I recently had the opportunity to interview Chicago’s own Ro$$ Mac. Hailing from the South side of Chicago, Ro$$ Mac is not your everyday rapper. While his voice is deeply rooted in his hometown; a paradox Street and Black Renaissance. From the DuSable Museum, Vegan Soul Food, to a heavy body count of Black people slain in the name street-etiquette. Mac, embodies this coalesce of cultural praxis; where by day he is an Ivy League graduate, attending the University of Pennsylvania, becoming the first African American male to work for Morgan Stanley high yield sales and trading desk, then by night he is a rapper, a simulacrum of Black Intellectuals Ratchets; an millennial of Black intellectualism who still like to turn up.
This enigma is linear to corporate ipseity, working on Wall Street. Black respectability politics; the awareness and denouncement of Black cultural relativity of systemic value, in his workplace, made him apprehensive to articulate his aspirations of being a musician open and freely. As Black men in the corporate world and leadership positions, we are often faced with the requirement of being humble to that of white authority, speaking proper English, not talking or sharing ideas too quickly, and most importantly the need to always smile, in lieu of being called angry or unapproachable. Mentioning to colleagues that you are a rapper may not be equitable professionally. Mac proudly articulates reclaiming his power by no longer being shy or timid to express his musical success with his peers, and with a hit track on rotation on Chicago’s radio stations, it would be impossible for him to not discuss his musical career. He proudly discusses how “My colleagues are always telling me how their children are listening to music and following me.” The pressure to assimilate is no longer robust in his daily practice. He truly embodies the work life balance, of professionalism, passion, and creation.
His passion for music was developed early on, as he recalls his high school building a recording studio, where he spent much of senior year, skipping classes and refining his artistry. Mac talks about recently debuting a collaboration with Sayyi called “What We Doin”, a track by Grammy-nominated producer Soundz, and intends to release his debut EP Gordon Gekko in Fall of 2017. For now, he has just completed his very first video for his new single “Solo” a single made for Summer but definitely has a Fall sensibility. When I hear Solo, I think back to early Fall backyard college parties, tailgating, and evening sitting outside enjoying the cool night’s air. I equally find a perfect fit for “Solo” right in my play track for brunch, and of course the Halloween parties. Where Gordon Gekko, will definitely get you feeling good, ready to party and have some fun. Mac intends to release another LP later this year, 10k, that will feature his intellectual side. We can anticipate a Funk Trap feel to this later EP, one that will incorporate thought provoking idealism along with a stream of conscious melismas.
On top of his corporate job and making music, Ross has found time to co-found a traveling party brand called DRILL, hosting sell-out events across the country. His events have sold out crowds in New York, Philly, Atlanta, L.A., Miami, and of course Chicago. DRILL is the pinnacle of Millennial Black Entertainment, where by you can be corporate by day and swagged out by night. If you are looking for a warm atmosphere where you vibe with like-minded individuals and lower your guard, then this is definitely the place made with you in mind. More so, the DRILL is another representation of Mac’s mogul mentality, as he puts it, these events are an opportunity for him to, “[be] able to book himself,” using it as an opportunity for feedback from the audience on both current and future songs. His advice to future moguls is to make sure to be diversified and focused on the big picture. “I can’t control if people like my music, or if I’m the best basketball player…but the things you are able to control are the things you do day in and day out.” He also encourages everyone to have a fallback plan and stresses the importance of education as a meaningful tool to negate the ladder of success.