Artists often use their own lives in order to ground their work. For Magic, a wealth of titillating experiences is only a thought away. The New Orleans rapper, who hit the scene with 1998’s underground critically acclaimed “Sky’s The Limit” and 1999’s well-received “Thuggin,'” grew up in the rough Crescent City streets and toured the world with mentor Master P as a part of the mighty No Limit Records family.
With “White Eyes,” Magic’s best and most complete album to date, he pours his heart and soul into an undeniably strong collection of songs that present life from nearly every angle.”I’ve seen a lot through my eyes and it was a great growing experience watching these things,” Magic says. “It’s all about everything that happened to me in between ‘Sky’s The Limit’ and here. I put it together on one CD. That’s what ‘White Eyes’ is.”
The hard-hitting lead single “What,” produced by Presidential Campaign (Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, Busta Rhymes, Pink, RL), sets the album off with a bombastic bang. The bone-crushing cut serves as a powerful introduction to one of the most underrated MCs in the game.
Magic shifts into overdrive on “911” and “War With These,” which features the crunktastic Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz. On the riotous “911,” also produced by Presidential Campaign, a nasty lead guitar creates a rowdy vibe. “It’s one of them rave type songs,” Magic explains. “I was tired of limiting myself to one fanbase. Sometimes you get caught up in making a certain type of music. ‘911’ is one of those crazy songs that I imagine a whole bunch of white boys would listen to and crush some beer cans on their heads. You could put it on in a rave party. It’s one of those songs that has a lot of energy in it.”
Magic invests his energy wisely in putting together top-notch lyrics on “Creepers.” This song should impress even the most critical lyrical analyst, as Magic spits the type of lyrical gymnastics that will have fans hitting the rewind button again and again. “On ‘Creepers,’ I’m just spitting from beginning to end,” he says. “Anybody who has ever had anything to say about Southern rap, this is a song for you. I want people from all parts of the world to say that this dude is completely different.”
But being different isn’t the only thing Magic is about. As he did on the smash hit “Wobble, Wobble,” Magic gives it up to New Orleans on the sure-fire club smash “Shake A Little Something.” Although he’s known for his rough, rugged rhymes, Magic wanted to give his hometown fans something they could appreciate with “Shake A Little Something.” “It’s a New Orleans song,” he says. “New Orleans music is based on dance music and dance music alone. ‘Shake A Little Something’ was a song that I created because I wanted New Orleans to feel like I didn’t forget about home. It’s something that they could put on the radio and dance to. People are going to love it everywhere, but I basically did it for New Orleans to give back.”
Magic then puts himself in the limelight on “Ball Like Us.” Here, he explains that balling isn’t necessarily about “bling blinging,” but rather about how you carry yourself. Then, he again flips the script on “Hustlers,” detailing his background and showing that hustling isn’t necessarily negative; it can be anything that helps you get the job done.
As powerful as these songs may be, “Forgive Us” may be the anchor of “White Eyes.” On this soul-stirring cut, Magic gives listeners a glimpse into his emotions. “On every album I have a song where I release my soul and let people know what I’m really, really feeling from the spiritual side,” he says.
Indeed, “White Eyes” caters to every crowd and pleases them all. “I’ve got songs on this album that are catering to every different crowd,” Magic explains. “A woman 45 years old could go get this album and there’s a song on there for her. She’d say, ‘If it didn’t have all those other songs on there with all that cursing, I’d love this album. But I literally sat down and catered to every different age group, race, everything.”
This type of appeal is a new step for Magic, who came out blazing on his underground classic debut album, “Sky’s The Limit.” That collection, while respected on the streets, only gave listeners a smidgen of what Magic had to offer as a lyricist. After all, he was fresh off the streets, having been discovered by Master P’s brother C-Murder. Magic, despite his promise, had yet to see the world and become a well rounded person.
“I had no experience then,” Magic recalls. “I wasn’t ready. P had me in front of 10,000 and 20,000 people in stadiums. I had just gotten off the streets, just gotten out of jail and I just jumped right in the game with ‘Sky’s The Limit.’ I was a child.”
Magic showed artistic growth on 1999’s “Thuggin,” which contained the original version of “Wobble, Wobble,” the song the 504 Boyz would ride to platinum in 2000. Having seen the peaks and the pits of life, Magic now knows one of life’s most important lessons. “You can never get relaxed,” he says. “The day you get relaxed is the day that you just become another rapper. My every day life still includes writing, making music, doing all the things I did when I first came out. My hunger, my aggression was what made people love me. It hasn’t changed because I refuse to be relaxed.”
Now, moving full throttle, Magic is prepared to unleash “White Eyes,” the most promising album of his career. “This album, it’s the one,” Magic gushes. “From beginning to end, I gave my all. It’s that fire. When people hear this, they’re going to be like, ‘I don’t know why people were sleeping on this dude.'” The rap world will soon wake up to the underground rhymes of Magic’s “White Eyes.”