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Mac Lethal - 11:11

Released by Rhymesayers Entertainment, 10/09/07

There’s something about Mac Lethal that screams amateur (although the anticipation of this new album, 11:11, says otherwise), but there’s also something about him that begs you to stay and listen to the entire album. Not a fan of current rap music in general, I was sceptical about writing this review for fear of being biased. Even Mac Lethal says, "I’m a rapper but I don’t really like rap".

However the humorous side to his lyrics, which are anything but deep and meaningful, kept my interest in 11:11 long enough to say that Mac Lethal is bringing the comic hero back to rap (think Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Eminem and Busta Rhymes). I think his self-proclaimed title as the "Make-Out Bandit", in the song of the same name, actually made me laugh out loud. As Mac himself says on the number seven track “Crazy”, "stop taking life so seriously and let it go."

The fact that he's a white rapper is a major selling point in a genre often infiltrated by impersonators -- this guy is anything but a "wannabee" and he really doesn’t try to hide it. There’s no "fo shizzle ma nizzle" here. In fact, Mac Lethal even takes a hit at "stupid dances in videos", "trendy-ass Dunks" and "political rappers".

The lyrics to most of the 11:11 tracks sound like an audible blog. A rant about corporate America, trophy wives and young republicans in “Jihad!”, a love story in “Lithium Lips”, boasting about conquests in “Make-Out Bandit” or scathing chatter about the jock/frat culture in “Pound that Beer”. It’s the kind of language you would expect to overhear your kid brother throwing around with his skater buddies.

There are a few standouts however. “Die Slow” combines some wicked beats with rootsy, twangy guitar rifts and some tight rhymes -- it’s really easy to get engaged by this sound and I can’t put my finger on a comparison artist for once. It feels unique and the impromptu sax as the song closes makes this one a winner.

“Lithium Lips” also makes you sit up and listen. Then initial rhymes are overlayed by an "I Dream of Jeanie"-type intro that doesn’t sound unlike Dido or the girls from Nouvelle Vague, and rather than speaking about "booty" and "bitches", the lyrics are actually romantic if you can get past the aggressive sound of the "gangsta-type" rapping.

Overall, 11:11 is solid and pretty enjoyable. Just one word of advice though, Mac: it's best to lay off any Beatles references, they are too cool to be messed with, even in jest.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars