Mac Lethal
North Korean BBQ


4.0
excellent

Review

by Inveigh USER (10 Reviews)
April 5th, 2011 | 163 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Mac Lethal returns with his strongest work since OG 11:11.

By now it’s the stuff of legends (to some), but there was a time when Mac Lethal’s original magnum opus seemed like it would never see the light of day. However, when he finally dropped The Original 11:11 Sessions back in early 2009 (after nearly five years of delays), the polarizing emcee began gaining more of the widespread recognition that the fans who followed the Love Potion series always knew he deserved. At that point, Mac was fully independent, his Black Clover Records label was flourishing and between Love Potion 5, the Blood in the Water mixtape and the b-sides collection Keep It Irish, he sounded more comfortable and confident than ever before. This is where he flips the switch.

On North Korean BBQ, it’s not so much that Mac strays away from his typical subject matter (life, love and substance abuse, in brief), it’s as if he’s holding onto to those elements of self with such a white-knuckle grip that you can almost hear them slipping away. However, he seems strangely comfortable with it; as if the result is intentional – Mac knows he needs to let go and is recording the cathartic event as it unfolds on track. Whereas on past releases there would often be a mix of battle-style tracks, humorous social/political commentary and songs of deeply personal magnitude, North Korean BBQ prides itself on blending these traits into a single melting pot, exemplifying Mac Lethal’s growth as a lyricist, a story teller and an overall artist. The narrative of a failing relationship serves equally as the album’s storyline as it does a metaphor for the myriad of personal issues that accompany the transition into middle-age. It’s a concept that plays out beautifully and the accompanying soundtrack couldn’t be more fitting.

The album is backed by the strongest beats Mac’s ever had and the resulting effect is a cohesive collection of sounds wherein each individual element serves its purpose to the fullest – without sounding like overcompensation. The lush soundscapes (provided largely by consistent Mac collaborator Seven) are atmospheric and melodic while perfectly capturing the cold and wintery motif that provides the backdrop to many of the album’s themes. That’s not to say that this is solely a “winter album” though, as the number of upbeat and catchy tracks sprinkled throughout North Korean BBQ’s runtime wouldn’t sound out of place at a backyard Midwest summer barbeque or humming through a set of car speakers – windows down as cigarette ash flies in the wind. From chilly opener “Therapy for Gangsters,” to the minor-keyed acoustic slides and bluesy piano samples in “Citrus,” or the high-powered synths on the upbeat “My Favorite Song,” the album is varied yet consistent – and enjoyable for its entirety.

If The Original 11:11 Sessions was the story of a young man discovering himself amidst an array of adult problems then North Korean BBQ exposes the dichotomy of that same man attempting to adapt to life in his early 30s. Once again, Mac Lethal has made a statement about everyday life that’s relevant and sincere, deeply personal yet almost universally relatable. It’s an album about experiences, love found and lost, knowledge gained and wasted; but mostly it’s the next chapter in the ever-evolving story of the most underappreciated artist in hip-hop.



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user ratings (107)
Chart.
3.7
great
other reviews of this album
ConsiderPhlebas (4.5)
Be a man and get involved....

BigHans (4.5)
Kids always think they're smarter than adults until they grow up and realize life is much harder as ...


Comments:Add a Comment 
BigHans
April 5th 2011


26454 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

First

BigHans
April 5th 2011


26454 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Great review, Im almost afraid to try it now.

Album rules hard.

AggravatedYeti
April 5th 2011


7685 Comments


hahahaha love the avatar hans

kingsoby1
Emeritus
April 5th 2011


4957 Comments


i cant bring myself to listen to anymore mac lethal

BigHans
April 5th 2011


26454 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Im about the same age as Mac, so I can relate to pretty much every fucking thing he says on this record.

ConsiderPhlebas
April 5th 2011


6157 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'll be getting this with the quickness

Inveigh
April 5th 2011


25201 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

thanks guys. Sobhi, you might like this more than his previous stuff, but then again I'm not completely sure this is going to change anyone's mind about him either...

by the way, streaming and available for purchase here:

http://maclethal.bandcamp.com/album/north-korean-bbq-mixtape

well worth your time and money guys.

Digging: Nero Di Marte - Derivae

BigHans
April 5th 2011


26454 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

The beats on Warpaint and I'm Odd sound like he borrowed Kno during the Oneirology sessions to lay down a few sick jams. The beats on this are about 145% better than any previous album.

Inveigh
April 5th 2011


25201 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeah there isn't a single dud on here

it's an unmitigated travesty to call this a mixtape

Maniac!
April 5th 2011


26257 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Great review

Tyrael
April 5th 2011


20971 Comments


I didn't know you were such an excellent writer Inveigh!

Inveigh
April 5th 2011


25201 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

thanks guys, much appreciated

I enjoy writing, I just find myself too often in a frightening situation of being busy yet lazy and the 3 or 4 half-written reviews on my computer never get finished.

also, check this out Tyraelxy

Hawks
April 5th 2011


35837 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I haven't heard any Mac, but I'm gonna listen to this.

BigHans
April 5th 2011


26454 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

This might not be your style Hawks, but yeah try it anyway. Branch out from the gangsta.

Inveigh
April 5th 2011


25201 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this is probably 2nd to The Original 11:11 Sessions as far as my favorite Mac releases go

Love Potions 2, 4 and 5 are all really close though too

also, sup Hawkster

Hawks
April 5th 2011


35837 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah I'm willing to give it a shot anyways haha. And not much man, just chilling right now.

Tyrael
April 5th 2011


20971 Comments


check this out Tyraelxy

Sounds pretty cool so far.

Inveigh
April 5th 2011


25201 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Feel It in the Air is such a good song

BigHans
April 5th 2011


26454 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

It is, and it sounds like he wrote it in like 10 minutes

Emim
April 5th 2011


26675 Comments


inb4 a massive thread



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