Kansas City native Mac Lethal (David McCleary Sheldon) is a lot more than a tight rapper of quality and substance. He is a former artist of Rhymesayers Entertainment and a cofounder of his current label Black Clover Records but most importantly he is an emcee who is committed to staying independent (not on a major label). His debut LP 11:11 arrived in 2007 followed by Irish Goodbye in 2011 and this year, on September 13, he unhinged his door-kicking third full length studio album Congratulations. It’s a wise opus of dream word-offerings with a Tech Nina feature and fun music accompaniments.
Off the hook conceptually, Congratulations is in order with Mac’s sharp vocalism including some of his famous double-time rapping, loads of new advanced rhymes and lots of direct social commentary on the economy, self-employment, health, parenthood and marriage. Before he raps on society at large, he goes into his rocky youth, but once he gets into his explicitly harsh critique on corporations and capitalism, things really start to get interesting. He calls out the love of money and things and explains the problems and pitfalls of menial corporate employment, cubicle pencil-pushing, paper-shuffling and such. He makes clear that this type of wage-slavery is really just building up someone else’s fortune at the expense of the builder.
Later, Mac hits on the importance of living healthy by eating well, exercising and consuming “Weed & Coffee” (optional yet pleasant). Towards the end, he starts in on the family-man topics, i.e. the hard but true realities of being married with children, how it’s very much both bitter and sweet. He reads these notes with a splash of humor but also gallons of sincerity. He’s going through it. Through it all though, Mac’s delivery is clearly spot-on, serving our ears streams of well written lyrics of beautiful wordplay. Congratulations, Mac. This is easily one of the best albums of the year.
5 out of 5 stars