REX MAC is a Filipino-American Boston based musician, organizer, and journalist. Since 2012, Rex has built a discography of entirely self-produced projects on love, solitude, and self-empowerment. Offstage and outside studio, he is a contributing writer for Boston music blog Know Your Scene. Monthly, he hosts his own monthly hip hop showcase, Sonic Bloom, at Cambridge’s Out of the Blue Too Art Gallery. Currently, he is quietly at work on his second album, which will see an official commercial release in Spring 2017.
“I personally love hip hop for its ability to disregard taboos and redirect pop cultural conversations. In the past 3 years alone, look at what Kendrick Lamar’s “To Pimp A Butterfly” did to encourage talk on race relations..what Solange’s “A Seat At The Table” did to highlight self care, what Frank Ocean’s “Blond” did to explore gender fluidity. Personally, it’s given me more courage to speak about mental health.”
Q: What’s an assumption people make about hip hop that you think isn’t true?
A: Hip hop is stigmatized by this idea that it’ll invite disrespectful, rowdy crowds to your doorstep. This past year alone, I’ve caught wind of 3 Boston venues who’ve decided to no longer allow hip hop in their space. Yes, it’s a youthful sport. It may get abrasive or angsty at times. But it’s unified and communal. For all of the backlash hip hop gets for its praise of drugs, violence, and misogyny, it carries a lot more spiritual and political value than people realize.
Q: What drew you to hip hop?
A: My father. He loved Parliament, the Blackbyrds, and Earth Wind and Fire..the fun, funky side of old school R&B. So naturally, when west coast rappers repurposed those grooves over rap drums, he bought their albums. I just happened to be in the car when those CDs were played, and the rest is history.
Q: What drives you to create?
A: My need to build relationships and let you know you’re not alone.
Q: What’s one thing you’ve learned over time?
A: I’ve learned that you need people. Google the Austin Kleon coined term, “scenius.”