When an actor transitions into the realm of music, the public often scrutinizes, keeping ears open waiting for judgement. This is done because we are used to these individuals falling flat or not truly delivering musically. On the other hand, there are the rare cases that do deliver, and that is the case of Mack Wilds.
Having burst onto the scene with his memorable character on HBO’s classic show, The Wire, Tristan “Mack” Wilds is definitely one to watch on the music scene. On his major label debut, New York: A Love Story, Mack delivers music worthy of the album title, melding musical references from New York City-based hip hop in the 1990s, and making it fresh for new ears. The album contains musical interpolations (samples) from popular songs by Wu-Tang Clan, Jay Z, Mobb Deep, Erik B. and Rakim, and KRS-One, to name a few.
On the album’s thirteen tracks, crafted in majority by musical wonder/label head Salaam Remi, along with little outside production, the 24-year old Staten Island native’s tenor floats over bass-heavy beats. There is a balance between the gritty and the smooth, showing range in songs from street anthem “Wild Things” featuring Method Man, to the sweet quiet-storm vibe of “Don’t Turn Me Down.” Raekwon and Doug E. Fresh also appear on the album on the melancholy track, “U Can Cry To Me”.
The underlying aspect that brings the album together is the honesty in its storytelling of love and all its ups and downs. “Art Of Fallin’” is reminiscent of the interludes on Lauryn Hill’s Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, asking various individuals their thoughts on being in love. You are taken from the courting process, to dating, to the club, to the bedroom, to the hangover, to the falling out of love in just under fifty minutes. Standout tracks include “Own It,” “MaGic!!!,” “A NY Love Story,” “Keepin It Real,” and a cover of Michael Jackson’s “Remember The Time”.
New York: A Love Story is a really solid debut from Mack Wilds, letting us all know that he means business, and is here to stay for a while.