Bluegrass, old-time music and the Crooked Road come to mind most often when people think about music in Carroll County. And while those genres have produced a multitude of accomplished musicians from the area, Carroll County now has a budding rap artist to add to its collection of homegrown talent.
Two days prior to his 20th birthday, Mac Martin released his debut rap single, “Hurricane,” which is currently available on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, Amazon Music and several other online outlets. Martin wrote the song for his sister Taylor in honor of her graduation from Carroll County High School on Saturday.
“I was sitting there one day wanting to write some music and figured I would write Taylor something special since she was graduating,” Martin said. “She really, really liked it. She put it on her phone right away. Said she was about to cry, but she fought back the tears.”
The song has been a hit with many more folks besides Martin’s sister. “Hurricane” has received overwhelmingly positive feedback locally since its release.
“I have had countless people complimenting me on Twitter and Instagram and Facebook,” he said. “It seems like it has been a hit around here at least.”
With an addictive beat and a smooth hook with backing female vocals, the song has the potential to be a mainstream hit. Truth be told, one could argue it sounds better than most of what can be heard on today’s popular music radio stations. On the song “Hurricane,” Martin’s rapping style is not the in-your-face, loud and obnoxious kind a lot of folks associate with the genre. It’s more of a reserved, matter-of-fact style that sounds very much like popular rap artist Eminem, albeit without the obscene lyrics.
“I have gotten that a little bit. Some people say I remind them a lot of Enimem, but without the same harshness in his voice,” Martin said. “But that is a huge compliment to me because he is a lyrical genius.”
In the song “Hurricane,” Martin waxes poetic on the challenges that will face his sister in the future, but how everything in her life has prepared her for the years ahead. His thought-proving lyrics also offer guidance and advice.
“What you’ve done until now is just the calm before the storm, like Hiroshima this life will drop bombs before it warns. With each and every day, your heart will slowly break. Find something to love because the love can medicate,” Martin raps.
“Hurricane” also provides motivation and reflection for his sister as her big day approaches.
“This is it, this is the end, your one shining moment, keep your eyes set ahead because the finish line is closing. Suck it up, go hard, and never leave a stone unturned, then ya know ya seat at table of the greats will be confirmed,” Martin continues in the song. “It was earned. Years and years and years of hard work, added up to this, head to the cliff, now all you gotta do is turn. I’m layin down these raps tryna say congrats, you turned us to believers, we always told you, you could do it, now do you believe us? Thank Jesus, without him you wouldn’t have this day. All the blood he spilled hung up on that hill, he gave you everything. Praise god! You did it, your journey is over. Part of life is done, feeling like you’re stunned, because you reached foreclosure, keep composure as you sprint across the line, be prepared but don’t be scared cause of the outlook on life. Cast your worries to the side because it’s time to celebrate, looking forward to tomorrow, like there is no yesterday. Congratulations, you did it, you made us all proud, now you standing on the stage while I am yelling from the crowd.”
Martin said he’s always had a “thing” for poetry, and that he would always get good grades in high school making up rhymes. He first tinkered with the idea of rapping as he was hanging out with his pal and former Carroll County basketball teammate Wes Smoot, who has also toyed with making rap music.
“I couldn’t find the music that fit what I wanted to hear, so I said, ‘I can make my own.’ I found backing tracks we like that were mainstream, but didn’t quite have the lyrics we liked, so we started writing our own,” Martin said.
For “Hurricane,” Martin said the person who produced the beat gave him the option of getting the beat with or without the hook. Personally, he said he likes beats with hooks because he likes vocals along with the rapping, so he chose the hook and wrote all the rap verses to the song.
After the song was finished, he sent it to a distributor who placed “Hurricane” on iTunes and several other online music outlets. Meanwhile, Martin said he recently sent a rap to popular TV show The X Factor and made it through the first round of online auditions. He said he should know next month if he makes it to the next round.
A 2011 graduate of Carroll County High School, Martin recently earned his General Studies Certificate from Wytheville Community College. Next year he will start nursing school at WCC, and he hopes to get a Bachelors’ Degree in Nursing from Radford University before going on to Wake Forest to become a Nursing Anesthetist.
“I am not going to quit college to do this, but it is a great hobby I really enjoy. I will definitely do some more songs in the future,” Martin said.
Martin said the best way to find “Hurricane” online is by going to iTunes and typing in Hurricane Mac Martin for the title of the song. The song is 99 cents to purchase, but there is an option to scroll over the song for a preview. It can also be found online at YouTube.