In the Moment, From the Dome, From the Heart, From the City of Clarksville - The SeddyMac Story
When I first met Sedrick McLean, it was at the hallowed Tuesday Night Supercyphers at the Bearded Iris Brewery. We along with other emcees were all sitting in a circle, taking turns free styling on the microphone while Dirtbike Mike was on the 1s and 2s keeping the vibe fresh for all within hearing distance.
I was trying to think of some jokes so my turn would get some laughs, so I rhymed about this kid to my left who I thought looked like the Fresh Prince of Bel Air. As soon as I said it, I could see the wheels turning in his head. Sedrick grabbed the mic and mentioned that he understood why I mistook him for Will Smith…
… “because I AM A LEGEND!”
And that was the moment where I became a fan of the freestyle beast known as SeddyMac.
When I asked him if he remembered the moment, he said, “I feel bad that I do not remember the story behind why you called me that, but it definitely was something that I kind of heard and kept moving to be honest. Comparisons like those come and go, so I don’t try to let that sit on my mind for too long.”
Of course he doesn’t remember it, because his mind is too busy on the next rhyme, the next open mic session, the next song, the next show, etc. He is on a busy schedule; SeddyMac’s story is, to quote Charles Dickens, a “Tale of Two Cities.”
Born in Fayetteville, NC, Sedrick went to Northwest High School in Clarksville, TN, his current city of residence. He works in Nashville, making the back and forth journey daily while consuming Joe Budden podcasts or freestyling over some new instrumentals, looking for the next song to drop on the masses.
“Do It Again” is the latest SeddyMac single, having dropped a few weeks ago.
Dripping with synthesizer swagger, the song finds SeddyMac complimenting a lady whose personality is as beautiful (if not more so) than her physical appearance, telling her she is a star, adding that he is in awe of her confidence and ego.
“Don’t be mad when the guys are looking back at you
Head held high, with the heels to match
Personality is cool, there’s appeal in that
But when it comes down to somebody disrespecting
Your tongue stays sharp, such a valuable weapon”
SeddyMac, “Do It Again”
It’s hard to figure out whether or not Sedrick is attempting to get into a relationship with the lady in the song, he seems to just be content to shower her with praises while admiring her strength and powerful presence. It’s almost a mixture of a love song and female empowerment anthem from the male gaze.
You can feel the love and respect when Sedrick sings the simple hook that pleads to “Do this all again,” furthering his reputation as an emcee who can sing and spit equally well.
The artwork for the single itself is impressive, with an African-American woman hugging herself, eyes closed with a self satisfied smile wrapped in a smirk, with a shining star hovering slightly over her bosom. It radiates power and positivity, much like the rest of SeddyMac’s musical repertoire.
His songs don’t just encourage the listener to have confidence in themselves, but to rejoice in who they are and everything that they are composed of, their genetic makeup and personality quirks who make them different from other people.
SeddyMac’s ultimate self-love track would be on the already classic “Level Up” EP, and it’s simply titled “Be Yourself.”
The song chronicles Sedrick’s struggles to “blend in with my peers” because he thought “being weird and different” was hindering his quest to succeed in life and the music game. “This song is honestly just a reminder to myself that it’s ok to be different. No matter what people may think about you someone out there is on a similar wavelength and will accept you for your differences. What is abnormal to one is very normal to the next.” Sedrick adds.
“You should be yourself
Cuz baby, Ima do me”
SeddyMac, “Be Yourself”
This simple statement ends up being the theme behind the aforementioned “Level Up,” a five song EP that showcases Sedrick’s talents, as well as his eclectic tastes, which are equal parts “cool things” like basketball and rap, and things that were “not very accepted” at the time, like anime and video games.
An emcee who is equal parts battle rapper declaring that “you have awakened the beast, fake n***** get deceased” and name checker of cartoons like Freakazoid and Animaniacs, SeddyMac stays in his own lane when he spits on the microphone.
Sedrick is very adept at turning nerd culture into hip-hop cool effortlessly, much like fellow emcee Lupe Fiasco. The beat on Toad’s Turnpike turns the Mario Kart music for the aforementioned course into a true banger to rhyme over, where it’s “no holds barred, when I step to any instrumental” and there’s a “50/50 chance of flipping the bird or flipping syllables.”
The term “Level Up” refers to the video game process of gaining “experience points” to make your video game character stronger. It’s a term usually reserved for role playing games where players spend many hours strengthening their avatars.
When asked about the inspiration behind the phrase “level up,” SeddyMac added that “Levelling up to me is just moving up in general for me. That’s with me desiring to expand my fanbase, earn more income within and outside of music and gain more recognition for my skillset.”
The title track sees Sedrick spitting out punchlines with pinpoint precision, calling out artists who are stagnant and refuse to grow and improve while he morphs like a shapeshifter throughout his verses. He isn’t doing it to simply make fun of other emcees, though, as he states as he is doing this music strictly for the people.
And that’s another thing that separates the Clarksville emcee from your garden variety mixtape wielders. He is not trying to tear others down, but push them to “level up” their own game and come out with music that sounds amazing and connects to the public. He is flipping the typical hip-hop vernacular and using the culture’s tongue to elevate humanity as a whole.
