The practice of posthumously releasing an artist’s private collection of content is a contentious topic in the entertainment community. Notorious perfectionist Prince’s vault of archived music has been combed through by Warner Bros., who reportedly have “enough unreleased songs for an album every year until the 22nd century.” Some critics found the move to be a cash-grab done in poor taste, and the artist’s estate even attempted to sue the label to prevent the first release of archival music.
The making of Bernie Mac: Tapes From A King, on the other hand, has been handled with far more grace than some other attempts at expanding an artist’s discography after their passing. Hartbeat produced the album in collaboration with Rhonda R. McCullough, Mac’s wife of 31 years, and they describe the project as “a unique window into the creative process of a comedy legend” that is meant to preserve the iconic comedian’s legacy.
When Mac passed away at the age of 50 back in 2008, he left behind a body of work that few comedians could possibly match. In TV, film and stand-up, Mac was the defining voice for a generation of comedy that still feels his absence. Bernie Mac: Tapes From A King will, hopefully, capture his energy and artistry in a way that makes his unique voice feel as fresh today as it did when he first hit the mainstream more than 30 years ago.