“You can’t imagine all the things that I’ve seen, but what’s courtside if you never sat in the nose bleeds … I won’t stop until everyone knows. I’m taking this from them country roads to the whole damn globe.”
– From “West Virginia to World Wide” by Huey Mack
Growing up in Morgantown, West Virginia, the son of a single mom with three jobs, Huey Mack learned from an early age that if you want something done, you’ve got to do it yourself. And, it was this relentless commitment to honing his craft as an MC and songwriter combined with his DIY approach to the music business that yielded him a no. 8 Billboard Rap Chart entry in 2013 on his independently released debut album “Pretending Perfection.”
Huey’s desire to make music originally manifested itself as a hobby. At 17, he was spit balling comical raps at home with his friends but, only a year later, he was dropping his “Wish Me Luck” mix tape which he quickly followed with SoundCloud releases of “Bright Lights and Long Nights,” “Freshman 15,” “A Boy Named Hue” and “Click” featuring fellow MC and regular collaborator Mike Stud.
Huey enrolled at his home town’s West Virginia University and attended for 2 years while developing his passion for music into a full-time job and eventually dropping out to orchestrate his debut album release. This full-time job quickly turned into an immersive lifestyle as he routed and embarked on his own headline tours and spearheaded his own merchandising operation.
“It was like jumping out of an airplane,” says Huey about starting up, “but I was getting so much encouragement from my fans all over the country – both over the Internet and at shows – that it gave me the confidence to keep striving.”
Indeed, fans began following and feeding back to Huey on social media and even tattooing his lyrics on themselves which they proudly displayed at his concerts. At a show at the University of Minnesota-Mankato in January 2015, two thousand students came to wave their hands and sing along.
“It was crazy,” says Huey, “and I’m pretty sure I partied with each and every one of them after the show.”
Immediately after that touring run, Huey decided to base himself out of Los Angeles for a month to complete work on his new album “Things Change.” Reuniting with “Pretending Perfection” producer Louis Bell (95 South, Mike Stud), he began to weave personal stories of his upbringing in West Virginia with tales of newfound experiences from the road.
Huey also worked with Cisco Adler (Mickey Avalon, Mike Posner) and connected with Dutch super-producer Afrojack (Chris Brown, will i am) on a fateful night at Hollywood’s Record Plant studio:
“I got invited to write with Afrojack for his album,” recalls Huey. “When I got to the studio, I found myself in a room with not only Nick (Afrojack), but also rap legends Bone, Thugs and Harmony and Twista. We started vibing and Nick ended up inviting me back to write with him every day for a week.”
“It was an honor,” continues Huey, “amazing people were popping in and out of room to collab every day but on one of the days, Nick came up with this next level beat and this melody and lyric just came to me: ‘You should play this at my funeral.’”
“Nick loved it,” remembers Huey and adds with a laugh, “I finished writing the song that very night but it took me three weeks to convince him to let me have it for my own album.”
Not only did Afrojack deliver one of his freshest and edgiest productions in “Funeral” for Huey’s “Things Change” album but he also performs with Huey in the video clip, along with featured MC, Twista, (due out in May 2015).
In the Adler co-written title track “Things Change,” Huey raps about this colorful journey over a rolling acoustic guitar while in “11:11,” he enlists featured group TeamMate to help tell the story of an ambivalent break-up while lacing his razor-sharp verses with playful, exaggerated spite.
“You Again” has Huey rapping wistfully in between his sung, catchy, pitched-up choruses while “Back on My Bullshit” shows off his patented flow with equal parts boldness and self-deprecating wink.
Huey Mack’s “Things Change” album – mixed by Grammy-nominated mixing engineer Tony Lake (Lady Gaga, Mumford & Sons) and due out independently on June 23rd – represents the next chapter in this hip hop artist’s self-made trajectory, one in which his music is constantly evolving and his West Virginian roots expanding … to world wide.