He is subversively preaching to the choir, and it sounds so nice so it works out so well.
I won’t mince words in this article, SeddyMac is a lyrical genius and I am an unabashed fan.
He is a conscious rapper who can battle, an artist unfettered by the negative aspects of each term I try to use to describe him. He has picked apart the game and has rebuilt himself with the positive aspects of the elements of hip-hop culture. He’s what MF DOOM could’ve been had Subroc not tragically died in 1993.
You hear what you want from SeddyMac, and he has a message for all willing to hear, which is “I kind of just do what I want and say what I feel is necessary. If I had to say a theme off of that alone it’s mainly just do what you feel is right for you in whatever situation you’re in. No one knows what’s better for you than you.”
When it comes to making his money, Sedrick’s days are “routine” according to him. When it comes to making his art, though, “my inspiration when it comes to my music is very in the moment. If I strongly feel a certain way about anything I feel of importance I will talk about. I’ve made music referencing local killings in Clarksville, police brutality, racial injustice, Trayvon Martin and woman appreciation.”
“Whatever drives my mind and spirit to a particular direction I’m going for it,” the prolific artist adds, which explains the urgency and intensity you can hear in his vocals on every track. Not one to plan out drawn out concepts ahead of time, he prefers to have his pen on the pulse, in the moment, where the energy is in the present.
“I’m not very easy to grasp a hold onto when it comes to my musical direction…A vast majority of my music comes off of quick fast inspiration of my mindset at the moment the song was recorded or just before. Very current on release,” as Sedrick would put it.
There is a power to this artistic process, the space between spontaneity, personal anxiety and creativity. It is a place that is not weighed down by excuses, other people’s perspectives, falsehoods and polite society. Sedrick’s rhymes live in a place of instant truth, ink blot revelations from the dome, uncensored visions of how his heart beats. It is a place of truth, and it’s what keeps his tongue sharp, words quick and his messages relatable.
The main reason he does music is “because I need to for my own release and it makes me feel free.” It is that need for release that drives him to create inspired canvasses with a verbal paintbrush, and it makes him a true artist, not one who merely paints commercially pleasing shapes for monetary gain or worldly fame.
“I’m uncertain if I really want to be A-list or even B-list celebrity famous,” Sedrick continues, “Getting paid for my work is always nice. Another thing I would appreciate on a decent scale is to have about 10,000 dedicated diehard fans be willing to invest at least $10 worth of my merchandise and performances.”
SeddyMac doesn’t need to be the next Kanye West money wise, though he would love to collaborate with the Chicago emcee/producer on a track someday. He just needs enough cash to make a living and a beat that inspires him to create the next track to capture how he is feeling in the moment.
I’ve said “in the moment” a lot in this article, and that’s no accident. I can quote Sedrick’s songs all day, pick them apart and praise them until he makes me the president of his fan club, but that’s not all he is.
No, you haven’t fully appreciated the art of SeddyMac until you have heard him freestyle live at a club or open mic event.
Every week the “Level Up” artist creates verses from thin air, based on the true story being told by vinyl spinning on turntables that were built seemingly just to be the cement that holds together the bricks Sedrick lays with every well placed and expertly paced bar that he spits. Watching his wheels turn while he weaves intricate fables with wit and wisdom is truly awe inspiring.
When asked to describe what is going on in his head while freestyling, he listed three thoughts that swirl around his dome during the process:
“Man I hope this doesn’t suck”
“Normally the first bar or 2 before I start”
“This go around was trash and I gotta redeem myself next time around”
I was shocked and encouraged, because that is usually how I feel when I’m rhyming at the cypher. After laughing, he elaborates with “I just completely zone out and try my hardest to impress both myself and the others around me with wit. Even if someone says that was dope freestyle from me I never truly believe it because I just think of me struggling trying to find the best words to fit in the moment.”
SeddyMac does not believe the press, he doesn’t let the words of others get to him. In fact, this article will probably make him feel awkward, and push him to keep “levelling up” in the hip-hop game. His work ethic can be summed up when he says “you gotta be harder on yourself than others to really progress. That goes for just about anything not just freestyling.”
If you want to catch a brief SeddyMac freestyle, as well as learn some more about who he is from the man himself, check out his “Dream Technicians” interview on YouTube. Here’s a link:
If you want to catch SeddyMac live, and yes, you do want to catch him live, then you need to follow SeddyMac on social media, which is where he usually announces upcoming shows or open mic appearances.
You can follow him on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/SeddyMackaveli/
Or maybe Instagram is more your speed: https://www.instagram.com/seddymac/
Or you are still faithful to Twitter: https://twitter.com/SeddyMac
Follow SeddyMac on these platforms NOW.
If you want to listen to his music online, well you’re in luck!
The most comprehensive online collection of SeddyMac tracks can be found on SoundCloud, just click here: https://soundcloud.com/sedrick-mclean
Or Bandcamp: https://seddymac.bandcamp.com/
Or Apple Music: https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/seddymac/762792202
You can also check out his videos on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/BigBoiSed/videos
Social media, ain’t it great?!
Written by Charles Bridger IV for Live Laugh Love Nashville