On paranoia and talking to strangers
By Justin Hood
New Rhymesayers label artist and former Scribble Jam champion Mac Lethal is hitting the industry with a lethal dose of acid-tongued lyricsm. He hits The Stove in Albuquerque this Sunday. The Alibi got a hold of Mac to talk about his Always Talk To Strangers Tour (co-headlined by MCs Grieves and Type) as he was sitting down on the same green couch he raps about in his new album, 11:11.
You just finished up the Everybody Loves A Clown Tour with Atmosphere.
Yeah. We finished up back in November, but it's like I’m just now waking up and getting around and doing things.
How was it being on a circuit with Atmosphere?
It was great, everything went good. This was my third time touring with Atmosphere. I did a week with them back in 2002, a month up in Canada last year and this one.
Besides Canada, where else outside of the States have you performed?
I’ve been to Holland and Germany and that’s it. It's not that I don't like Europe, but I just don't seem to do well overseas because my music is more satirical and deals with American stuff. I don't know if it'll transcend—maybe it will at some point. More or less Canada and America are paying my bills right now.
Were you home for the holidays?
It's not so much the holidays that keep me from touring during this time. I have this strange paranoia of touring in December and January, because I’m afraid of being in vans on icy highways. As you can see, it's not stopping me from touring this January, though.
Tell me about the Always Talk To Strangers Tour.
On the Atmosphere tour we all had this weird expression—“Always talk to strangers." Us openers felt that even though the crowds were into us, afterwards it seemed that people were intimidated to come and say what's up. From that came this philosophy of always talking to strangers, and we just carried it over to this tour.
Have you been to Albuquerque before?
Yeah, I have, actually. Twice. I’m really excited to play at The Stove, though. Grieves explained the spot to me and was saying that it's more like a party. That’s the type of shit that I love, those are the kinds of shows that are just insanely fun to me.
Have you had green chile?
Dude, I don't know. Am I missing out on something?
Yes, you are.
That’s dope. I'm sold. My favorite thing to do on tour is try out new food.
Tell me about your record label, Black Clover.
There is no way I am ever going to sign to a major label. And I'm not just saying that just to say it--I honestly couldn't live with myself doing it. Black Clover is a place where I can put out whatever I want and no one can tell me how to make it, shape it or create it, and I get to see all the profit.
In 2002 you got first place in the MC battle at Scribble Jam—do you still battle?
I don't really at all—I don't even know how I did. It was exciting to me back when I was, like, 18, but that aggression just isn't in me anymore. I don't care if people think I can rap or not.
Mac Lethal will perform an all-ages show at The Stove (114 Morningside NE) this Sunday, Jan. 20, with Grieves, Type and more. Doors open at 8 p.m. Cost is $10.
Ryan McGarvey • blues, guitar at Low Spirits
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