Kali Mac is a Long Island, NY based rap artist who just released a very DOPE fifteen track mixtape entitled "Grown Ass Kid", featuring a track/visual that we're loving right now -- "Never Gon' Lie". We connected with Kali to pick his brain about his new mixtape, the rap landscape in Long Island, his upcoming show on the 24th at the Amity Music Hall and much more.
After reading this exclusive Q&A with Kali Mac, be sure to follow him on social media, stream "Grown Ass Kid" and definitely share it with some friends!
We're big fans of your new single/visual "Never Gon' Lie". What motivated you to create that song? And what message are you conveying in the song?
First off I wanna say I appreciate you guys showing me love and giving me this opportunity. The story about how "Never Gon' Lie" came to life is actually kind of funny; it was written about a year ago in my car outside a halal food truck. I was actually supposed to meet some friends earlier that day but they flopped on me, and I can't even remember exactly what we were meeting for but I remember it being important to me at the time. So I'm sitting in my car with the stank face eating this halal food, and I'm like "You know what? Let me put a beat on." So I went to this old beat tape I had started listening too a few days prior by DJ Young Kash and started going through the rest of the beats, and when the "Never Gon' Lie" beat came on and the hook came in I immediately sang the first line: "If you my nigga just don't lie to me 'cause I promise I'm never gon' lie to you." And from there I just kept writing until I had the full song.
Although it was inspired by a petty situation I believe the message is much bigger and something that many different people can relate to. "Never Gon' Lie" is just about staying loyal and being true to your people, whoever they may be. The range of things that could relate to is large and I tried to incorporate that throughout the song. In one line I'm talking about someone getting cuffed up with a significant other and forgetting about their friend, and in another line I'm talking about somebody getting shot because they didn't know their homie for who they really were. It's all about keeping it 100.
Tell us about life as a rap artist in Long Island. Would you say that music coming from your area of NY is overlooked?
LONG ISLAND IS COMPLETELY OVERLOOKED AND IT'S RIDICULOUS! The sheer amount of talent and versatility with artists from the island is insane, but we STILL go unnoticed. I think part of it is when people hear Long Island they automatically think Hamptons and big mansions, which makes them discredit us. I live in Hempstead and it's not to brag about, but it's pretty messed up over here. I think it's more of people not being informed on Long Island and the different areas, therefore making assumptions about who we are. Part of the blame is on us too though. A lot of Long Island artists have this mentality where they want to be "the one". We all know how little influence Long Island has in the music industry and everyone wants to be "the one" to put Long Island on. This causes people to hate on anyone that's closer to being "the one" than they are. We gotta realize that if we come together and really support each other it won't even matter who gets put on first because we'll all be on when it happens.
If "Never Gon' Lie" is any indication of what we can expect from "Grown Ass Kid", we are all in for a really DOPE mixtape. Tell us about this new project; where it can be streamed/downloaded?
Grown Ass Kid is out NOW on SoundCloud! Soon to come to more streaming sites but wherever I upload the project too it will be 100% FREE. I'm not interest in Apple Music, Tidal etc; the only reason "Never Gon Lie" is on Spotify is because a good friend told me to at least upload the single. I don't really believe in selling my music because people don't buy music anymore and most artists barely make money off of record sales. As a kid I very rarely bought music when LimeWire was a click away. I would feel hypocritical trying to charge people to buy my mixtape. Maybe my opinion will change in the future, who knows.
But Grown Ass Kid has been in the works for almost two years now. I was originally gonna record 100 songs and pick the best ones, which is an idea I got from an interview with PartyNextDoor. I was about 9 or 10 songs in when Chance The Rapper dropped a song by the same name: "Grown Ass Kid". I heard it and I was inspired, and after having it on repeat for who knows how many times I had an epiphany on how I could flip the whole concept of his song and turn it into a mixtape. His song speaks about being a grown ass kid in more of a negative light and people looking at him like he's still just a kid even though he's grown. This mixtape is about how I want to be a Grown Ass Kid and balancing the "grown" and "kid" aspects of my life. But yeah, shoutout to Chance The Rapper too; he's one of the reasons why I'm such a firm believer in free music.
With "Grown Ass Kid" dropping, what are your goals musically for the remainder of 2017 beyond that project?
It's all about Grown Ass Kid baby! I'm dropping 3 or 4 more music videos within the next few months, and really I'm just going to be promoting this project. This is almost two years in the making and I don't want to just drop it then a month later leave it alone and start working on another project. I really believe this mixtape is going to be the start of something very big. While my focus is on Grown Ass Kid I do have a nice amount of songs in the vault right now. Songs that almost made the mixtape and songs that I've just been sitting on for a while now. So this definitely won't be the only Mac music you hear this year.
What's up with your upcoming show on the 24th at the Amity Music Hall?
So I'm headling my own show for the first time: "The Grown Ass Show". I love preforming and after a few rocky starts on the stage I feel I finally got my mojo. I have some performance vids on my Instagram (@itsthemac_) that look real dope. But for the show my bro/rapping partner Turbeazy bought out the venue with a few other people. I'm the headliner but all of the rappers from my area that I really mess with are on the bill preforming. Its all of us preforming, bringing our friends and fans together for a dope Saturday night. It's really gonna be a crazy night.