Credit: Tom MacDonald via Youtube

CULTURE: The most dangerous man in America

“And the grammy award goes to:” Definitely not Tom Mac Donald! Not in a million years.

Unless of course he becomes bigger than the Grammys –which is not an impossibility- and they come crawling on their ailing, failing, broke knees.

Mac Donald, a provocative polemicist, has amassed a substantial catalogue of extremely well produced rap songs focusing on contemporary social issues. But who on the inside of the music industry is going to come out with the lyrics:

“let’s talk about abortion
Sorry tell me how this works
Bacteria is life on mars
but a heartbeat isn’t life on earth”

 

Tom Mac Donald is a dangerous man and he is kicking the music industry in the groin. This guy knows how to get attention, and more importantly, he knows how to exploit it when he gets it.

To use the language of the left, he provokes a disruption of the hegemonic intersectional dialectical framework. He crosses the borders of allowed identicentric discourse from the position of the marginal.

In human speak this means he mocks the left, he criticises their institutions and refuses to be bound by their rules.

His videos are visually compelling and his music production is inventive, boiling with energy, absolutely crammed with attitude, and at the absolute top level of technical production.  The treatment on Mac Donald’s voice frequently shifts with the cadence of the pads giving a thickening energy at calculated moments. It’s a ballistic rollercoaster ride of massive bass rhythms, skillfully crafted lyrics, and syncopations.

Then there is Mac Donald! A massive Viking of a man, dressed in tattoos, and spitting soul-searching clarity. A controlled rage; a dark truth; a searing and fearless oracle; you couldn’t dream up a better branding avatar.

Pointing out the hypocrisy in the entertainment industry in a song titled “Fake Woke” he say

“I think it’s crazy I’m the one who they labelled as controversial when CardiB is the role model for 12 year old girls”

 

Or this:

“Eminem used to gay bash and murder his mum And now he doesn’t want fans if they voted for Trump”

He is clearly an intelligent guy and a gifted narrator. His lyrics dig beneath the daily distractions of leftist activism and take aim just as hard at the fundamentals, and the narratives embedded in the culture industry. He identifies that the distractions of the daily woke scandal, are a carousel to keep the focus away from the real agenda. Mac Donald will criticise these sacred cows while attacking the vested institutions in the same line.

“I think black lives matter was the stupidest name when the system’s screwing everyone exactly the same”

“…Segregation is ended, that’s a lie in itself; That was a strategy to make us think they were trying to help”

Mac Donald is an outsider with a line on the insiders. His bars are scintillating. He boasts that he is untouchable as a self made man. When he gets into a spat with another artist – whether it’s an icon of the industry or some exploited industry hack completely dependent on the labels – he eviscerates.

His spat with the rapper, Mac Lethal, was a slaughter. He wrote a wickedly critical series of songs about him which were an exercise in complete humiliation.

In “Cancelled” he says: “Y’all can’t cancel me for facts, because your mad and weak”

It’s easy to fall for Mac Donald’s message but the truth is he is a superlative artist first, and that’s what keeps bringing people back to him.

‘Cancelled’ is a beauty. The lyrics are savage and plod menacingly before he switches into a triple timed syncopated beat with a ripping infusion of energy.

He castigates the pretentions of hip hop and rap culture and the dependence that the labels impose on the artist.

“I can’t be cancelled there’s no way that you can stop me
I’m fully independent there’s no label that can drop me”

“keep trying to cancel me, yaaah
I own the masters so yaaah
I make the beats, I write the songs
I own the cameras, so yaaah

The independence is liberating and empowering it seems. The lines are pure counterculture, everything that people said they admired about punk. Mac Donald seems to occupy the same incisive and critical space as Johnny Rotten for instance. The assurance with which he declares himself an irrepressible outsider has you rooting for him.

“everybody knows my name
from local folks to global fame
I’m vocal ‘bout the social justice movement
I expose the fakes”

“Turn rappers into ghosts and graves
Make no mistake their bones will break
I throw them in the wolf enclosure
Slowly turn and close the cage”

He criticises rap culture; he rejects the illusion of celebrity, yet he embraces and manifests all of its symbolic Id. He scorns woke ideology yet looks like the most extreme Antifa stereotype (except a bit buffer). He uses metaphors of psychochemical high while castigating the deceptions of drug culture (interestingly he had a drug-induced breakdown and Damascan turn around 3 years ago). He wears braids to draw attention to his disdain for the institutional prohibition on cultural appropriation.

You get the feeling that this paradoxical image is an intentional disguise. That like Patrick Pearse, he is cloaking old ideas in the symbolism of a new vision and a new way of speaking.

He is an archetypal character, a trickster and an exposer. Like the Norse god Loki, he is reviled by the established order, who know he is the mirror who exposes the paradoxes and deceit in their self-perpetuating world-view.

He is a paradox. He shouldn’t exist. That’s what makes him so compelling.

 


 

Lorcán Mac Mathúna

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