Opposites Attract the Madvillains of Nashville Rap, the Magnetic Forces Story, Part One
This is part one of a two part story, dedicated to one of the unheard acts of Nashville Hip-Hop: the underground duo who goes by the name of Magnetic Forces. Comprised of emcee Aaron Emmanuel McNutt and producer emcee Adam Brock, Magnetic Forces has been releasing albums in the scene at a slow but steady pace, converting one or two heads to their sound at each show they played at.
But no more.
As of last month, Magnetic Forces announced that the current incarnation of the hip-hop group will be parting ways to work on other projects. They each have their sides of the story, and we will get to that topic later on in both installments of this article.
But hold on.
The story doesn’t end there.
To quote the millennium prophets Semisonic “every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”
I know who I want to take me home.
I know who I want to take me home.
I know who I want to take me home.
Take me ho-oooo-ooooome.
It isn’t quite closing time yet.
SUNDAY, APRIL 29TH
SPRINGWATER SUPPER CLUB AND LOUNGE
DOORS OPEN @9PM
What are the doors opening for, you ask?
THE FINAL MAGNETIC FORCES SHOW!!!!!!
At the end of April, Adam and Aaron will take the stage together for one final night to celebrate everything that made them one of Nashville’s premiere Hip-Hop groups and a force to be reckoned with in the music scene. They will be supported by local group Metal Foot and Snailmate, a group all the way from Arizona!
Are there any plans to make it a show to remember?
“I am going to wear a purple silk robe,” states Aaron McNutt, one of the two emcees in the group. Is he joking? Who knows, either way it is guaranteed that Aaron will be bringing his infectious brand of raw energy to the set on April 29th. When asked why Springwater for the final show, he explained that it was already planned as a regular gig, it just became the final show after the decision was made to end the group.
McNutt also has love for the Springwater venue, it is a place where he has done many shows in the past with other local and out of town Nashville Hip-Hop artists, i.e. WeirDose and Counterfeit Money Machine. Interestingly enough, adds Aaron, “this is the third consecutive April 29th we’ve had a show.”
It almost feels like divine timing, calling it a day after closing a trinity of April 29 shows.
Divinity is one of the themes for McNutt, an emcee who reveres both Jesus and Mohammed as “Spiritual Gangsters,” who spits bars one minute about how he likes to “keep a lo pro (file) so don’t be speaking to the Po Po (lice)” and the next about being a “humble young rhymer channeling Jehovah.”
Or as the emcee himself would put it:
“My persona is based on past, present and future. The past for me is ‘criminanimal,’ the present is human, and the future is godly… the phrase ‘keeping it real’ has no pull for me. Art is a lie that reveals the truth.”
He describes his style as being somewhere between the horrorcore rap genre and sweet like “a weekend in France.” It’s the duality of man vs. monster, Jekyll vs. Hyde, angel vs. demon, Coke vs. Pepsi, UBER vs. taxi cab drivers, etc.
This back and forth identity shift during lyrics helps create interesting characters inside the verses that he spits to entertain the audience, while slyly revealing parts of the puzzle that makes up who he is as a human being.
Aaron Emmanuell McNutt has always been an interesting person to be around.
We have been hanging out or at least aware of each other since fifth grade, when we both attended Meigs Magnet School. We went to the old Meigs, before they tore it down and built a new one under the same name. That’s old school Nashville credibility, son, the kind you just can’t fake by calling Bridgestone Arena the Sommet Center.
Knowing each other since middle school, we have been a part of each other’s musical pasts, you might say.
Whenever you meet up with someone you remember from high school, you know how it goes, memories about the past come up as you reminisce about the good memories while silently omitting the bad ones. In tenth grade, our English teacher made us write a 10,000 word paper on why our behavior was “puerile and callow.”
Or so I thought.
It was only me and two other kids, not him, that had to write the paper. He reminded me that he wasn’t a part of the group that wrote the Faulkner parody that got me in trouble. The subject matter in said parody does not bear repeating in Live Laugh Love Nashville, which is probably why I ended up being punished for my creativity at the time. Of course, I’m sure the other students would tell the story differently, I seem to remember I was the only one who actually took the assignment seriously, because I love to write and didn’t want any further trouble.
Anyway, you get it. Aaron and I go way back. Hume-Fogg represent, I guess.
