http://youtu.be/Egt_h23v8KsSome people are born into the battling world. They grow up immersed in hip hop culture, passed down by their neighborhood idols. They enter local tournaments, gain experience and catch bodies. Some people have a massive scene they can run through, a market to build a reputation in, competition waiting on every street corner. And some people, like Mac Lethal, don’t exactly have that opportunity.
Not to take anything away from Kansas City’s hip hop scene, but for Mac Lethal, growing up there offered him only a tight knit community to hone his skills. Cyphers and battles would break out at hip hop shows, but the type of events that were going down in New York and California were only dreamed about in the middle of the map. It was 1998 when Mac first came across a flier for Scribble Jam. He was enthralled by the competition. But he didn’t feel he was ready.http://youtu.be/e9mCXbe3g28
Mac spent the next three years studying the art of battling online, working up the courage to enter the tournament in 2001. Problem was, he didn’t have any footage to prove he belonged. So he faked it. Piecing together crowd reactions with his bars, Mac spent hours creating audio clips to act as footage, earning him a spot in the tournament. When he arrived in Cincinnati, he proved his skills extended far beyond his computer screen. Mac rolled through the competition, putting up some of the most memorable performances of the event, making it all the way to the finals before eventually losing to ADeeM in a heated match up. His mark officially made on the scene, Mac returned in 2002 ready to brawl. This time, no one would get in his way as he earned his first battle title in resounding fashion. Two years later, he made yet another imprint at Scribble, beasting in one of the tournament’s strongest ever cards. His finals loss to iLLmaculate left him with two runner up finishes and a Scribble title, one of the most impressive runs of any rapper in the history of the illustrious event.
Following Scribble in ’04, Mac took a hiatus from battling to focus on his music, an eclectic form of hip hop that featured the same originality and creativity he used in his battles. Mac embraced his unique personality, putting it on display in his arrogant, aggressive and ruthlessly disrespectful style. A supremely talented technical rapper at his core, Mac was never afraid to try new and different things in the battle arena, something that he believes is essential to keeping the craft fresh.
In 2010, with Grind Time exploding, and a new era of battling taking foot, Mac returned for two high profile battles before again deciding to step away from the scene. While he won’t rule out an eventual return to the sport he grew up adoring, his focus is on creating art and music that he feels brings something new to a stagnant scene. That’s something hip hop heads can only respect, from LA to NY to KC.