From playing a terrifying drug dealer on The Wire to a tween heartthrob on 90210, Tristan Wilds is a proven chameleon. Now, he’s trading in acting for R&B and preparing his first album (under the nom de guerre “Mack Wilds”) with revered producer Salaam Remi. The charming Mack spoke with Hive about his career transition, the ending of The Wire and the inevitable Drake comparisons.
I was surprised that your stage name “Mack” is actually a part of your government name. I sort of wish it was inspired by Mark Morrison's "Return of The Mack."
That’s a pretty great song. Honestly, for me, it’s so funny. A lot of my friends used to joke with me about that. They would sing the song when I came around.
Next time you see Mark Morrison, you should punch him in the face for that.
I think it was intentional. It was to showcase the original sound of New York. That’s the sound of New York that I remember, that I love the most. Being a New Yorker, that’s the way our hearts beats. That boom bap? That rhythm flows through our veins. To be in time where there’s a bunch of New York kids who never seen anything that sounds like us or looks like us on television, that’s kind of disappointing. Either we have to reach elsewhere for our New York sounds or we have to get New York rappers who sound like they’re from elsewhere. There hasn’t been anything that’s been authentic to our sound.
Your fans run the gamut from The Wire junkies to 90210 tweens. Who is your audience for your music? Do you worry about alienating your acting fans?
I didn’t even think about it. When me and Salaam started planning the album, it was more so, let’s make something that feels good to us and where we come from. When we were in L.A., we would always talk about things we would miss from New York, like how no one in L.A. knows what duck sauce is or um, how you can’t even get on a train in L.A.
Speaking of L.A., Entourage is getting made into a movie. What’s going on with The Wire movie?
I wish. I wish. Listen, we’ve talked about it. We’ve tried. A couple of times, [creator] David Simon brought it up like, “If we did a Wire movie, it would be hard to fit in two hours of people getting shot and things happening all that once.” Literally, it would be two hours of a big shoot out. Nobody wants to see that. I think he’s going to keep his idea for the rest of The Wire to the imaginations of the fans.
Were you satisfied how The Wire ended? I’m a nerd so I loved it, but it’s very polarizing among fans.
[Laughs]. I would have liked to see a little more of each character, but I feel like, David Simon was trying to do to leave the audience in suspense. The game doesn’t change. It’s just people do. How I became the next “Omar” ‘cause I came in with the shotgun. It keeps going over and over again, so you can draw your own assumptions. I wouldn’t have changed the way he ended it, I would have just said, “Let’s do another season.”
Now that you’re transitioning from acting to music, you know people will compare you to Drake. Are you okay with that?
Absolutely. He’s dope. He’s an amazing writer. People can say whatever they want, like he’s corny or this, that and the third, but nobody can every say anything about his music. He’s a genius in his own right.
I heard you listened to Kanye's 808s & Heartbreak when you went through a bad breakup. What stage of a relationship will I be listening to Mack Wilds?
Aw man. I think with this album, you can listen to it in every stage whether you’re about to break up with a girl or you’re really deeply in love with a girl. There’s a song for every instance.
Every girl you ever dated is now going to call you thinking she inspired a song. Are you ready for sexual time travel?
Absolutely. I’m pretty fine. I’ve played it for a few people and friends will be like “Is that song about so and so?” and I’ll be like “Uhhh. Yeah.”
Without sounding like a total cougar, what’s your relationship status? Maybe I can hook you up with someone.
I’m single. I don’t have any crushes. Honestly, I know this sounds cliché as hell, but I’ve been so focused on the music, I’m just picking my head up from the ground. Once I get into the move around mode, I’m like “Cool. There’s a lot of beautiful women out there.” But feel free to throw some people my way. The only person who said I was cute, that I heard of, was Kim Kardashian.
Kim’s not available right now. How about one of the younger Kardashian sisters, Kendall or Kylie?
Aren’t they like three [years old]? I’ll leave that to the little bros. Marinate on it. Throw me some ideas and I’ll be happy to take them.