Mac Lethal earned his rep with rapid-fire punch lines, belittling opponents with malicious freestyles ("you look like Roseanne Barr covered in tar") en route to winning the 2002 title at Scribble Jam, hip-hop's cage match. Like fellow Scribble champs Sage Francis (2000) and Rhymefest (2003), the Kansas-based MC has expanded his repertoire beyond observational insults, though he still eviscerates the likes of Soulja Boy and Fergie -- over their own beats during his concerts. Mac's stellar 2007 album 11:11 ranges from detailed autobiographical sketches to broad parody ("Pound That Beer"), from emotional vulnerability to playful flirtation ("Make Out Bandit"). Earlier this month, Mac unveiled "Black Clover Posse Cut," a bouncy track that explodes live when tourmates Grieves and Soulcrate Music join him to reprise their verses on stage. Mac retired from the battle-rap circuit, but he maintains that format's best qualities: outrageous humor and spontaneity.
Wed., Nov. 26, 8 p.m., 2008