Rochester, Michigan native Bryan Lackner, better known by his stage name Mister, isn’t exactly your average rapper.
He doesn’t dedicate entire songs to his fascination with drugs or guns or jail time. He isn’t weighed down by pounds of gaudy jewelry. He doesn’t sport designer sunglasses when he performs. Instead, he’s wearing oversized reading glasses and corduroys.
“I wear a suit on stage,” Mister said. “And I rap about macaroni and cheese.”
He isn’t joking.
Mister is known to perform in crooked golfer’s hats and loosely knotted ties, polyester vests and tailored dressed pants. At first glance, he looks like a bearded golf caddy with a microphone. But when you listen to his lyrics, you realize he’s much more than that.
As a teen, Mister used hip-hop as a way to creatively convey his emotions and ideas, crafting countless verses that he claims to have been “riddled with teen angst and awful wordplay.”
Since then, Mister has emerged as a word-of-mouth sensation around Oakland County, thanks to his vivid imagery, unique style and unwavering originality. Inspired by the eccentricity of Andy Kaufman and the brutal honesty of Louis C.K., Mister’s quick-witted rhymes capture the essence of being an outcast without having to bring attention to his race.
And, like most independent artists struggling to garner recognition in their hometown, Mister has to juggle his burgeoning music career with his regular 9-to-5 day job — an acquired skill that takes both patience and compromise.
“(Making music) doesn’t pay the bills, so I have to work to eat,” Mister said. “But, if there’s downtime at the job, I’m always updating my website and scribbling ideas for songs.”
Most of those ideas have flourished into impressively arrangement compositions.
In a song titled “What I Do,” Mister poetically explains the necessity of keeping his ego in check despite being constantly praised by his peers.
“They keep clappin’/gathers up his things and, some give dap, but/he barely makes time to acknowledge it/grateful yes, he’s just never been good at taking compliments.”
And in a track called “Need That Food,” Mister verbally debates over which snack to grab from the cupboard before settling on — you guessed it – a pouch of microwavable mac and cheese.
“After I leave my 9-5, I’m either writing, recording, shooting stupid promo videos, or promoting and putting together the next show,” Mister said. His undeniable dedication to hip-hop is commendable, considering how competitive Detroit’s music scene has become in the past few years. “The music in Detroit is better than anywhere else in the world,” Mister said.
Some of his favorite local artists include Illy Mack, House Phone, Bars of Gold, Child Bite, Of Mice and Musicians, Prussia and The Ashleys. Mister has joined forces with Cold Men Young’s Blaksmith to form Passalacqua, a conceptual hip-hop duo that successfully blends and complements each other’s intelligence and imagination.
The two are putting the finishing touches on a new full-length album, “Zebehazy Summer,” which will be available for digital download in August 2011.