One of the year’s most surprising debuts has been the emergence of Mack Wilds.
The buzz-heavy R&B singer/rapper, who first garnered fame as actor Tristan Wilds in the acclaimed HBO series The Wire and the 90210 re-boot, has been earning the respect of both critics and fans for his infectious single “Own It.” The track, with its distinct early ‘90s throwback feel, has become a radio favorite, showcasing an act that is serious when it comes to his musical pursuits.
But according to legendary hip-hop producer Pete Rock, who has worked with Wilds, the 24-year-old talent is much more than a one hit wonder.
“I’m actually on Mack Wilds’ new LP, which I think is the best hip-hop/R&B album out right now,” Rock glows of the full-length release New York: A Love Story, which features such rap icons as the Wu-Tang Clan’s Raekwon and Method Man, DJ Premier, and Doug E. Fresh. “He brought back a sound that was missing. He combines R&B and hip-hop the way it’s supposed to be done. If you want to know how to do that sound listen to Mack Wild’s album. It’s crazy.”
Wilds and Rock collaborated on the straight-ahead rhyme workout “Duck Sauce,” a cut that even took the celebrated studio visionary—who has logged recording time with the likes of Nas, Mary J. Blige, Run-D.M.C., and Kanye West—off guard.
“I hooked up with Salaam Remi who oversaw Mack’s album,” Rock explains. “Me and Remi collaborated on one song and then I ended up doing another song for Mack. It’s a dope hip-hop song. When he rapped over my beat it blew my mind. We are not related but I call Mack nephew and he calls me uncle. Just on the respect tip.”
Pete Rock, who recently joined former partner C.L. Smooth for a reunion tour, is finishing up a sequel to this year’s 80 Blocks From Tiffany’s Pt. II.
“I’m very excited about what I have in store,” he says of his future projects. —Keith Murphy (@murphdogg29)