to how I feel. If I did I might start thinking and I’d lose the song.
What other artists interest you?
Salvador Dali, McGree, Picasso as far as surrealists, they kinda twist reality. It was still very real but it was abstract.
Rappers; Common Sense, KRS One , Kool G Rap, Lord Finesse and new rappers like Sage Francis he’s probably my favorite MC that’s out there. He took it to a level that I don’t think anybody takes it to.
Musicians: Jimi Hendrix, there’s a dude named Nick Drake he’s an acoustic guitar player. John Lennon, he’s one of my favorites of all time. John Lennon has a stigma like; fuck every single one of you, but I love you and that’s the way I’ve always felt. I still listen to him to this day.
Quentin Tarantino, the director, he’s one of my favorites. I’m influenced by everything that affects me.
Any loud music, KORN for instance?
Tool, Rage against the Machine. I’ve never listened to KORN. I’ve heard their stuff, but I’ve never listened to them. Tool, I’m really influenced by Tool. Actually by a lot of punk rock like, the Sub Humans, the Dead Kennedy’s, the Clash.
What’s your thing with sex and porn? You did a parody on work it ( Jerk It) from Missy Elliot.
It’s not about any personal preference, it’s always about… At least in America it’s so taboo to talk about porn. There are so many morals there, people get so offended. I do it just to kick the shit in their face. Like shut up, who really cares?
And the part that tickles me the most about Amsterdam is that the prostitutes have to pay taxes. It’s a real profession. It’s a product. But it’s so wrong. It’s because of the bible and all of this religious stuff… Fuck wouldn’t be a bad word if we wouldn’t make it a bad word. If you didn’t censor it then it wouldn’t be necessary to censor. That’s why I love seeing prostitutes in the windows. How much do they charge? They we’re selling a product to me and that’s ill!
When did you decide to release your LP more professionally?
I dropped out of high school because I never thought I wanted to go to college. There’s just one thing I do love and that’s hiphop. It was always what I wanted to do. Once I found out about independent music, being able to get your cd out independently, I was like: “What do I have to do?” I was really influenced by independent punk rock groups and I decided that once I have my album done, I’ll do it myself. I saved for six months and then I got the records and I put them out myself. I still do that to this day, No record label, no distribution just me to you.
I may sign a record contract at some point, because they can do a lot for me as far as just getting known, but I’d never sign me as an artist, I’d just give them the album.
What about the tattoo on your left arm?
Well LL Cool J had a mic that plugs into his arm. And this looks like shit I got it a long time ago. It’s a microphone with an IV-tube going into my arm. I have to get it re-done but there’s like surgical tape over it.
A friend did it I didn’t even had to pay for it. He was studying to be a tattoo artist and asked can I work on you? And I said: “Yeah.” I keep it like this because it’s a symbol of my youth. The guy was so bad that he was pressing the needle into my bone and it got infected and all. And every time I see him he says: “Let me redo it” and I’m like: “No dude, not you.”
How was the tour with Sage Francis?
Completely life changing. It was called the fuck clear channel tour. Do you have clear channel here?
We do actually; they took over a major entertainment company. We’re getting Americanized.
That’s the whole hamburger thing as well. America Go Home! You know like life is better here. And they want you to believe that it’s all about more products and more money. But it’s not! Don’t let them fool you! Fucking Clear channel is bullshit!
Last year we had the Cunninlynguists over. And we happened to hear you battling Cashmere the Pro…
Oh yeah, that’s when I could battle. So go check that out, it’s on the net. That was at Scribble Jam 2001. That was ill.
Did you know each other before that?
No, and I don’t think I know him now. He’s a good dude. I like his stuff but I’ve never really met him I think.
Do you remember the battle?
It was the first battle of Scribble Jam. I was the first person they called to the stage and I was mad nervous. I had driven all day and I was like: don’t call me first! So I went up there and I heard of him because he had a little EP out called “It ain’t where you’re from, it’s where you’re at.” Sorry Cashmere if I fucked that up… And I said some stuff; he looked like Roseanne Barr, covered in tar.; that seems to always be the favorite one. And I said he looked like a snow man made out of cowshit or something. He was good man, but the crowd went wild and the crowd was too wild to go against those lines. He’s good though. Peace Cashmere.
Some questions about tracks. ‘My momma izza thug’?
