Review Summary: I'll take you on a journey into Absolutely Nowhere
Artists will often hint at moments of brutal honesty, sharing the life altering proclivities of being beaten the f*ck down, grasping for straws against an impossible force manically laughing its ass off as it kicks your face down in the dirt. Sometimes this brevity is forced, a means to move records, and sometimes its real, installing camaraderie led correlation, a relation that you and the artist have both wondered whether the hell it’s worth it to keep coming back for more. This can be labeled a form of catharsis, and it’s a part of art, an essential component in music, wearing its heart on the sleeve of multiple genres. The merits of translating emotional pain in its most honest form aside, most will agree we usually don’t see this sh*t in Hip-Hop.
Mac Lethal’s catharsis begins with a foreboding, ominous acoustic guitar. When the opening chords of “Absolutely Nowhere” fire off the omnipresent canvas of personal torment that is his opus “The Original 11:11 Sessions,” its immediately apparent we are in for something different, something saturated with depth, far beyond jockin' hoe’s and pimp slappin' shorties with 40's. “Absolutely Nowhere” is the perfect microcosm of the album’s surgical depiction of real life depression, a song so mind blowingly gut wrenching that if it doesn’t have an immediate impact feel free to consider yourself either the luckiest person alive or a budding socio-path incapable of connecting to emotion.
The majority of Mac’s mission to eradicate personal demons follows suit as he “unstitches his skin” on a ride that is brutally self-aware, sadistically comical at times, delivered with a rapier wit and always on point. This might come across as Hip-Hop for adults, as the majority of themes presented (miscarriages, death of family members, ruthless, life sucking baby mommas, drug addiction, and suicidal tendencies) chalk up to sh*t that you pray never happens to you, and if it does it better damn well happen after adolescence, yet there are connections to amost anyone who's been through an epic sh*tstorm or two. We’ve all been dissed by women out of our league (Toad), but few are capable of describing it like it just happened in your life like Mac can. We’ve all felt the poisonous sting of unrelenting, soul-crushing rejection and loss (Epilogue), but the three chord girlish diaries of pop punk bands do not come within a mile of accurately depicting how real this sh*t is in comparison. Perhaps Mac’s greatest redemption is while his honesty is masterful, his grasp of the English language is almost unmatched, delivering metaphors you couldn’t think of in your best wet dream, all while managing to throw in a few fun moments (Bareknuckle Chris), brilliant pop culture social commentary (Sketchbook, he’s right, f*ck Applebee’s), and unrelenting catchy flows (Shotgun, Bloom, Hammered In). Yes, this ride is dark and tears open wounds apart, yet Mac is smart enough to deliver needed installments of levity, all perfectly executed and astonishingly catchy.
“The Original 11:11 Sessions” is an amazing achievement of art. It’s the chronicle of a brilliant mind tearing itself to pieces, laying its soul bare at the altar of self-contemplation, deprecation, perfectly expressing the metaphorical duality of trying to figure out just what the f*ck life is all about while realizing its probably your own damn fault you have not achieved this knowledge. It’s a trip into despair that still manages to execute the necessary components of hip hop to a tee, and most importantly, it’s unveiling of closet skeletons just sounds and feels right. Mac delivers a textbook of purging despair on this ride, but he’ll throw in a Seinfeld reference to keep you on your toes. One could only hope that when listening to “The Original 11:11 Sessions” that you cannot relate to Mac, but chances are you will in some way or form, and this relation is far more impactful than the usual knowing nod from a favorite song. Mac knows that life is a bitch, but the only way to deal with it is to let it all out. “The Original 11:11 Sessions” is as good of a guide as any to beginning the healing process.