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Local hip-hop artist to perform at SXSW

Ironton High School Class of 2011 graduate McKinley Carter, who goes by the name of Mac Carter, knew at a young age he wanted to make music.

“I started rapping at 9 years old,” he said. “I used to just freestyle and I didn’t take it too seriously then. At the time, my manager had a headset with a program that we used to record off of. When I was 12, I heard my friend rap. That’s when I knew I had to do that.”

Carter, now 21, has been recording ever since and said many things influence him in his music.

“Life in general and the city where I’m from influence me,” he said. “The city motivates me to just grind and write music the best I can.”

Carter does some recording in Ironton, but the majority of his music is recorded at his manager’s house in Athens, he said.

There are many artists that influence his music as well.

“My biggest influences as of right now are J. Cole, Kanye West, Kid Cudi and Nipsey Hussle,” he said. “I also listen to a lot of people from this area around here, the whole Tri-State.”

This past Friday, Carter left to start his first tour along with Cleveland rapper Draft P1ck. The tour has stops in Indiana, Illinois, Missouri and Oklahoma before Carter will perform at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Music Festival March 17-22 in Austin, Texas.

“I’m looking forward to everything about being on tour,” he said. “The touring process, going from city to city and seeing how the vibes are in different areas.”

Carter takes great pride in being all about the music, as he is not yet signed to a major label.

“It’s really about being self-made in the music independently,” he said. “I’m not doing this with a label that’s just looking at it as a business instead of just the music.”

Perfecting his craft and making sure that his music sounds the way he wants it are important to Carter.

“I used to release my music right after making it,” he said. “Now, I’ve been recording so much music, I’m sitting on 50, close to 60, records that I’ll go back to and decide how I want them to sound and take it to another level.”

Carter said that if he didn’t make music, he would like to go into banking, although he is trying to make it to the top of the music industry.

“I love the process of making music,” he said. “From getting the ideas for a topic of a song to thinking about it and putting it down to recording it in the studio and hearing how it sounds.”

Carter’s music is currently available on Soundcloud and YouTube as well as his website www.hl4ml.com.