She’s the nicest woman ever. She’s in the hospital right now, that’s why it was so hard to get here. She’s always been this woman that my friends always liked. There was maybe one time when she got real real mad and all my friend were there and she came downstairs and she had a birthday cake for my nephew. And she got mad and I said why are you mad, you’re turning into a thug or something and then she started tearing the birthday cake up into the shape of a gun. And an hour later she came to me because she was so sorry…and I’m like: ok… look what I’m writing.
And she came to one show in here life and I did the song and everybody took there guns out, but she was in the front row. And she thought it was real funny and I gave her a real big hug on stage. There’s was like 400 people there and I’m sitting there trying to sell cd’s couple of feet away and everybody is crowding around her. So she said: “Cd’s?” And I’m like: no, no it’s good to meet you mom.
What about Midnight in Manhattan? That is inspired by September 11th.
Yeah, I wrote it the next day. It happened, I stayed up all day then the next day I woke up and I started writing, I didn’t even stop until it was done. I didn’t even think about what I was writing. I recorded it real corny and never thought about changing the version I recorded not even when I put the album out. I was kind of shaking in my voice but that was because it was recorded in the few hours after it happened, it was how I felt right then. I was always kind of expecting something like this to happen. Watching the building go down was something historical and a fucking crazy event.
Did you catch the news in Europe? We also have a lot of things about terrorism..
Oh man, all the time! And that’s never on American news, I read the Guardian. Over here it’s on the news all the time! That’s why I felt comfortable performing the song here now. First I thought that a lot of people couldn’t feel what I was feeling but then I thought about it before I left and I realized that everybody has been through something similar and they could apply it to whatever they’ve seen. Fucked up.
And that’s why a part of me is like: Fuck the Cheeseburger, let’s talk about something real.
It’s sick that this also spreads to Europe
Yeah. That’s why I felt it was ok to do the same set over here that I did in the States. This set I also did on the Sage Francis tour. There is nothing that I can’t say to them that they can’t possibly get. I think a lot of people come over here alienating and patronizing everyone.
I was worried about battling too. I thought that they won’t get some of the stuff because it’s just American stuff. But it’s everywhere in the world and that’s why I thought fuck it. I can do everything I do there, here. And it works even better then it does in the States.
Let’s talk about some future plans
Eleven, eleven. It’s gonna be two albums and they’re gonna come out very far from each other. There’s two famous American actresses that were in the movies back a long time ago; Eva Gardner and Grace Kelly. I named the first one Eva Gardner and the second one Grace Kelly. It?s not gonna be like everything I’ve ever done. A lot of serious stuff. And the concept is that these actresses were elegant and stylish, now you’ve got people like Lil’ Kim and 50 Cent, not to namedrop it but they’re kind of spitting on there faces like: “We’re superstars and we’re getting money.” Now it’s like another dip shit making millions while back then the stars were elegant. So it’s kind of a tribute to them.
Can you tell us more about the album?
The producers are people from where I live and I had Blockhead do stuff on my first album. Sergeant General is from Kansas City. And I’m still waiting on his stuff. I think I’m always gonna have something from him on everything I do. I never wanna have producers that are big. I’d rather give the unknown producers from where I live a shot and maybe they will be big because of that. So I got these producers; Been, Nesby, Equilibrium, Kid Called Computer. He was actually on the love potion collection. I just always kind of stick to those producers.
Will Sage be on the album?
No, I want to get Sage for the second album maybe, but for now, no. I feel like I can’t get exactly what I want across with guests. It’s nice, fun and cool but it’s a concept that means so much to me and if I let somebody else come in, it’s like you’re not really getting what I want to say. So no guests right now.
Do you have an estimate release date?
I don’t know. I’m talking to labels right now. I want it to come out right. It’s gonna be the best thing I’ve ever done. Eleven eleven refers to the time by the way. 11:11 is the time that you make a wish.
Do you listen to European music?
There’s one group that I heard of in Germany, besides the groups that I saw play. There’s a group that I saw on MTV Germany that’s called ASD. And Jay Dee from the States did some of the beats and I really liked it. I saw a group named Seed, they tore the stage apart. So that’s about it I haven’t heard much. I’d like to though.
Do you think internet will take over the whole music industry?
I think it has. I think I’m here because of the internet. If I’m in Europe then the internet is taking over. All the records get downloaded, it’s so fucked up. But it’s useless to be against it, I try to use it. I think the internet has done damage but ultimately it has helped. Especially now with MTV and Clear Channel who are doing things people don’t like, the internet is there to remind people that there’s still good shit out there.
Download everybody else’s stuff and buy my stuff!
Meer info: http://www.lethalville.com