In the past, Mac Irv has distanced his music from his alma mater.
A Minnesota Golden Gophers point guard before becoming a rapper, the real-name Lawrence McKenzie didn’t want to be reduced to “former Minnesota Golden Gophers point guard who became a rapper.” There’s much more to the uplifting north Minneapolis rhymer than his ties to the maroon and gold.
But it seems Irv got caught up in the excitement around the NCAA mens' basketball tournament, which tips off Thursday. He just released "Minnesota March," a University of Minnesota-sponsored fight song, to coincide with his Gophers’ March Madness bid.
“At first, I felt like [my college basketball background] was a gift and a curse,” Irv said in a 2016 sit-down with City Pages. "People wanted to hear me, but I think they wanted to laugh at me, honestly. It turned into an automatic excuse for everybody. They were like, 'He's good, but he only got this because he was playing basketball.’”
The rising local MC has apparently learned how to best leverage his non-basketball ambitions and his past as a hoops star at the U. “Minnesota March” is not only a galvanizing anthem for his hometown team, but it’s also a great showcase of Irv’s ability to inspire. Feeling more like a Nike commercial than a rap video, it’s enough to give goosebumps to even the wokest detractors in the Twin Cities, encapsulating the volatility and exalt of college sports in a brief 1:21 capsule.
Yes, there’s the repetitious, spell-out chorus, but Irv's spirit could fire up even the most beleaguered Minnesota sports fan. A favorite to be upset by Middle Tennessee in the tourney's first round, this Gophers squad is out to prove they deserve national respect. Mac Irv just gifted them an adrenaline-spiking fight song to fuel that effort.