He’s keeping it one hundo for us
Introducing a Massachusetts Asian-American native and a truly talented hip hopper in the scene, Rex Mac. This young lyrical master and hypnotic maestro has been working on music for years now. He is also a journalist for Know Your Scene, but of course devotes his time and love to his one true craft.
Since 2012, Rex has been transforming noise into ferocious, elegant tracks (but the passion really began when he was just 12). With a keen eye for the matching of sounds, this artist took his abilities to a whole new level when creating his recent project ABLOOM, which released this year. He demonstrates his competence and expertise in what he does each day, and it shows through the production of this album, which he did all on his own- wrote, produced, and mastered.
The songwriter mentions, “It took me four years to make Abloom, so I felt like a wholly new person by the time I finished it. I named the album after all of its songs were made, and the title just made sense. The image of a big, open flower that Abloom brings to mind was an effective way for me to visually reference vulnerability, honesty, life, the women in mine, and an overall born again feeling. Also, it’s kind of close to the word, ‘album,’ no?”
ABLOOM was created to discuss a deeper and darker topic that many are afraid to express transparently, and Rex made sure to be there to represent the masses. It is an album that touches upon the impacts of detrimental mental health and the thoughts and needs of those affected by it. With each track, he reaches into the soul and brings out the topics that matter most: doubt, self-love and relationships, and understanding. ABLOOM is bursting with various shining colors, vibes, and emotions. “Every song on Abloom tackles the idea of what it is to be your best self. For me, the album’s 10 tracks were simply the songs that materialized when I personally resolved to no longer let depression or anxiety suffocate my day to day. Those two themes have formed and still somewhat drive my narrative, but now I make my demons work for me. I use them as a means to let my listeners know they’re not alone.”
ABLOOM has received praise and review from such publications as Allston Pudding, Boston Hassle, Millennial Noise, and Mmmmaven.
In an interview with Allston Pudding, the artist recalls, “Songs on the record that sound overly happy were actually made in moments I felt pretty down about myself and my lack of movement in life. In those moments, now that I look back, I think those songs materialized because I was writing love songs to myself in a time when I needed encouragement. ”
The album starts out with the title track, “Abloom”, which is the best intro for this compilation of ingenuity. Following that is “The World is Not Enough”, which is a fun, fast-paced single that kind of sounds like an acoustic version of a video game track. “East Meets West” is a witty tune that features a past GMAD-reviewed artist, Rowlan, a good friend of Rex’s.
To compare and contrast Rex’s music, he reminds you of new day Cam Meekins meets old-school Snoop Dogg & Slick Rick. The music itself is an impressive experimental sound like Kid Cudi’s, but incorporating more 90s West Coast G Funk and Kanye West millennial, forceful simplicity. All the beats are melodious, which is what I think I love most about his music. A healthy balance of tunes and tones, with smart, sincere lyrics.
“How To Be Alone” is a track about learning to be isolated with oneself . What is very artistic and intriguing about his sounds too are that many of them lead down an unbeaten path of tempo change and rhythmic distortion into a whole new sounding song. It gives listeners a chance at a fresh new experience all in the same the track. At the end of this song, it concludes with a little Frank Sinatra-esque riff, without the autotune and just the raw vocals of Rex, telling the sincere truth of emotion.
“Mantra” is a bumpin’ track that gets you movin’ to the tempo, and the strings are an interesting touch giving it a more spiritual experience.
The whole album in its entirety is like a spoken journal of a man’s thoughts and emotions as he goes through his day, in his own narrative voice and locked inside the chambers of his own mind. “Sonically, I had a blast making the beats for this album. They’re quirky… minimalist. I had the Konmari method in mind when I selected sounds for its songs. The song, ‘The World Is Not Enough,’ doesn’t have a single kick drum or hi hat. ‘Rogues’ doesn’t have a single snare. There are secret songs not mentioned in the album’s tracklist. I wanted to give listeners a deep world to wander”, relays the artist.
The retro hip hop tunes are honestly really invigorating because we don’t really hear this kind of sound anymore. “One Hundo” gives us a taste of that. The whines of the 808’s and the slow and smooth flow of the voice and words remind you to appreciate the history of hip hop. Rex perfectly reflects that sound. Definitely my top pick on the album!
I wanted to understand what Rex thought of the current climate of the Massachusetts music scene, especially since there are so many talented ones out there, but such an underground niche hidden beneath the surface of it all. He thoughtfully answered:
“People keep asking why I never moved to New York or Los Angeles upon graduating college to pursue music, implying that the creative grounds are infertile out here. I’ve chosen to remain firmly planted in Massachusetts because I see all of its personality and potential. This is why when I’m not performing I’m writing articles on Boston artists and their backstories. I’m invested in why people do what they do, especially in an area where the infrastructure isn’t as supportive as it should be. Human spirit in the face of resilience is gangster. I thrive off the energy of our underdogs and channel it into my own work”. The artist proceeds with his reasoning:
“Massachusetts is so heavily revered for its leaders and establishments..from academia, to medical advancement, to sports. But for some reason, only a small number of the scene’s current hip hop artists are brought up in national conversation. I’m happy for all of Token and Joyner Lucas’s recent success, but I see so many more hip hop folk out here really executing thoughtful, creative visions.”
He also mentioned that even the female music and art scene is rising and is very strong. He offers a few suggestions of women that are currently making waves of their own to see for ourselves, such as Jamilah Unique’s multi-genre showcase Art Plug; hip hop artist Oompa’s album, November 3rd; Amanda Shea’s Hope Inc. Showcase; and Anna Rae’s All Together Now POC/LGBTQ/Female focused showcase. “Ultimately, I just want to see a futurist rise out of Massachusetts. I want to see a Kanye or Pharrell pop up out of Boston. I’m not sure who it’ll be, but I won’t stop working till I see that person emerge” enthusiastically chimes the sonic connoisseur.
Rex is working hard, and putting his heart and soul, and every inch of being that there is of him in it. He’s proving that and no question will this artist be able to rise to more fame in which everything will finally blossom and bloom into a stunning career.
To hear more of Rex’s tracks off the album, listen HERE.
Also: Check Out This Exclusive Playlist of Some of Rex’s Favorite Tracks Right Now Both In & Out of Boston!