When Andre 3000 made his statement about the South having something to say after being disrespected at the Source Awards, I can’t help but to think that Mac is a perfect representation to his statement. I remember when I first heard him on Ghetto D and thought “This guy is pretty nice! Who is he?” He was pretty solid on Tryin 2 Do Something but when I heard his verse on Master P’s Only Time Will Tell, I was automatically drawn to the Camaflouge’ Assassins music.
His delievery, how he painted the horrific nature of street life, and uncertainty of his fate was what drew me. Then his verses off Mystikal Born 2 Be a Soldier, and Mia X’s Unlady Like made me want to hear more of the “Assassin, Sniper, Murderer, Son of a bitch” because there was something about Mac that stood out. You can feel his authenticity in his delievery.
The beginining as “Lil Mac”
what people have to realize that Mac wasn’t new to this. He wasn’t one of these guys that was picked up by You Tube over a hit song or had big money behind him on some faux pretence of being “Independent” like today. McKinley Phipps, Jr were like millions of young black males caught in the struggle. Hoping to use their voice as an outlet to bring forefront of what life as a young black man in America is like growing up in the Magnoloia. Mac’s career started technically in 1990 at the age of 13 years old. Going under the moniker “Lil Mac” and released an album titled Lyrical Midget which was a local hit due to the single I Need Wheels.
New Orleans mainly focused on a lot of bounce and heavily influenced by the gangsta sound. The rappers at that time period mostly talked kept the subject matter to what was happening in the hood. The subject matter and rap styles for the most part were considered “simple and basic” by hip hop pursuits. Mac was determined to change that stereotype and wanted to prove that the New Orleans rap scene is quite diverse.
Lil Mac before signing with Master P’s No Limit Records joined a click in New Orleans called Psychoward. Psychoward consisted of 28 Emcees and were considered as the New Orleans version of Wu Tang. Every emcee within that group brought a different flavor to the mix. But it was mainly Lil Mac that stood out. The group released their debut album titled http://www.psychoward.com and gained critically acclaimed all over the board. This was the platform that Mac needed to make himself more established.
Signing with No Limit and releasing Shell Shocked
As Lil Mac stood out from Psychoward, offers from the majors came shortly after. Def Jam most notably offered him a deal and to fly him out to NYC for negotiations. Mac turned Def Jam, Jive, and many other deals down and signed with Master P’s No Limit Records in 1997. No Limit were gaining heavy momentum and adding Mac to the roster only made the Tank even stronger. Shortly after signing Mac, Mystikal, Snoop Dogg, Soulja Slim later signed and they steamrolled through 1998 with no turning back. Mac took Lil off his name and officially became “Mac”. He finally released his debut on July 21st 1998 and gained critical acclaim as well as charting at #11 on the Billboard.
Mac’s Shell Shocked album was different from many of the No Limit releases from that time period. It had features from the usual suspects from No Limit, but he also showed that he was observant with how the game moved. Shell Shocked had a great balance of smooth songs, soldier songs, dirty south bounce, and songs showcasing his bars. Two of my favorite songs off Shell Shocked was My Brother where he dedicated to his younger brother and Empire where he responds to the critics of Southern hip hop.
Transition period/The release of World War III
Shortly after Shell Shocked was released, Mac started working on his sophomore album titled World War 3. During the process of working on WW3, No Limit were going through a major transition in terms of the production department. Beats By the Pound which were the heart, body, and soul behind the success of No Limit Records left the label, Master P was involved with more entities outside of music and Cash Money started to steamroll into 1999. The albums from No Limit following year didn’t chart heavily like the ones the previous year. Mac finally released his album in September and while it was acclaimed to be the best album from the Tank in a long time, It didn’t do the numbers like that of Shell shocked.
New Milininum, New Roster
In 2000 Master P started to clean house and revamp the label with a new plan. P had moved No Limit from Priority to Universal. The 504 Boyz was gonna be the first project released on the “New No Limit” and instead of it being an album featuring Just P, Silk, and Mystikal (whom used New Jack City monikers). It was gonna be a compilation featuring new and current talent. P wanted to focus more on the New Orleans bounce flavor as could be heard on “Wobble Wobble” and “Whodi”. But I Can Tell featuring Mac, Mercades, that would remain as the most memorable track on there. It had a nice melody, its raunchy, straight forward, and it remains as a hood love classic to this day.
504 Boyz Goodfellas was a success and eventually went gold. It proved that No Limit still had enough aptitude to compete in the game. But just when things were looking up, They ended up going south once again: Many had left for personal reasons but for Mac, He caught a 2nd degree murder and manslaughter charge. Sadly He would be sentenced 30 years to life on September 21st 2001 on manslaughter. World War III and the apperances on the Goodfellas album were the last we would hear from Mac on record.
The fight to prove innocience
Mac has been fighting to prove his innocience for close to 20 years now. There has been many loopholes in his case and there have been proof that Mac wasn’t even the shooter at the club that night. They also covered his story on Investigation:
His Impact in hip hop
Even though his career has been derailed due to his unfair incarceration. Mac has been highly regarded and respected by many of his peers for his contribution to the South. He showed that the south was more than bounce rhythims and gangsta rhymes. He’s heavily responsible for showcasing that the South has alot more to say. We can only hope that theres a breakthrough in Mac’s case and he can eventually come home to enjoy his family and friends. Share articles like this to show how much Mac really meant to his supporters and hip hop itself.