Written by Keshav Pandya
In a time when rap and hip-hop have become one of the most popular forms of music in America, it’s become harder for newer artists to climb the ladder to the mainstream success.
More than that, it has become harder for listeners to relate to the lyrics of rappers talking about their gold chains, paychecks, and ten-story homes the common man can’t even think of affording.
Therefore, a new rap artist with a swagger of his own and the ability to relate to the common kid has become difficult to find in this day and age of hip hop.
But such is not the case when one comes across name of Huey Mack, a new rapper and hip-hop artist from West Virginia.
Mack, coming to the Lab at GameChanger World in Howell, New Jersey on August 5, garnered popularity since his free mixtape, A Boy Named Hue, charted third on the iTunes Rap/Hip Hop section in 2012.
Popular for his multitude of songs and mixtapes ranging from dance numbers to soulful rhymes, Mack released his second album, Things Change, this past June.
While for many artists today, rapping begins in the studio, for Huey, it all started in a high school classroom, where his love for the music grew so much that he later released his first mixtape, Wish Me Luck.
Pop-Break recently spoke with Huey Mack, a newcomer in the world of hip hop and music, on his thoughts about the upcoming event, future plans, music, and how it all began.
To start off, how did the journey begin? Was there always a thirst for music, or love for the hip-hop culture from the start?
Yeah there was. My step-dad used to be a host for a radio morning show in West Virginia, and so I grew around the music world. I would always be around new artists and labels. I would always write music as well in high school, and in my free time. By my senior year of high school, I actually started recording music.
What was you first song since you started so early?
The first song was basically a joke that I made about my high school football team with a bunch of my friends. (Laughs) People liked it and so I started making more songs. And then, people started liking that too.
With people liking your current music and your fandom growing, do you think there’s a motive behind that music you make? Do you think there’s something you want people to take away from the songs you create?
Honestly, I just want to tell my story, and I think my story is super relatable. I mean there’s the party music, but there are also the personal songs that a lot of these kids relate to. If I can help anyone through my songs, then that would be awesome.
I was actually listening to “A Boy Named Hue,” and you see a lot of what you’re saying right now. The whole album seems to be about your personal story and things kids can relate to everyday. Is that the sort of music you like to make?
Yes exactly. These mixtapes are about me, and everyone else that can relate to me. It’s about the most average human-being. A sensitive, wild kid. Basically, a giant ball of everything. Something everyone can relate to.(Laughs)
That’s amazing. You just released a new album in June titled, Things Change. How’s this album different from the other ones like Pretending Perfection?
I lived in New York City for a bit, then back to West Virginia, and then moved to LA permanently while I was making the music. So, it was titled Things Change, because music has allowed me to move and see newer places all the time. It was cool to wake up in LA every morning and work on this album, in a newer setting.
As an audience member, in both of those albums you can see different things and concepts all the time. What was the state of mind when you dive into those different types of songs? From deep and soulful music to party songs…
It’s all about moods changing. Again, something the crowd and the fans can all relate to. Sometimes you feel like proving yourself to others. Sometimes you feel sad and bland. That’s what you see in this album. There is the cocky trap song, and then there are soft songs. I think that was what I wanted to do in my first album, Pretending Perfection. I wanted to prove my worth, and show that I’m not a nobody. I kind of had that mentality in that album, and then moods change as time goes on.
You’re definitely an idol and an influence for many kids and also upcoming artists. But who was your idol in the hip-hop world when you were growing up?
In the hip-hop world, definitely Kanye. Especially, because when I was growing up, he was the only one who showed that rap didn’t need to be a gangster’s music form. He showed the sensitive side, and a whole new outlook towards rap and even music as a whole. You know, he showed that you could wear anything, even a backpack, and become a big time rapper. I was definitely influenced by him, and I’m sure people like me can enter the hip-hop world because of him.
I definitely agree. What do you listen to now, besides your own music?
I’m kind of everywhere. I like some Ed Sheeran. These days, I’ve been hooked on to some Passion Pit, Wale, and Drake, like everyone else. I like some rock music as well. You can see an influence of that in some of my songs.
That wide range of music is something you can see in your songs. When you make these songs, do you have a certain environment or comfort zone you like to be in? How do you make your music?
It’s always different, and honestly, it can be anywhere. Sometimes you’re walking and an idea comes. At that time, I take a piece of paper, and write down a rough idea so I don’t forget. Each time it’s something different. Rap is an art form, just like music in general. And like artists, you can get an idea anywhere at any time. It’s a myriad of feelings that you can get at many times in life. That’s the beauty of it.
Did you find a certain song or the making of a certain a song in this album to be your favorite or something that stayed with you the most? Or a certain song that you loved making and experiencing as a whole?
I loved working on the Intro song of “Things Change.” There was a certain feeling I had while making it. Especially because it was also the first time I used live instrumentation and freestyle chords, with a guitar. Also, 11:11 was something I loved making. The process as a whole was surreal.
I really liked “11:11” as well. Finally, as far as GameChanger World goes, what should fans like me expect to see?
Thanks man. And the crowd should be ready for a big party! (Laughs) It’s a great atmosphere. I just want to have a great time with everyone and those who come out. There’s going to lots of energy for sure.
Any insider scoop, one what you’ll be performing?
It’s going to be an intimate environment. It’ll be a giant mix of all of my songs ranging from Freshman 15, one of first songs, to songs from Things Change. The crowd will have a great time and so will I for sure!
Huey Mack performs at The Lab at GameChanger World in Howell with Cam Meekins and Futuristic. Click here for tickets.