By Ashley Lucas
While this may come as a surprise to some, the genre of rap music is highly coveted by most songwriters. I happen to REALLY enjoy just listening to hip-hop, but as a songwriter (of primarily folk music), I can’t help but be in awe of the ability to create so many internal, clever rhymes in a 3-4 minute span.
Poe Mack, a hip-hop artist from Roanoke, has been making music for over 20 years. He tours up and down the east coast, from Maine to the country music capital, Nashville, all the way down to Florida. Mack, who is signed to Roanoke-based Rawsole Records, is a man of many talents. Not only is he a lyricist, but he produces, records and engineers his own tunes. He produces for others as well in his home-studio and has been working at Flat Five Press and Recording Company since 2005. Mack is also active in the community, performing in benefits for ovarian cancer, Hurricane Katrina disaster, and the victims of the Virginia Tech Massacre.
My personal draw to Mack’s music is the subject matter. He has written many songs about Roanoke, shooting music videos in popular areas throughout the city. One such song, “We on a Run”, is about Mack’s third shift job at Wells Fargo. Watch the video, or listen to the song on Spotify, then check out the story behind the song in Mack’s own words:
“The visual aspect of the song was based around what would appear to be a bank heist that actually was my album heist. James Bumbry, the director, thought it would match the mood of the song. One funny thing about the song, as strange as it may sound, I wanted to deliver the triumphant feeling of leaving a phone bank at 3am and going straight home to your own studio. After leaving your 9 to 5, or in my case, an overnight job, cutting on the mic allows me to escape it. I feel like I am “On A Run” at 4am.
I spoke low with my voice because I was recording it at 4am in my apartment. I was attempting not to wake up my girl, the old lady downstairs, and my landlord.”