The Middle Men
-- by Bill "Low-Key" Heinzelman  

  The city of Cleveland has not felt a Hip Hop buzz radiating from its streets in almost a decade. The Middle Men, comprised of Mack and Live Wire, have revived Cleveland's Hip Hop scene in only two short years. Now the entire city and state of Ohio has embraced the duo as Hip Hop's next big thing.

As is the story with many living in America's inner cities, Mack and Live Wire were raised in a single-family household and struggled to get by. However, with Cleveland being the poorest big city in the country, those struggles were harder than one would imagine. At the age of 14, Live Wire sought the comfort of the streets to gain the objects that his mother could no longer provide. "My mother was able to support me up until the age of 14, but after that my mom couldn't produce what I wanted", states Wire. "Shit was too expensive, so I did what I had to do to get things". Unfortunately, the streets caught up to Live Wire and he was faced with multiple jail sentences over the years.

Mack, who is Live Wire's first cousin, faced similar struggles growing up. However, his fortunes turned when he moved out to Atlanta, Georgia, at the age of 19 and hooked up with Chris Cosper of Hype City Entertainment. While in Atlanta Mack started to take his craft seriously, as he hit the studio with a vengeance. With his rap career taking form, Mack decided to move back to Cleveland, in which he met back up with Live Wire. And as they say, the rest is history.

The duo decided to form Middle Men, which according to Mack means, "We need a cut on everything". The two cousins see their music as inspiration to everyone in the streets. As Mack states, "We are bringing hustle music to the table, we are not on that bubble gum music. We are bringing the reality and realness back to the game". Live Wire and Mack have also established Middle Men Records, which will be home to their debut album The album features the lead single "Baby", which also stars Juelz Santana of the Diplomats. will also feature guest appearances from Bushwick Bill of the legendary Geto Boys, and Taj Mahal, and Un Kasa of the Purple City Byrd Gang.

The Middle Men are exactly what Hip Hop needs. They bring an uncompromising street sound mixed with lyrical brilliance and conceptual value. Mack and Live Wire are here not only put Cleveland back on the map, but to show the world that they are a force to be reckoned with.

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