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|Birth name||McKinley Phipps Jr.|
|Also known as||The Camouflage Assassin|
|Born||July 30, 1977|
New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
|Labels||No Limit, Priority|
|Associated acts||Master P, Nas, Snoop Dogg, 504 Boyz, Silkk the Shocker, Soulja Slim, B.G., Mystikal, Mia X, C-Murder|
McKinley Phipps, Jr. (born July 30, 1977), better known simply as Mac, is an American rapper and songwriter from New Orleans' 3rd Ward. Mac began rapping as a child, releasing his debut album The Lyrical Midget at the age of 13 in 1990, under the stage name Lil Mac. Mac would eventually sign with Master P's No Limit Records and would grow to be one of the most critically acclaimed artists on the label, both as a solo rapper and as a member of the super group 504 Boyz. Mac released 2 solo albums and 1 album as part of the 504 Boyz on No Limit, including 1998’s Shell Shocked, which peaked at #11 on the US Billboard 200.
In 2001, Mac was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 30 years in prison. He is currently serving his sentence at the Elayn Hunt Correctional Center in Louisiana. Phipps maintains his innocence, and his parents have campaigned to re-open the investigation into his case for many years.
Mac was born McKinley Phipps, Jr. to Sheila Phipps and McKinley Phipps, Sr. in New Orleans, Louisiana, the oldest of their six children. He began his music career in 1990, and by the time he was 13 years old, under the name "Lil Mac", he released his debut album, The Lyrical Midget. The album was one of the earliest commercial hip-hop albums to come out of New Orleans, and featured production from New Orleans producer Mannie Fresh.
Late 1990s: No Limit Records, Shell Shocked, and World War III
Lil Mac would later join the Psychoward, a New Orleans group consisting of more than 28 MCs. Psychoward is known in New Orleans for having a sound that separates itself from the usual Bounce music and gangster/hustler lyrics that typifies most of the New Orleans rap scene, rather focusing on lyricism and a sound which could be described as a "New Orleans Wu-Tang Clan". This made them favorites of local hip hop fans who often prefer this style to other local acts. In 1997, the group released their debut album, www.psychoward.com to acclaim, with many naming Lil Mac as the standout artist.
After rejecting an offer to move to New York and sign with Def Jam Records, Lil Mac changed his name to simply Mac and signed with Master P's No Limit Records. He toured with No Limit throughout the U.S. and Europe, and made guest appearances on many other artists' albums before releasing his own. He was featured on Master P's Ghetto D, Mystikal's Unpredictable, and Mia X's Unlady Like, among others. The next year in 1998, Mac released his second solo album and first with No Limit, Shell Shocked. The album is Mac's most commercially successful to date, reaching #11 on the Billboard 200. Mac again was featured on many other No Limit artist's releases that year. In 1999, he released his second album on the label, World War III. While it was still on the label, this release differed from usual No Limit releases in that it was not exclusively produced by the production team Beats by the Pound, and featured only three guest appearances from major No Limit names Master P, C-Murder, and Silkk the Shocker. The album did not fare as well commercially as his first No Limit release, peaking at #44 on the Billboard 200. Mac's musical style differed from many other Southern hip hop artists in this period, and he often displayed a level of lyrical complexity that has come to be associated with East Coast hip hop.
504 Boyz and later releases
World War III would be Mac's last album released on No Limit and his last solo album to date, as he would be sentenced to a 30-year prison term for manslaughter after 19 year old Barron C. Victor, Jr. died from a gunshot wound in a Louisiana nightclub in 2001. In 2000, he joined the group 504 Boyz, whose name was a reference to the area code 504. The group was a collective of other No Limit rappers such as Master P, Silkk the Shocker, and C-Murder. Mac was with the group for one album, 2000's Goodfellas, which went gold and reached #2 on the Billboard 200. He was featured prominently on the group's hit single "Wobble Wobble", rapping the first verse and the chorus. The song reached #17 on the Billboard Hot 100.
In 2007, while Mac was still serving his prison term, No Limit released the album The Lost Tapes, which consisted of unreleased material Mac recorded with the label.
On May 31, 2012, DJ 5150 released the mixtape Uptown Veterans' which is a compilation of Mac's greatest hits.
