I try to leave no wasted lines because I know I’m not alone

By Tatiana Parkhomova

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East London’s native rapper MAK seamlessly blends styles and concepts, fearlessly introducing new sounds to the scene. His hit tracks ‘Fortress’, ‘Check’ and ‘25’ laid a solid foundation for future experimentation. Now, In 2024, he makes a comeback with the latest single, ‘Please’, where retro vibes meet urban hip-hop with a touch of lyricism. Today, MAK is here to discuss his journey, authenticity in music and plans for 2024. 

How did the grime scene and eclectic mix of musical genres in East London shape your early experiences with music and influence your career?

I think growing up in an era where lyricism, flow, and charisma were the main focuses, I think it shaped my value in music. With other sounds to draw from, my ears became well-rounded to be able to shape a similar feeling but in a different format. 

How do you stay connected to these roots while navigating the global music scene?

I feel like the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. It’s almost like trying to get rid of a bad habit. It’s been ingrained in me, the global music scene is just further exposure to sounds and feelings. 

What led you to blend hip-hop with a future-retro vibe in ‘Please,’ and how does it reflect your artistic vision? 

The songs I make are just an interpretation of how I see music. Ultimately, that led me to stumble across the instrumental and create ‘Please.’

How do you maintain authenticity and honesty in your storytelling, especially when touching on personal experiences?

Music is a form of therapy for me. It allows a space of clarity and vulnerability in situations I may not have been able to express otherwise. All I can do is tell my story; I find music helps me do that.

What inspired the themes and experiences explored in ‘Please,’ particularly in terms of sharing your views on life, family, hobbies, women, and your vision for the future?

Since my last release, I’ve had some time to grow and view life differently through my experiences. My outlook on things now definitely inspired the topics on ‘Please.’ It’s almost a summary of my life right now.

How do you approach experimentation with different musical styles while maintaining your unique identity?

I let the music take me where it needs me to go. I think the lack of pressure and faith in myself to tell my story as best as I can is all I need. 

How do you navigate emotional landscapes while crafting your songs, and what impact do you hope they have on your audience?

As I’m making the music, I’ve been, or I’m going through it. I try to leave no wasted lines because I know I’m not alone. I just hope it evokes some feeling from my audience. Good or bad, I just hope it’s something they feel.

What collaborations and live performances can we expect from you in the near future?

Collaborations I’ll leave in the mist for now, but hopefully, we’ll get a live performance from me at some point this year.

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Cover photo by Calvin Mlilo