Tristan "Mack" Wilds Isn't Just Adele's "Hello" Video Co-star, He's Also A Talented Hip-Hop Artist
Still sobbing to Adele's heartbreaking, soul-crushing "Hello" music video? Take a little break and listen to some other new music: the music of Tristan "Mack" Wilds, the actor who plays Adele's ex-lover in all of the video's depressing flashback sequences. You might already know him as an actor from his roles on 90210 and The Wire, but the 26-year-old is also a Grammy-nominated musician, and he's just as passionate about hip-hop and R&B as he is about acting; it's all about performing for him.
Mack Wilds, as he is known when he's recording music, released his first full-length album New York: A Love Story in 2013, and told Spin that the inspiration for the album came from working in Los Angeles as an actor and feeling homesick for "the soundscapes of New York." The 13-track release was nominated for Best Urban Contemporary Album at the 2014 Grammys, and featured collaborations between Wilds and some of the best MCs, rappers, and hip-hop artists in the game, including Raekwon, Doug E. Fresh, and Method Man.
Wilds talked to Bossip back in 2013 when he released his album about why he decided to use the name "Mack," saying he wanted to separate his work in R&B and hip-hop from his acting career, and make his music more personal:
I feel like a lot of people know me from different characters that I’ve played; The Wire or 90210, whatever. But I really wanted to bring people into my life with this music, especially because it’s going to be so personal. And my family name is Mack. So, because my family calls me Mack, and they call me Mack in my neighborhood, I might as well have everyone else call me that as well.
If you like hip-hop classics like Nas and Wu-Tang Clan, you'll love Wilds' music. And it's no wonder those legends influenced him. In a profile on Noisey, written about the night that Wilds found out he was nominated for a Grammy (and was, of course, shocked and elated), the rapper said that he literally grew up with Wu-Tang. "Since I was like 3, Wu-Tang would come in my dad’s barbershop and get their hair cut before they went on tour," Wilds said.
Besides the music that he makes on his own, he's also been featured in a number of other music videos from huge hip-hop stars, including Jay Z's stellar video for "Roc Boys (And The Winner Is...)". Yep, he hangs with HOVA (and that probably means he knows Queen Bey, too).
So, if you're looking for some new hip-hop that sounds like something older, definitely check Wilds out. New York: A Love Story has been praised for its nostalgia for older, classic beats, and it's a showcase of just how deeply connected the actor-rapper has always been to the rap and hip-hop scene, even though he's been so busy with his acting career.
Does he consider himself an actor or a musician? Both, of course. "I would say that I was [more of a musician], music being my first love," he told Bossip. "But, after falling in love with acting as well, I would say that I’m just an overall artist. Who knows what I’m gonna touch next?"
We'll just have to wait and see, but with a Grammy nomination, two TV major shows under his belt, and the new notoriety he's getting from Adele's video, we should all be keeping our eye on Tristan "Mack" Wilds.