On February 21, 2000, Phipps was scheduled to perform at Slidell, Louisiana nightclub Club Mercedes, but a fight broke out before the show that resulted in Phipps shooting 19-year-old Barron C Victor, Jr. after Victor attempted to break up the fight. Phipps was arrested and charged with second-degree murder, and was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to thirty years to life in prison on September 21, 2001. He is currently serving his sentence at the Elayn Hunt Correctional Center in Louisiana. Days into the police investigation, Thomas Williams, a man who was working security that night at the club, confessed to shooting Victor after another patron charged him with a beer bottle. The police pursued charges against Mac anyways.
In December 2014, Northwestern University's Medill Justice Project (MJP), in partnership with The Lens, published the results of a three-month investigation of Phipps' conviction, revealing that a key eyewitness at his trial gave his private investigator an affidavit in 2013 that stated she was coerced into identifying Phipps as the shooter because of investigators' threats to charge her. Following Medill's investigation, David Lohr of The Huffington Post published the results of a four-month review of Phipps' conviction, further revealing that four other witnesses to the shooting told the publication that they also were threatened, intimidated or outright ignored by investigators. Phipps' family has since obtained affidavits from many of the individuals in an effort to get him a new trial.
On March 25, 2015, rapper Killer Mike told students at Dillard University in New Orleans that it was unacceptable for authorities to use rap lyrics in the prosecution of Phipps: "If we let this stand, what you're going to see is that tool is going to be used to wipe out an entire potential generation of [artists] out of our community."
Phipps has applied for the Louisiana governor’s clemency in 2016, asking to be released from prison for time served. In the petition sent to the Louisiana Board of Pardons and Parole he seeks a commutation due to a "wrongful conviction and excessive sentence", as "evidence developed over the last two years" which includes, among other things, findings from MJP’s investigation.
|Title||Release||Peak chart positions||Sales|
|The Lyrical Midget||—||—|
|World War III||
- Goodfellas with 504 Boyz (2000)
- Lost Tapes (2007)
- Uptown Veterans (2012)
|1990||"I Need Wheels"||The Lyrical Midget|
|1996||"Mad or Jealous" (featuring Storm)||Non-album single|
|1998||"Boss Chick" (featuring Mia X)||Shell Shocked|
|1999||"War Party" (featuring Magic & D.I.G.)||World War III|
|1999||"If It's Cool" (featuring Ms. Peaches)||World War III|
- "Offender Details". Vinelink.com. Archived from the original on 2014-03-14. Retrieved 2012-06-25.
- [dead link]
- "Crime Watch Daily investigates the murder conviction of rising rapper Mac Phipps". Crimewatchdaily.com. Retrieved 23 November 2017.
- "Imprisoned New Orleans Rapper Mac Is Looking for Redemption - XXL". XXL Mag. Retrieved 23 November 2017.
- "Mac - Biography & History - AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 17 August 2018.
- "World War III - Mac - Songs, Reviews, Credits - AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 17 August 2018.
- "Imprisoned New Orleans Rapper Mac Is Looking for Redemption - XXL". XXL Mag. Retrieved 17 August 2018.
- "No Limit Rapper Mac Charged With First-Degree Murder". Mtv.com. Retrieved 23 November 2017.
- "Rapper convicted of manslaughter in nightclub slaying". The Advocate. Baton Rouge, La. 2001-09-25. Retrieved 2008-09-08.
- Madden, Sidney (23 October 2020). "'My Dream Was Being Used Against Me In Court'". Wisconsin Public Radio. Retrieved 30 October 2020.
- "Years after rapper was convicted for killing, questions raised about his case". The Lens Nola.
- "Witnesses: DA Bullied Testimony That Put Rapper Away For 30 Years". The Huffington Post. New York, Ny. 2015-03-18. Retrieved 2015-03-26.
- "Bullied Eyewitnesses Blast Rapper's Wrongful Conviction, Join Family In Plea For New Trial". The Huffington Post. New York, Ny. 2015-03-24. Retrieved 2015-03-26.
- "Rapper Killer Mike Deplores Prosecution Of McKinley Phipps: 'We Must Stand With Artists Like Mac'". The Huffington Post. New York, Ny. 2015-03-25. Retrieved 2015-03-26.
- "Former Rising Rap Star Seeks Clemency in Murder Conviction". Medill Justice Project. 2016-09-15.