Rapper Type MHG is probably one of the easiest people to find on Duke's campus, but if you don't know him—or even if you do—chances are you don't know him by that name.
With a Vic Mensa-esque hairstyle featuring all-blonde dreadlocks and a voice that sounds like Schoolboy Q, Logic and Chance the Rapper all in one, MHG has developed a small but faithful following, more than 1,500 strong on YouTube to go along with the nearly 500,000 views he's compiled in just two years.
And that's only one of the crowds he performs for on a weekly basis.
Macario Hing-Glover is a 20-year old sophomore at Duke, a starter on the men's soccer team and by daytime, nighttime and naptime, independent underground rapper Type MHG.
0-100, Real Quick
It isn't surprising that Hing-Glover, born and raised in Phoenix, has a dream of being a successful artist, as he grew up in a musically-inclined family. But even with music in his blood, his roots aren’t exactly set in rap.
“My whole family was pretty musical—my mom played the piano, my sister played the piano and sang. She sang a lot of classical music, like opera and stuff,” he said, adding that he also played piano and trumpet early on. “I didn’t hear that much rap when I was younger."
It wouldn’t be until high school that he was truly exposed to rap music, consuming 50 Cent and Eminem during his introduction to the genre. Imitating the fast-paced, shock-rap style of Eminem, Hing-Glover and his friends began writing and rapping lyrics to some of the songs they’d listen to, and before long, recording them.
There was no real hip-hop dream or desire to be the next great emcee for any of them, just a kid and his friends trying to spit some fire on a 16 and get some exposure among their peers for the hell of it.
But as it turns out, the teenage Hing-Glover actually had some heat behind his bars.
Rapping into an iPad Mini (he didn’t invest in a legitimate mic and shock mount until senior year), Hing-Glover’s music started to impress his buddies. But even then, it wasn’t enough to force him to consider rapping as anything more than hobby. When he first started to dedicate more time and rack up a good amount of hits on his YouTube account, he wasn't fully convinced this was anything more than a group of friends having some fun.
Of course, “a good amount,” in YouTube language can mean a lot of things to a lot of different people, but when his remix of Drake’s “0-100” broke into five-figure viewership, Hing-Glover finally realized he was on to something.
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“That was when people started giving me a lot of feedback. I didn’t really think of it past, ‘Oh, this is cool to be well-known around high school,” he said. “When I took it seriously was when I made a remix. It was a Drake remix: '0-100.' It got 30,000 views on YouTube. It was not when my friends were telling me [that I knew], but when I started getting exposure outside of my friend group.”
Telling the Fam
At home, away from the Internet, his parents initially balked at his new interest—rap was largely foreign to them, so connecting with their son’s music took a while. But, after enough coaxing and support, Hing-Glover’s parents came around to the idea.
“It was something they had to come around to," he said. "At first, they didn’t even like rap, so it was first them coming around to liking rap. Then there were some artists that they listened to when I showed them. And now, at least at the point I’m at right now, they’re really supportive. If there’s a music video or something they like, my mom will send me a text message saying she really liked it. And my dad’s been really supportive, same with my sister. That’s been really positive.”
His parents wouldn't be the last group he was nervous to show his music.
As previously mentioned, Hing-Glover is a member of the Duke men's soccer team, and if you've never been a part of a high school or college roster, you may not fully understand just how terrifying it is to enter as a freshman with something looming like an online, untold rap career. Rest assured, it's a menacing challenge. Luckily—in retrospect—for Hing-Glover, he never had to tell any of his teammates. They found out on their own before he even played his first game.
"I don’t think I’ve ever told anyone I rap. I remember, it was preseason last year, my freshman year, and one of the upperclassmen followed me on Instagram and they saw through my Instagram that I rap," Hing-Glover said. "Then I came to the team dinner and everyone was playing my music. So it actually came out pretty quickly. I was planning on holding it for a while before I knew everyone, but that’s how it came out. The coaches found out soon after. They really like it, actually. And my teammates love it—they’re probably my biggest fans."
