Jay Soldner
Mac Lethal will release his new album "11:11" this week.

Born David McCleary Sheldon, Mac Lethal has risen to the top of the Kansas City rap scene.

"There wasn't any real challenge that anyone else hasn't faced in this genre," he said by phone from Los Angeles. "But then again, I didn't grow up in L.A. or New York. And there are those challenges that those artists face that I will never face. I mean I'm from the Midwest, and people there seem to dig what I'm doing."

Mac Lethal got into hip-hop because of the beats, he said. "I don't know how many people influenced me. Dr. Dre did, but I liked the sound of the music. I liked the beats. They resonated in my body, and I liked the way it felt.

"I like the fact that there's just the music and the rapping. When I'm playing live, I just have a DJ and myself. And there isn't a big production. It's pretty basic. And I keep it simple, because it's the music and beat that needs to be put in the forefront."

Mac Lethal's new album "11:11" will be released this week, and he made the album the same way he creates all his work — he "let it flow."

"I worked on the album for about six months. I just went in and things started up. I just let it take over and followed what needed to be done."

A bunch of dance-floor beats and creative, gymnastic rapping are what Mac Lethal is about. But sometimes he thinks he made a wrong choice in life. "Because I initially wanted to make movies. I mean, if I would have started with movies the same time I started music, whoa — I might be doing something more."

Still, Mac Lethal knows what he wants in life. "I'd like to make $50 million and do movies," he said with a laugh. "But the energy of the live shows is amazing. And on this tour, everyone has been feeling the vibe and feeding off it."

If you go ...

What: Atmosphere, Grayskul, Mac Lethal, LuckyIAm

Where: In the Venue, 219 S. 600 West

When: Thursday, 7 p.m.

How much: $17

Phone: 467-8499, 800-888-8499

Web: www.smithstix.com

E-mail: scott@desnews.com