He believes that his time as a student at HFA had a positive effect as his development as an emcee, describing the educational institution as “cosmopolitan, not only compared to other public schools but frankly even more cosmopolitan compared to private schools.”
And while Junior M.A.F.I.A.’s “Get Money” was the song that first inspired Aaron to get into Hip-Hop, his first memory of getting into the spotlight will always stem from his time as a Hume-Fogg Knight: “the first freestyle I ever did was at an HFA party. I was not good and then Jermaine Shute destroyed me with what I like to believe was a written.”
It makes sense that fellow student Jermaine schooled him on the microphone, when you realize that Shute would go on to become Nashville Hip-Hop legend who is now known as Starlito of Grind Hard, LLC.
Going to a fancy shmancy Magnet school in Nashville definitely honed the intellectual side of Aaron, where Hip-Hop honed his philosophical side. He has meshed the two sides into a unified being that is dedicated to representing Hip-Hop to the fullest, crafting raw tales to put on wax and blessing microphones with his aggressive, energetic delivery, always on time and on beat.
When asked to compare his rap flow to a vegetable, Aaron likened himself to a mushroom, because it “pops up out of nowhere and the life of the organism is actually underneath the surface,” returning to his belief that “art is a lie that reveals the truth.” When Aaron steps to the mic, there is no warm up, his voice hits the transducer like POW and then maintains that level of energy until the crowd is fully blessed by his powerful verbiage.
One of the best places to see McNutt on the mic is the Bearded Iris Brewery in Nashville, Tennessee.
It’s on Tuesdays, and it is free to be a part of or watch.
Every Tuesday at 7pm, Dirtbike Mike plugs two turntables and some microphones into some speakers at Bearded Iris Brewery. The venue clearly wasn’t built for sound perfection, but the music that slips from his fingertips and the spit that flows from emcees’ lips is truly something magical that needs to be experienced firsthand.
The Tuesday Cypher at the Bearded Iris Brewery holds a special place in Aaron’s heart. It means “everything” to him, as it helps him “meet likeminded individuals.” Most importantly, he says, “I spend more time listening to other people than rapping myself, and everyone I’ve listened to has either influenced me or taught me something.”
Additionally, after the Tuesday Cypher “I am just bursting with smooth rhymes in my head… the cypher has caused me to write more, write better, and to try different styles, approaches and themes.”
Aaron and fellow underground Nashville emcee Bobby Exodus convinced me to check it out over a year ago, and I’m glad I did. I had a chance to reconnect with an old friend and witness some of the best emcees in Music City to freestyle in a cypher. It is here that I was reintroduced to Aaron’s flow and met his Magnetic Forces co-conspirator Adam Brock.
Magnetic Forces! Aaron met Adam “through mutual high school friends. My previous group went on hiatus, which became permanent…and I lost it for awhile. I really wanted to rap again, I was hungry, had a sense of urgency, and he asked.” Under the moniker Magnetic Forces, the pair of artists created three projects together, “Kings of Lofi,” “Skunkworks,” and…
“The Vision on Multiple Occasions,” which is their swan song. Called TVOMO for short, “Vision” is a half hour of beats and rhymes that is truly visionary. Jazzy piano, catchy humming, humorous movie samples, cheesy synths, cartoonish horns, and other delightful sounds come together to create a musical palette that is equal parts fuzzy and futuristic, vinyl and digital truly meshed together to reach a higher level together than they ever could separate.
Honestly, I could type a bunch of fancy adjectives to describe why you should buy this album off of their Bandcamp page, but I have two main points to make my case, and I’ll stop right there. Here we go:
The album reminds me of the classic album recorded by MF DOOM and Madlib, which is more famously known by indie Hip-Hop fanatics as “Madvillainy”. “Madvillainy” is a pure musical gem that is, like TVOMO, full of tracks that are under the minute mark, only filled with lengthy verses when it feels right and several tracks are brilliant instrumentals that don’t outlast their welcome just like TVOMO. I will go more in depth with the production comparisons between the albums in part two next week.
I’ve been listening to this album for two days, and nonstop while writing this article, and I am not tired of it yet. I wish more Hip-Hop records sounded like this, catchy, raw, always shifting and always mesmerizing. I wish Adam Brock produced my album “The Potential LP.”
