Mac Irv has been steadily building a following since releasing his free debut Certified Magnet
in 2011, thanks to a unique approach to storytelling raps and a mass quantity of music videos. Ahead of his slot at this Sunday's Soundset at Canterbury Park, Gimme Noise sat down with the Northside rapper to ask about his upcoming project Sincerely Mac Irv
Soundset 2014 set times revealed via official app
What was your reaction to hearing you made the Soundset lineup?
I was excited, just for the simple fact that we didn't expect to be on there this year. We were kind of past it, we were thinking about the next move. [When] we got the e-mail, it was an exciting feeling. Of course [the line-up] didn't come out yet, so we couldn't tell nobody for like two weeks. It was hard to hold it in. I was really excited about it, man.
I've always liked the way they incorporate local artists from different sides of scene.
Definitely, I think that's dope. It gives people the opportunity to see the local talent at a large scale. At Soundset, they have people from all over the country come. You could do something that will stick with these people, now you gotta fan in maybe Lousiana or maybe Texas... I think that's how artists grow like that.
Plus being on the same bill as rappers like Nas or 2 Chainz...
Just to be on that same list, on the same bill as them, it's amazing. If I stop rapping after Soundset, I can say I was on the same bill as Nas. That's dope.
You recently released a video for "No Place Like Home." Is that from an upcoming project?
Yep, that project is called Sincerely Mac Irv. It's basically gonna be like my letter to the people, asking for support, telling them what I'm doing, this is how I've been doing his life... It's sincere, everything that I do is sincere.
"No Place Like Home" uses a relationship with a woman as a metaphor for Minnesota, but you've done a number of local pride songs.
[I] hated when people say they hate Minnesota. When [I] grew up, people would say that, like, "I'm getting out. I don't like this, I'm ready to leave outta here." I'll just be like, well, leave! I've always been the type to love my city. If you don't want a place to be looked at a certain way, that's our job to change that. And I'm prideful. Minnesota to me is cool. I like the diversity, I like how laid back it is, I like how cool it is, and you know what? This is what we're gonna represent, and we're gonna make it look cool. People are gonna respect what we're doing here. That's why I represent it so hard.
Hopefully when I get to that next level, I'll still be able to show them. Anywhere I go, people are like, "Man, you're kinda different, I didn't know Minnesota was like that." That's how we're like, we're cool, we're laid back. This is just how it is. People try to stray away from Minnesota... On a national level, people [are] gonna think Minnesota's like this and this and this, so [rappers won't] represent this because people might say it's lame. It's like, nah. Show 'em, show 'em through your work and show 'em through your character what this is and what you represent. Just do your job if you're an artist.
You played college basketball for years before devoting yourself to music after an injury. What was that transition like?
It's been about two and a half years now when I first got started. The thing about it is, when I first got started I jumped in it right away, it wasn't no one foot in one foot out. I didn't care what anybody thought about it. I'm a man of faith, and I believe in myself, and I believe when God closes a door he opens the next one for me, and I just jumped in it. I got great feedback. If I would have jumped in and people was like, oh that's weak, or if nobody was sharing the videos except my friends, nobody really liked the music, I would've said, you know what, this ain't for me. But I got a lot of good feedback, so I just kept at it, and it grew and it grew and it grew. Two and a half years later, I end up on Soundset. I had tagged Kevin Beacham in a [Facebook] post, and had like 600 likes, 200 comments, like, "Mac Irv needs to be on Soundset!" Those people don't do that for no reason, they do that because they believe in the music and they understand what it's about, they understand what it represents on a higher level.