Review by The People’s Minister of Information JR
Mac Mall’s 2015 musical contribution “Legal Business,” playing off of the name of his 1993 debut record “Illegal Business,” was one of the best sounding and most under-appreciated works of the year. It definitely was my favorite album. A lot of people were occupied with the sounds of Kendrick Lamar’s “To Pimp a Butterfly” and the December 2014 release of J Cole’s platinum selling “Forrest Hills Drive”; while both were great albums with some classic heartfelt lyricism, the Bay had its own lyrical chef in the kitchen, and what Mac Mall cooked up was legendary in its own right.
In the mid ‘90s right before the assassination of Tupac, if a record of this caliber had came out of the Bay, the Bay if not all of Cali and the West Coast would have been rocking with it. But now that we are 20 years past the corporate rap takeover of the minds of Bay Area fans, most teenage Hip Hop fans around my daughter’s age don’t have any appreciation or reverence for the frontline of independent rappers who built the Bay Are Hip Hop scene, due to the mass saturation of music from the internet and a lack of local platforms exposing them to their audio histories. Mac Mall is, undoubtedly, one of the architects of Vallejo Hip Hop, right alongside Mac Dre, E40, Khayree, for those that didn’t know.
On one of my favorite songs on the “Legal Business” album, “Mac’n the Most,” Mall proclaims, “I’m Mac’n the most, you suckaz is doing the least, instead of handling thizzness, niggaz hating on me. I’m about making money, every day of the week, caking up, give a fuck what a fake nigga think” in classic verbose Mac fashion.
Mac Mall’s 2015 musical contribution “Legal Business,” playing off of the name of his 1993 debut record “Illegal Business,” was one of the best sounding and most under-appreciated works of the year.
On another one of my favorite tracks on the album in which the powerhouse political MC, M1 of dead prez is featured, Mall spits: “Me don’t want no devil philosophy, me don’t want religious hypocrisy. We don’t need technology lobotomies; 1 percent trying to make a slave out of me, want me to be corporations’ property. Politicians lie to me jollyly, robbing we. Rich criminals fancy free, poor people cop a plea.” Mall has always had that Huey P. Newton-2Pac double nature, half gangsta, half revolutionary, a nature that is very prevalent in the streets of Northern Cali.
On “Get It Together,” which features Mall’s blood cousin E40 and is the Part 2 to Mall’s “Ghetto Theme” from his first album, Mall raps: “Young Brotha, just know I want you to live. I don’t want to see you propped up in the pen like brother and father did, don’t want to see you bust yo’ steel and another brotha get killed. Still we do it to ourselves and that’s ill for real, youngstas fuckin’ up they future, trying to be trill, DA giving forever and now he want to make a deal. Shoulda made a plan, instead of fast-feddy-scams, shoulda thought about his fam, instead of tryna be the man.”
What I liked most about the “Legal Business” album was that Mac Mall had something to say. Whether he was looking at how we treat each other, the system oppressing us or being high, his wordplay on the album paints very unique pictures. They are a breath of fresh air when you turn on the radio and you hear youngstas chantin’ and rappin’ about nothingness or what the system tells them the new trend is. Bay Area Hip Hop pride is back.
What I liked most about the “Legal Business” album was that Mac Mall had something to say. Bay Area Hip Hop pride is back.
The People’s Minister of Information JR Valrey is associate editor of the Bay View, author of “Block Reportin’” and “Unfinished Business: Block Reportin’ 2” and filmmaker of “Operation Small Axe” and “Block Reportin’ 101,” available, along with many more interviews, at www.blockreportradio.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.