Following Gucci Mane’s incarceration, a new generation of Atlanta rappers rose to prominence. These self-described “OGs” came to dominate charts with singles drawing heavily on psychedelia and 808-heavy production, carefully refined by Quality Control executive Coach K, a veteran producer of the region who runs arguably the most important label in hip-hop at the moment. Migos are the obvious example, but right on their heels is newcomer OG Maco.
OG Maco first exploded into the rap game with the schizophrenic ballad “U Guessed It,” an in-your-face middle finger of anarchy that established the then 22-year-old as a heavyweight of Atlanta’s trap scene. The music video racked up over 40 million views on YouTube and yielded Maco a spot on XXL’s Freshmen cover. Since then, he’s attempted to shed this image by experimenting with new styles of production that paint raw portraits of his inner rage towards society. With a new mixtape out and an album coming later this year, we called up Maco to discuss his artistic process, Donald Trump, and the death of the Republican Party.
What was your psychological process going into Lord of Rage?
I wanted something that motivates you. I wanted something to motivate the kids. There have been a lot of times where my passion is anger, and sometimes my passion is rage. With anger, you get angry for a little while. With rage, there’s this explosion, but sometimes it’s not there. I wanted kids to see that and be motivated, instead of destroyed. A lot of times, our emotions like anger can destroy us.
What are you angry about?
I’m angry about a lot of things. I mean, it’s just not anger; it’s more of a rage. I’m mad, you know? A lot of that’s to do with the different connotations that they put on our generation. We’re bound by others; by people older than us, but now, we bind ourselves. I’m mad that my generation doesn’t want to have fun. Everyone just wants to have a career. A lot of times, we like the luxury of taking away our freedoms. I’m mad about the way that we’re not being protected by people who are supposed to protect us. We are hunted by them, you know? I’m angry about the conditions that we have to live in a lot of times. I’m angry about the social engineering and the economic engineering. And all these things keep happening. I feel like young people should be mad.
When and why do you think people started giving up their freedoms?
I feel like fear has been the main thing. Fear has been the main tool for most of the 2000s to motivate people into doing things. I feel like there is the fear of social ambiguity in a time where social conflict, the Internet, and social media is needed to affect a lot of people subconsciously. I feel like there is the fear of being unknown in the current instance.
It’s this notion that we sacrifice our freedoms and any sense of privacy in order to get some type of validation in this world.
Exactly. That’s exactly what they wanted, you know? That much information being given to a system, you know, it’s easier for them to lead you further and further along.
Another GOP debate was last night. Were you watching at all?
No, I wasn’t. I was actually just working on this tour.
Do you think the Republican party is capable of being saved at this point?
No. I think the thing that people don’t realize is that Donald Trump is, for lack of a better word, honest. I feel like people don’t want to accept that Donald Trump is the truest reflection of the real American values right now: the bigotry. I feel like all of the negative aspects and negative connotations with Donald Trump are really just reflections of true American culture and people don’t want to accept that part. And then seeing that he’s leading the Republican field for the GOP, that’s fucked is what it really is.
It’s almost like he’s America’s ID to some degree.
He’s the living embodiment of real American values right now. And I feel like that scares people because America likes people to think it’s progressive and there’s change, and acceptance, and social equality. And Trump is blatantly saying, “No it’s not.” And he’s leading. It started off as a fucking joke, and then [we realized] that the shadow of America is a large force.
Do you think he could become President of the United States?
I think Trump absolutely could become President of the United States just due to the simple fact that people underestimate his ability to become President of the United States. If there’s enough people who really would [vote for Trump], then there won’t be any resistance there, or there won’t be enough resistance. He’s not some guy you’re looking at who is a good, real American spirit. He’s somebody who they can dump all the war and all the poverty onto and he’s going to stand behind it. If you’re talking about the puppeteers, he’s great for them.
How does your hometown of Atlanta manifest itself through your music?
I’m from the Southside, so I’m yellin’ and being rough. I’m from Atlanta, so that’s a lot of wind that’s going against you, you know what I mean? It’s all in there. I feel like all of that matters.
Which city are you most excited to play for your tour?
Fuckin’ Honolulu or some shit, you know what I’m saying? That’s fucking Hawaii, dog.
It’s definitely beautiful out there.
What can we expect for your upcoming album?
The album is fucking phenomenal. The album is pain; you know what I’m saying? Lord of Rage is that anger source where I feel like you’ve chosen to live with pain over hope, you know? Hope for a better day. I feel like it is more than motivational; it’s touching on every level. I can’t wait for it to come out. I think once everybody hears it, despite whatever opinion they may currently have, they’ll feel the album is undeniable.