November 15, 2012

Mac Lethal - 11:11 (2007)

I've finally come to terms with the fact that Mac Lethal is my favorite rapper ever. For some time, the title was contested between him and Romanian psychedelic hip-hoppers Specii (whose debut album was masterfully reviewed by nerd queen Alina here), but they've since become Christian rappers or something, so Mac Lethal swooped in and stole their place in my tiny hip-hop heart space.

North Korean BBQ was one of my favorite 2011 releases by this Kansas-born rapper and it had a homemade feel to it, with rather simplistic beats and a casual approach to his personal, sentimental lyrics. Shortly after, Irish Goodbye came and established itself as his most professional album to date, with exquisite beats and a positive, live-and-let-live, be-the-best-that-you-can-be kind of attitude. So where does that leave his debut album, 11:11?

Well, it's certainly the most generic album this pale rapper has ever recorded, but it is also the most funnest. Mac's young age of 25 at the date this album was written means that he hasn't become as concerned with relationships and heartbreak as he will be on later releases. In fact, there are very few statements made on the subject, the most blatant one being that he plans to remain single forever. Now it's 2012 and he's married. How people and minds change in just 5 short years!

Wardrobes, too. CHECK DEM GLASSES.

Most of the songs on 11:11 are cheerful affairs. Mac Lethal talks about his Kansan accent, veganism, eating cereal for dinner, atheism, smoking weed, drinking beer, self-absorbed women, being loyal to his fanbase, asking Bjork to buy him a car, receiving a whole lot of money from a Nigerian president, wearing an Old Dirty Bastard t-shirt and how much he loves his native Kansas City. All these in a clear, confident voice which makes him and his stories really easy to listen to. Judging by the booming beats and the SICK BASS, I would say that this is definitely his most accessible album to the common rap fan. Hell, there's even a bombastic beer drinking anthem halfway through the album. If this isn't the lowest common denominator, I don't know what is.

11:11 is a glimpse into Mac Lethal's beginnings, long before he became a jaded guy fed up with life and even longer before he pieced everything back together and started thinking life is like the dopest shit ever again. It's just an honest hip-hop album from a young guy who had just recovered from some serious emotional trauma and who hadn't yet experienced all the shit and happiness life can throw at you. It's fun, it's playful, it's serious at times and it makes me wanna do wiggerish arm movements whenever I listen to it. Which is pretty much every day for the past two weeks.

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