WHO IS MAC THE RAPPER?
Apparently, around 1987, some guy was playing with his Apple™ Macintosh© computer's text-to-speech program, and heard a Run DMC song on the radio. It was at this point that the fateful idea was conceived:
If rapping is just talking, and my computer can talk, why can't my computer rap?
The result, as you may have already guessed, was music history. Bob Mithoff, and his computer wrote a song, called "WHAT IS LOVE," and laid it on wax. As far as I know, an LP single was all that was created.
You may ask yourself, "How does someone find out about such underground artists?" I found this single, still sealed in plastic at my local Goodwill.
To say the album is entertaining is something of an understatement. It contains three (3) tracks total, all of WHAT IS LOVE.
- RADIO MIX 3:41
- INSTRUMENTAL DUB 4:00
- CLUB MIX 5:16
But to take the music (which is sub-par, at best) as the only source of mirth is to fail to enjoy all that there is in this production. The packaging is one of the most hilarious things I have ever seen surrounding a vinyl LP, and I have looked through all of my parents' old records. Gordon Lightfoot's got nothing on this guy.
The Front Cover
This is what originally drew me to the album. The cover (which was clearly created with Applepaint™ or Paintworks™, features a cartoon of the classic one-piece Mac sitting on a pair of Chuck Taylors with the laces undone, a floppy-brimmed hat balanced on the corner of the top, sunglasses (either being displayed on the screen, or else with the stems broken off and glued on) in the middle of the monitor, and a cigarette dangling from out of the 3.5" floppy drive.
This cool character is situated on a sidewalk in front of an incredibly uniform brick wall, which has been vandalized by a piece of graffiti which reads, "MAC THE RAPPER." This is clearly drawn with the "spray paint" tool, common to such graphics/drawing programs. And finally, the title "WHAT IS LOVE - the single" is shown off to the left of Mac.
My only comment is this. I can understand the irony of using a Mac to create the artwork, but WHY MUST IT SMOKE? This was produced about the same time that I was in kindergarten, and I can clearly recollect my older siblings participating in anti-smoking activities before then. I don't think that Run-DMC smoked cigarettes. Come to think of it, I can't think of any old-school rap group who made smoking tobacco part of their image.
This part is actually pretty cool. The sleeve has a large (again, Paintworks produced) picture of a 3.5" floppy on it. And the back of it has the a picture, exactly the same size, of the back of the floppy. I think that that would be a good design, even for a non-Mac-oriented band today.
The Back Cover
Using traditional design techniques, the back has the same "spray paint" logo on the top, and the rest of the information is in two columns. These are transcribed below, in their entirety.
WHAT IS LOVE
words and music by Bob Mithoff - Copyright © 1987 All Purpose Music
?gnuoy rieht tae CRMP eht taht eurt ti si
Hello. My name is Mac. Mac the Rapper.
I'm here today to talk to you about Love.
What is Love?
It Makes us laugh, it makes us cry
We all need it but we don't know why.
Love. Love. Love. What is Love?
What is Love?
Webster says it is a strong, usually passionate affection
for a person of the opposite sex.
Either that or a score of zero in sports.
I guess this all makes sense somehow.
No. No. What's that? Ouch. Wait.
Hot, hot, hot.
Mac the Rapper
Is it on my radio or T.V.
Maybe my papers or my magazines?
I'm hot. My doctor says I'm not.
Says I'm ill, gives me pills.
So, boys and girls, what is Love?
Don't ask me. I just like looking for it.
WHO IS MAC THE RAPPER?
Mac is a computer- an Apple© Macintosh™ computer.
But he's a computer who has learned to sing.
Because he's a totally cool guy.
Except for some assistance from his producers, and a couple of
humans singing backing vocals, he did it all himself.
WRITTEN, PRODUCED, AND PERFORMED BY
MACINTOSH ILLUSTRATION BY
HUMAN BACKING VOCALS BY
BREAKDOWN KEYBOARD EFFECTS BY
His Rappingness would also like to thank the principals of All Purpose Music for making the record possible, Lincoln Zimmanck at Audio Engineering Associates, and Marc Mann at Personal Support Computers.
For more information about his record, or the Mac the Rapper Fan Club, write to
Shinola Records, 8306 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 1509, Beverly Hills, CA 90211
or phone (213)465-7627
Pseudo_Intellectual says re Mac the Rapper: so where can we find copies of this recording? Gogole(sic) doesn't seem to have ever heard of it.
Yeah, I did a Google too, and I also checked AllMusic. Neither have anything near that. I would recommend either contacting Shinola Records (if they're still in business) via the address above, or else just wait a few weeks and check KaZaA. I'll try ripping it some time this week.
I've left the address and phone number in there largely for humor's sake, but if they should be removed that can be arranged.
Also, I'd like to to question the staunch anti-PMRC statement that was cleverly coded into the first line of the lyrics. Clearly, this record isn't testing any lyrical boundaries. The only things even remotely immoral about it are the smoking computer and the idea of a computer out looking for love (I have no idea how that works, but there are a number of puns that could involve either 3.5" floppy or the I/O port.)