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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Rhymesayers to invade Tucson

    David McLeary Sheldon, aka, Mac Lethal, will perform Sunday night at the Rialto.
    David McLeary Sheldon, aka, Mac Lethal, will perform Sunday night at the Rialto.

    There’s more to hip-hop than bitches and buying Bentleys.

    Sadly, that’s most of what you’ll find on MTV and conventional radio. It’s this type of content that has turned off many music fans from hip-hop. Due to a few bad eggs, the genre has been stigmatized as stupid and sub-par.

    Rhymesayers Entertainment acts as an antithesis to mainstream drivel. The Minneapolis-based record label has a roster containing some of today’s most creative musicians. That’s creative in terms of all musicians – not just rappers.

    Atmosphere, Brother Ali and MF Doom are three of the label’s high-profile acts. Each has made a name for itself with thought-provoking rhymes and soul-shaking beats. The label’s lesser-known acts are also nothing to scoff at.

    One such artist is David McLeary Sheldon, better known as Mac Lethal. The Kansas City rapper echoes Eminem with his introspective, irreverent verses. Pop culture references and random impoliteness are distributed throughout his new album, 11:11.

    The track “”Calm Down Baby”” showcases Sheldon’s witty rap. He begins by proclaiming that he’ll “”whoop your mom’s ass”” if you make fun of his accent. If that’s not enough, he tells the listener his music taste is superior. After the facetious insult comes another: “”I used to like Tool until they made the same album that they made the last time …and only stoners listen to their music, it’s silly.””

    Sheldon is currently traveling alongside Atmosphere and other Rhymesayers artists in a tour slated to come through Tucson this weekend. While Atmosphere is likely to draw the majority of fans to the show, Sheldon isn’t worried if fans aren’t familiar with Mac Lethal.

    He’s excited about he opportunity to open for the high-profile act, but it won’t change his performance. According to Sheldon, there’s no need to put more effort into an opening spot to gain fans.

    “”No matter who you are, you have to give it your all or you’re a clown,”” he said.

    While releasing an album on Rhymesayers and touring with Atmosphere is a major accomplishment for any indie rapper, Sheldon said he feels it’s just “”another step”” in his career. If Eminem’s success is any indication, Mac Lethal is destined to become a household name.

    Another Rhymesayers artist coming along for the ride is Grayskul. The Seattle group is composed of Onry Ozzborn and JFK, members of the collective Oldominion. Grayskul’s tunes, often described as dark, are intense concoctions of deep vocals and badass beats.

    But Grayskul isn’t so-called “”gangsta rap”” by any stretch of the imagination. It’s the type of music that can appeal to fans of Black Eyed Peas but still gain the respect of hip-hop purists.

    While Atmosphere is headlining the current tour, JFK sees it as an opportunity for Rhymesayers to show its stuff.

    “”The whole show, collectively, is one big thing,”” JFK said. “”It shows that Rhymesayers has diverse artists.””

    Grayskul’s newest album, Bloody Radio, is a 15-track effort that even indie rock hipsters can get behind. “”Missing”” is a great song that features guest vocals from Andrea Zollo, vocalist of the now-defunct Pretty Girls Make Graves.

    Bloody Radio certainly has an ominous mood, but dark may not be the best adjective. JFK thinks other acts offer much darker material with some serious subject matter. Rather, he said Grayskul “”taps into the spiritual side of things.””

    Atmosphere, Mac Lethal and Grayskul perform Sunday night at the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St. Doors for the all-ages show open at 7 p.m., with music starting at 8 p.m. Tickets are $17 on the day of the show.

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