“I wanna sell VINYL
Not go VIRAL
Out to thrive
Not out for SURVIVAL
Not to persist
But create s*** VITAL
Not scared to die
Magnetic Forces, “Vital Vinyl”
The hook that Aaron spits on this song can be seen as a mission statement for the philosophical emcee. It is also a great hook that is part of one of Aaron’s finest moments on the mic on the TVOMO album. “Vital Vinyl” is two and a half minutes of nonstop multisyllabic rhymes that can’t be quoted in an article, they can only be listened to with your ears to be properly experienced.
Aaron’s street smart scholarly raps have found their perfect companion in Adam Brock’s unconventional yet immediately familiar production. It’s that new friend you always had, and are glad to be joking with and living with right away.
What separates Adam from your average Fruity Loops beat maker? “I think he is really original, which is hard to do in sample based music,” says Aaron, “He can take bad music, rearrange it till it’s unrecognizable, and make it fun Hip-Hop.” He added, “he is pretty good at ensuring the records he uses have never been used before.”
It is nice to see a producer who searches for that next sound or sample, as opposed to reaching for the same sources everyone else has used for decades, not to mention take the time to make the beats pop and sound very pleasing to the ear.
Aside from being a creative producer, what does Aaron admire about Adam as a person? “He took a lot of crap from me, and we finished every project we started. It’s a miracle.” The world of underground music is littered with unfinished concepts, ambitious projects that never see the light of day, so this is definitely an impressive feat in itself. I’ve lost count of how many c4 the eXplosIVe album concepts I have on the shelf, as well as projects I have with other artists, so completion of anything is beautiful, believe me.
So, why is a group putting out solid albums while rocking shows all around Nashville calling it a day?
Aaron cites the usual “personal and creative differences” when asked the question. Further musing leads him to mention “my decision was equal parts intellect, instinct, and intuition, so it can be unfair to try to explain it in words.”
He essentially boils it down to “it was time.”
Aaron’s favorite Magnetic Forces show was when they played a show in a garage called “Mouthhole,” because “there was good interaction with the audience and it got hot in there from the crowd.” As McNutt waxes nostalgic about the past, one can hope he will bring that same interaction to a packed Springwater as fans come to see one last show on April 29th at Springwater.
Although this is the end of one era, the next era will not be far behind.
So, what next?!
“I don’t know.”
“I feel like there’s 1,000 emcees, 1,000 producers. I did 3 projects with Adam and now I’m looking to build my vault of rhymes (the solo part) and work with other styles and aesthetics of production…I’ve been looking around a little and I like what I see.”
He goes on to add, “For example, I would lay down a verse on one of your beats right now.” He is referring to a beat CD I made for him to check out and see if he liked anything, so who knows? MC Nuttz and c4 the eXplosIVe might be working on a sweet new collaboration in the future.
The future isn’t written in stone for Aaron, and I think he likes that. He is a true creative spirit who only works on a project if he is interested in it, not just to create something. He moves with the winds of passion and his spirit is guided by more than mere discography.
Though one thing is for sure, Aaron is a true student of Hip-Hop. When asked why he studies Hip-Hop so fervently, he simply replies “I don’t know what else to do and I’m not bad at it.”
McNutt might not know the next record he’s working on, or the next crew he’ll be working with, but he does know Hip-Hop, pure and simple. And when you know what you want to do with your life, the universe has a way of bringing people in your life to work with to create that next work of art that moves the crowd.
Rest assured that, come April 29th, you haven’t heard the last punchline from Aaron Emmanuell McNutt.
And since this is Live Laugh Love Nashville, I asked him what the “three magic words” meant to him, and this is what he said:
LIVE: “By my definition, I can’t say I am living.”
LAUGH: “I really like in ‘Dumb and Dumber’ when they try to spray ketchup in the air and catch it on their tongues.”
LOVE: “To me it’s easier to love someone than to treat them the way they want to be treated.”
Please stay tuned for next week’s article, in which we get to meet the producer/emcee and second half of Magnetic Forces, Adam Brock!
Also, make sure to catch the final Magnetic Forces show at Springwater Supper Club and Lounge on Sunday April 29th! Doors open at 9pm and the show will be opened by Metal Foot and Snailmate.
It will be YUUUUUUGE!
You can connect with Magnetic Forces to get show info on the one and only FACEBOOK!
You can also listen to their music on Soundcloud and Bandcamp!
Make sure and buy a copy of their album “The Vision on Multiple Occasions,” it is a great album and you WON’T regret it!
Social media, isn’t it great?!
Written by Charles Bridgers IV for Live Laugh Love Nashville