And that seems to be the pattern with just about all of Hing-Glover's following—reading through the various YouTube videos' comments sections, there's not one negative comment to be found. But he's aware that should he ever break through, there will likely be hate to come—not that he's worried about it.
"I haven’t actually experienced any hate about like, ‘Oh, you go to Duke, you can’t be a rapper,'" he said. "But that’s probably because my fan base is mostly Duke, and even my online fan base was already there before I went to Duke. I’m sure that if I ever do make it, I’ll experience hate about that, but I find it so insignificant that I’m not even worried about it."
Behind the Beats
Since he's been at Duke, Hing-Glover has dropped two mixtapes, "Millionaire Mentality," which dropped in February, and "Sophisticated Ignorance," which he released via DatPiff Oct. 2. Both contain upwards of 15 songs, and both took roughly five months to fully complete due to an already-busy schedule.
“It’s really time consuming," he said. "I think some people take naps, so that’s probably when I make music. When I make music, I usually have an idea—I don’t go and sit down and think, ‘I have to make a song.’ It’s more that I’ve thought about a lot of stuff over a period of two weeks, and maybe have written some stuff down on my iPhone, and then I find a beat that I think will match with whatever I want to say. Then I combine everything and write lyrics. It probably takes an hour to write it and then rap it, and maybe another hour to mix it. It’s more efficient than trying to pump it all out.”
One thing to note is that unlike the old days when rap artists had to hand out mixtapes and pray to get air time on the radio—those things still happen, but less prominently—Hing-Glover's following has been entirely created online. Even his producers are other online artists he's connected with since he started, though more recently that duty has evolved to include Duke students who want him to rap over one of their beats.
However, he has, once, performed for a live audience—his peers.
“It was at STARS. It’s a [Duke] athlete performance. They had four or five athletes sing, and then I performed. They did it in the auditorium in Reynolds Theater,” he said. “I loved performing. It was so much fun. I’m a person who gets really hyped with stuff like that, and I had one of my good friends performing with me as my hype man. That was really fun, and I loved doing that, but most of my presence, really, all of it, is online. I wouldn’t be anywhere, I’d be at like five fans if not for the online presence.”
Now, when it comes to Type MHG’s current music, like any 20-year old artist, there’s still a lot to improve on. His writing can feature some fairly-weak redundancies and the production value on his videos are very DIY-quality, but all things considered—”all things” being the fact that Hing-Glover attends Duke and is a prominent player on the men’s soccer team—he's nailed down his delivery and flow, which is the one thing he's always working at.
As he pointed out, his delivery contains a few similarities to that of Logic’s, though I'd argue that there’s a hint of Schoolboy Q in some of his more aggressive, faster-paced songs, like “Savage.” And throughout the music, mostly when he slows things down, there's an almost uncanny voice similarity to Chance the Rapper, both boasting a raspy but somewhat melodic voice. Hing-Glover points out that the sing-rapping—or "J. Cole style," as he refers to it—is something he wasn't a fan of in his early days, but he's slowly coming around.
"When I first started, it was just, like, me saying lyrics. But a lot of it had to do with who I was listening to at the time. I remember when I first started rapping, I was listening to a rapper named Dizzy Wright, who had a faster flow. It was smooth and fast. I remember liking it and changing my style," Hing-Glover said.
Looking forward, with a mixtape just out, Type MHG will keep creating mixtapes and videos for his fans while also playing for the Blue Devils and pursuing his degree, which he plans to be in sociology. From there, things are pretty open for the charismatic 21st-century emcee, who says investment banking is also an option he's currently weighing.
"I’d say my plan is to pursue soccer and rap throughout college, get my college degree, then, once I get my degree, if I can get enough money through soccer to retire off of and live comfortably, I’ll pursue soccer," he said. "Or if I’ve built such a big fan base through rap in the next three years that I can pursue rap professionally, but I definitely have to be at a certain point."
And while he may not be at that point yet, Hing-Glover's music and popularity have come miles since he first told the world about his dopeness. He's already gone "0-100" once—don't be surprised if it happens again.