Mac Lethal (real name David McCleary Sheldon) has repped the Midwest for the past 12 years, since the second he started entering rap battles in high school. Quickly acquiring a reputation as a fearless competitor, he earned a spot at the 2001 Scribble Jam and took second place, which sent his career in a new direction. Armed with an arsenal of comedic lyrics accentuated by his articulate, rapid-fire delivery, he attracted the attention of Brent Sayers (AKA Siddiq), CEO of Rhymesayers Entertainment. In 2004, he signed with the reputable Minneapolis label and put out his well-received debut, 11:11. The track “Sun Storm” was included on the soundtrack to MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew, which is still his number one downloaded track off that album. When questioned about his loyalty to the underground scene, he was unfazed and, true to character, had a smart-ass answer. “I don’t give a f*** about MTV anymore. That was an underground culture being represented. As long as we’re getting MTV money, f*** it. I think it’s better to go in and take their money. I don’t give a shit about the mainstream as long as I don’t have to compromise,” Sheldon says. “If you don’t have to compromise, do it. Oh, and by the way, Justin Bieber is way more talented than those damn Jonas Brothers [laughs].” Since then, Mac has been all over the place. Released from his Rhymesayers contract last year, he picked up where he left off with his own Kansas City-based underground hip-hop label, Black Clover Records, which he co-founded in 2006. “The split from Rhymesayers was completely amicable. They’re awesome. I got frustrated and a little impatient which is a flaw of mine. They are doing well as an indie label. I was being a brat and wanted more attention. Maybe it’s just a matter of me being a control freak,“ he says. “I wanted to have all the attention and all the energy focused on me. So I decided I better just take it on myself. It was really just a bunch of my flaws and insecurities. It was me being an asshole. They were all great about it.” Currently touring in support of, well, nothing, Mac Lethal stays faithful to his DIY ethics and belief that Black Clover is a tight-knit family unmatched by any independent label standing today. He plans on branching into other areas. “I want to make short films and keep going the extra mile. I’d like to do a couple of Grindtime Now battles. That would be cool. This current tour is in support of me wanting to go on tour [laughs]. I think too many artists go out just to support records,” he says. “I have an overwhelming amount of requests from people that just want to see my live show again. I guess I’m kind of touring in support of Love Potion 6 , but not really. I’m playing 34 shows in 37 days this time around. And it’s also Black Clover all day. It’s this gang I started. We can help people and manage people, but the only way you leave Black Clover is by death. It’s just my shit [laughs].” If anything, Mac Lethal is always doing Mac. His refreshingly honest and lucid rhymes mesh just right with his off-the-wall humor. Hip-hop is more often than not an extremely egocentric genre, so it’s a pleasant surprise to come across an emcee who checks his attitude at the door. “You have to be humble. If you’re not Kanye West or Celine Dion, who the f*** are you? Even if you are Celine, who the f*** are you!? Sometimes fans overstep their boundaries. That has nothing to do with me thinking I’m too cool,” he assures. “It’s just a shame to see artists that sell 100, 000 records and then have an ego. They are still peasant human beings. We all have gross bodily functions that happen. We are all human. It’s just a shame. Everybody’s f***ed up.” “I’m looking forward to playing Omaha again and just connecting with the crowd. I can improvise an entire show. We don’t have an ultra-rehearsed set. We can do really polished shows, too, though,” he continues. “A lot of people love my shows because I make people feel that they’re seeing a show that’s special, one that they will never see again. I get certain fans that yell out alcohol-induced shit and if they go too far, I’ll make sure they know about it. The audience usually appreciates that.” Mac Lethal performs with F.Stokes and Conchance, Nov. 22, at The Waiting Room, 6212 Maple St., at 9 p.m. Tickets are $12. Visit

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