Underground Update: On Mack OC’s newest project, women do the talking

Twin Cities hip-hop and R&B artist Mack OC reimagines his original songs on his upcoming project, the deluxe version of his newest mixtape.

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Audrey Rauth

Musician Mack OC poses for a portrait outside of the Voya Financial building on Thursday, March 25. Mack OC is planning on releasing a deluxe version of his most recent mixtape, “Write Back.”

Frankie Carlson

Whether recording over a hard-hitting trap beat, an atmospheric and emotional guitar track or a captivating a capella arrangement, local artist Mack OC leaves it all on the table. Mack’s newest mixtape, “Write Back,” released in December 2020, showcased his versatility as an artist tackling the highs and lows of relationships and his personal experiences with love and loss.

Only a few months after its original release, Mack is preparing to drop the deluxe edition of “Write Back.” A response of sorts to the original project, the deluxe will highlight the woman’s perspective of Mack’s love songs. Partnering with several female artists and musicians, “Write Back (Deluxe)” will feature Mack’s material reimagined with an R&B focus. With portions of the material based on words from Mack’s exes themselves, the Twin Cities MC hopes the project will be an empowering addition to his December release.

“Me showing my side is only one side of the story. It’s not the full story,” Mack said. “Talking about these love experiences, it may make me seem that I am the victim in all of these different stories, or I was the hero and they were the problem. I know that subconsciously it’s going to always end up coming out that way, but having the deluxe gives me a chance to have women on here come and speak their own side and tell their own truths.”

Born and raised in the Twin Cities, Mack has been passionate about music since childhood. He says he spent his elementary school years trying to learn all of the words and dances to Usher and Justin Bieber videos.

Mack’s manager and sister, Kelly Ibekwe, said Mack has always had an interest in performing.

“In a sister way, he’s always been the obnoxious center of attention,” Ibekwe said. “He was always in talent shows with his peers, and he really enjoyed it. He enjoys being on stage; he enjoys making people smile and showing off his musical talent. It’s just been something he’s always had.”

Audio engineer and musician, Jalen Johnson a.k.a. “Itzahpollo,” has been working with and producing for Mack since high school. Johnson respects Mack’s adaptability as an artist and his level-headed approach to his music.

“He’s always open to new ideas and new changes to something. A lot of rappers and in hip-hop, a lot of people like to have over-cockiness or an over-the-top aesthetic, but he’s extremely humble. He’s an extremely chill dude to work with.”

Mack plans to continue recording and hopes to release more songs in 2021. He hopes that listeners will resonate with his stories and that his work will continue to represent his whole self.

“I’m a strong believer in what is real shall prosper,” Mack said. “Talking about a topic such as love, especially as a Black male or just a male in general, it’s often seen as a weakness to a lot of people in today’s day and age, and I just wanted to show a different perspective. I’m trying to represent, and I’m trying to be a voice for whoever can’t talk about it.”