Proudly hailing from the South Side of Chicago is a hip-hop recording artist, songwriter, and rapper M.A.C., showcasing his journey of growth in his 10-track album, 'Mountains.'
M.A.C. has spent the last decade dedicated himself to everything hip-hop, taking time to hone his craft with help from influences like Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, Big K.R.I.T., Jay-Z, Lupe Fiasco, and more. Always striving to "change other people's thought patterns and their approach to things," M.A.C brings this mission to life in his conceptual and personal new album, 'Mountains.'
Jumping into the record, we begin our journey with the intro and title track, "MOUNTAINS," where the empowering spoken word stylings of Anita Riddle take center stage. Alongside choir-esque chords and warm piano melodies, Riddle continues to set the tone for the album, powerfully reciting what sounds like a hopeful and compelling Bible verse. This gospel-like intro track covers the trials and tribulations we humans see on our lifelong journeys, leading to the outro where Riddle declares that we were made to tread mountains.
Track number two, "Ten Trey," featuring 7 Metrix and Jimiece Jasmine, continues with those same soulful piano chords. Moments after hitting play, we finally get to hear what M.A.C has been waiting to deliver to his audience through his heavy-hitting bars that get our heads bopping right off the bat. As he continues expanding on making something out of nothing and reaching his dreams, Jimiece Jasmine's harmonious and lush vocals begin pouring through our speakers. Jasmine's stunning and chilling vocals touch on her devotion to home; not only is it where the heart is, but it's where M.A.C and many others learned priceless lessons.
Things get much deeper when greeting track number three, "Bullet Fly," alongside the gorgeous vocals of Ell Virtuoso. The song opens with a news broadcast reporting a shooting while quickly transitioning into another mid-tempo, drum-heavy hip-hop arrangement drenched in minor tones to emphasize M.A.C 's message. Listening to his tightly-wound bars, M.A.C continues explaining the normalcy of hearing bullets fly but stating how taking away someone else's life never makes you any better. This powerful anthem for peace is everything we needed and more.
M.A.C continues empowering the listener on the album's fourth track, "The Vision," featuring the same powerhouse vocals of Ell Virtuoso. As the soothing strings open the song, we swiftly drop into this midtempo and cinematic old-school hip-hop arrangement with added brass for a boost of power. M.A.C uses this track to praise the most-high while continuing to speak the truth in hopes he doesn't end up like other peace, equity, and truth-seekers (Martin Luther King Jr.). Ell Virtuoso's confident vocals on the hook bring the song full circle, leaving us feeling ready to bring M.A.C's vision for peace to life.
Ramping up the groovy and atmospheric vibes is the fifth track, "Cookin,' alongside Ell Virtuoso. As the plucky bassline, punchy drums, and soothing synths begin oozing through our speakers with the utmost passion and soul, M.A.C makes his way in while explaining how he's hard at work cooking up tracks to make a bigger impact. Ell Virtuoso perfectly backs him up with soothing and deftly-melodic vocals that offer similarities to some of r&b's biggest names like Queen B herself. We're stunned by M.A.C's conceptual bars thus far; he's made such an impact only within the five songs above.
Moving past the album's halfway point with track number six, "Where The Bars At," this 48-second-long interlude-type piece tracks the conversation between M.A.C and AUX, discussing AUX's distaste with 'lullaby lay me down music,' or the 'soft stuff' that puts you to sleep. As AUX asks, 'where's the boom-bap, where's the rap at?' M.A.C promises that the album 'Mountains' will bring the bars AUX and everyone else has been waiting for.
For the first time on the album, we jump into track number seven, "The Memo," where M.A.C takes the stage entirely solo. He quickly spices things up with tremendous energy while stating how God's vision of his dreams and ambitions was destiny to help M.A.C promote change with each venture. He states, 'I'm a lyrical treasure,' and we couldn't agree more; this fiery and drum-heavy tune offers all the heat and power we expected from South Side Chicago rapper M.A.C. He makes it clear that his talent, skill, and mission aren't anything to take lightly.
Soothing the soul is the album's eighth track, "Good Thing," alongside 7 Metrix and Jriggg. 7 Metrix kicks off the song with his charming and warm vocals that send us into an r&b daydream alongside the groovy and tender production. This time around, M.A.C. pays tribute to the Eve to his Adam, the Mary to his Joseph, and everything else this someone special embodies. Jriggg perfectly adds this dense and passionate edge through his high-energy bars and deeply passionate vocals that leave us hooked from top to bottom.
Continuing that same loving theme is track number nine, "You Mean The World," where M.A.C offers another profoundly introspective and emotional song, but one that's much closer to home. This six-minute tribute helps us get to know M.A.C on a more personal note as he dedicates the experience to his family and their everlasting impact. The song's gentle production and instrumentals maintain the same steady flow while M.A.C and what sounds like his sister Sheena express their precious memories and endless love for their late father.
Landing on the album's tenth and outro track, "Gods Way," midtempo hi-hats anticipatingly open the song while flocks of seagulls hover above, sending us into the powerful drums we've been grooving to throughout the album. In this punchy and go-getting track, M.A.C does what he does best and reminds us that he's here to make a change, truly fulfilling God's purpose. This anthemic heavy-hitter perfectly closes the record on such a personal and empowering note, ending off with nothing but strength, dedication, and a perpetual mission to make a difference.
Get to know the South Side of Chicago and the many lessons M.A.C has learned from his stomping grounds and the Creator above with his incredibly personal 10-track album, 'Mountains,' now available on all digital streaming platforms.
Welcome to BuzzMusic, M.A.C. We were truly moved when listening to your personal and in-depth album, 'Mountains.' What inspired you to create a record that tracks your journey of growth and growing up in Chicago?
I am listening to other artists who make such great music. I wanted to create a classic album like them that was lyrical and soulful. I was definitely inspired by music from Lupe fiasco Kendrick Lamar's big krit, and that's the type of music I aspire to make.
When did you begin writing songs and executing ideas for the 'Mountains' album? How long was the entire album in the making? What was it like collaborating with the many artists on 'Mountains'? Have you worked with these names before?
The album was started as far back as 2017, and I ended up putting it on hold for a while to work on an album with my group, The God Hour; most of the features on my album are artists I worked with on our album and people I know and love.
One song from 'Mountains' really stuck out to us. What was it like creating the incredibly personal tribute to your father, "You Mean The World?"
That was the hardest song I've ever written and recorded. I had the concept for a while; it took me a while to complete the verses and get through recording without breaking down, but it's the song on the album that means the most to me. I'm extremely happy with how it came out.
Finally, since your music mainly covers making an impact on the listener, what message or key realization did you want listeners to take away from 'Mountains?'
Honestly, love, love yourself, your family, where you come from, love your journey. I made each one of these songs with love in one-way, shape, or form, and through everything, remember to love in whatever place you are in life.