The collective hype of David ‘Mac Lethal’ Sheldon’s 11:11 release has been tainted with mixed reviews and forum rants. Bypassing the near slander Scratch magazine printed about 11:11 before they folded, this critic disregarded opinions altogether before listening to the record. Mac announced signing with independent powerhouse, Rhymesayers in 2005. He began writing and recording his album immediately, and within a few months of jovial blogging, he claimed 11:11 was complete and was patiently waiting for label head, Sadiq Sayer’s approval. Two years later, his debut becomes as “long awaited and most anticipated” as Non Phixion’s The Future is Now in 2002. Without further ado, let’s throw it in the deck and see what’s up!
We start with Mac telling a story from the roof of a factory on “Backward”, a modern Lethal-in-Wonderland adventure depicting a man whose life was destroyed and rebuilt. From disclaimers to holding his dying mother, Mac starts a little slow and then bursts into deep unchallenging lyrical aggression over a mystic beat that should be on the Fable 2 video game. On “Calm Down Baby”, our Grandmothers are threatened if we clown his hick accent, and we’re told his music taste is better than ours. His first taste of heartbreak is told from a middle school perspective and it’s hard to believe this guy is 25 years old.
“Rotten Apple Pie” tells more school stories of purple trapper keepers and Mac getting pregnant with Ava Gardner’s children. His rhyme style is heavily influenced by Slug, equipped with fantasy references and Mac’s own computer love twang. DJ Sku lays not quite four bars of mediocre cuts at the end. “Make Out Bandit” is an adolescent song about making out with women and never talking to them again. The chorus and Mac’s Nate Dogg impression are no more than dull. Skipping to “Pound That Beer”, the song comes off as an energetic beer chant that is really hard to sit through as well. His double-time flow is off and it would probably be more entertaining to watch this song live than hear it in the car.
“Jihad” is another anti-religion, pro-alcoholism slap to corporate America’s face with Snuffleupagus and Darwin references, while hailing George Carlin. Don’t ask. “I’ll go back to church when the Chiefs win the Super bowl,” he proclaims. Next, the song
“Crazy” has a “Soulja Boy Tellem” meets The Three Amigos style beat. If you can get over the simple chorus concept, you might enjoy the multi-syllabic rhymes about Carlos Mencia and being a Kansas City piece of Euro-Trash. Eminem would be proud of his mentee.
You don’t need a song titled, “Know It All” to realize Mac thinks that way. The production has another video game vibe with drums that sound like they were sponsored by Tinker Toys. His flow is a complete Slug bite. While the content is in-depth, the style is noticeably bitten, which is the cardinal sin. “Sledgehammer” is a solid song with a fierce rhyme pattern over an almost reggaeton track. Thicker drums enhance the listening pleasure on this one. Bravo!
“Die Slow” has a brilliant acoustic guitar sample and tribal beat. The harmonica was a great touch. Mac cries, “I swear to God there’s something trying to steal my sound” in the chorus, while trying to explain how he’s a rapper that doesn’t like rap and introduce us to the disease that grows under his skin. “Lithium Lips” is an enjoyable love story over an “I Dream of Genie” on heroin type beat. “Girls learn sexiness, women teach class.” By this point, it’s safe to say that Slug wants his style back. “Tell Me Goodbye” is a shot at political and revolutionary rappers. Nestled safe in his upper-class Overland Park, Kansas City home, Mac never had a struggle to fight for, so he’s unable to fathom the reasons for resistance. “Sun Storm” touches on homosexual marriage, alcoholism, rainstorms, and beautiful things in his grasp. The beat is Dove Shack influenced.
The bonus track, 11 Out of 10 is one of the best songs on the album. Mac snaps on a level that would make Chino XL extend his hand. The beat pounds hard with the rhythm of Elizabeth Taylor’s heart. There are definitely corny parts to this album, but Mac’s creative wordplay draws you back to the songs and beats you enjoy most. As a whole, the album is inbetween tolerable and enjoyable. – Aaron James White
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