“I got my name ‘cause I used to just kill people in rap battles. They said, ‘We’re gonna call you Mackalevin, ‘cause you just keep firin’ bang, bang, bang…’”
With a name like “Mackalevin,” it’s easy to assume that this is just another rapper romanticizing a life of violence, drugs, and promiscuity. There is much more to this son of Brooklyn than you might think. He is similar to the Mac-11 in the way he delivers his verbal ammunition. Once he starts spitting he is very difficult to control, lyrically firing gems that hit you unexpectedly.
Mackalevin is akin to a great painter, using his words as the paintbrush that imprints onto the palette of your mind. “Every word is tailored exactly to paint a picture for the audience so they can see what I’m writing about.” Mackalevin’s talent is placing you in his shoes to help better envision his words. His vision encompasses many things and he uses his entire worldview as fuel for his creative fire. “I don’t limit myself to one beat; I don’t subject myself to one category.” Mackalevin refuses to be boxed into just one form of music, mindset, or thought. The music he creates is as diverse as the experiences and views the world has to offer. From his sampling of the Foo Fighters in ‘Born to Resist’ to “Sitting on the Clouds’ to “So Open” It is plain to see that his music is inclusive to anyone with an ear. And more than just an artist, Mackalevin is a vessel bringing to the forefront the unifying pursuit of truth and enlightenment.
A prolific wordsmith who writes every lyric of his songs, here is a man who knows not only what he wants to tell the world, but how. Mackalevin knows how to write a hook that will burrow into the corners of your psyche. “I want to draw out raw emotion from my audience.” Listen to the proof in ‘More Than Life’ or ‘Why We Live.’ Try to walk away from his music without feeling something move in the cogwheels of your being.
Since the age of 8, Mackalevin has always had a talent for freestyling and expressing himself – rapping over Biggie’s songs on his Walkman, freestyling during breaks while his friends made impromptu beats on the lunch table. In the beginning, however, rapping was just a hobby. He focused his energy on nurturing his talent in basketball and considered the possibility of going pro. Mackalevin continued to freestyle and wow anyone who would hear him. He realized how much of a role music played in his life; it was the one thing that was constant. He then decided that music and rapping was more than a mere hobby or even a passion; it was life. Looking back, Mackalevin realizes how much he has grown as a songwriter. His talent has garnered interest from his peers which led him to write hooks and songs for RnB artists and other rappers. He also acknowledges how much growing he has to do as a bona fide rapper. The 25 year-old up-and-comer says, “I took rap seriously when my hoop dreams were over. I used to practice basketball every day; I thought I was going to be in the NBA. I graduated from college, but I knew music was always going to be with me. It’s something I’m going to strive to do no matter what.” The road to success is far from easy for Mackalevin, but he finds consolation in telling himself, “The best part of making it is the journey, so I’m enjoying the ride as I go along.”
Asked what inspires him, Mackalevin says “I’m inspired by everything….my family, the situations I face, the people in my neighborhood, those who didn’t make it, and those who are successful”. Mackalevin is thankful for his Hip Hop group, Fric Frac, which motivated him to develop and expand his lyrical dexterity. They offered different insights and encouraged his creativity. He also draws inspiration from artists such as Eminem, Lupe Fiasco, Jay-Z, Fabolous, and Andre 3000 who show no boundaries. And while he has nothing but respect for the trailblazers of hip hop who have inspired him, he wishes to reach new heights they haven’t achieved.
Now, with the 2011 release of “DREAMLAND,” Mackalevin is more than ready to earn his place among music’s greats. This album embodies who he is – versatile. Mackalevin has a range of songs to draw out every raw emotion, each with its own message. He is able to mirror the ebbs and flows of life in his music from being in the hood to changing the world. “It’s just a reflection of life, life encompasses every situation and emotion, so I just portray every angle of it.” Mackalevin’s music reaches out to the Hip-Hop, R&B, Rock, and Pop crowd. DREAMLAND” demonstrates the unifying trait of music. The elastic trait of his music makes it accessible to anyone who simply feels. Versatility is a rare commodity in the rap scene today. Mackalevin not only has it, he uses it like a weapon, disarming you and then hitting you at your core.