Uncle Sam MC

Atlanta, USA

Unchartered Waters


Behind the Music

Working on The Outlaw Ocean Music Project opened me up to an entirely different songwriting experience in which I had to try to convey someone else’s story. I’ve been experimenting with this a bit, but never to this degree. I really tried to put myself in the shoes of each person Ian encountered in order to capture the narrative of The Outlaw Ocean in an authentic way that resonates with people and helps them open their eyes to what’s happening at sea. 

While this whole project and its concept was new territory for me, creating composition for it was something that came with surprising ease. “Dark Seas” is probably the quickest I’ve ever written a song — I woke up one morning, picked up a pen and it flowed out of me. I would often sit and listen to the audiobook for hours on end, absorbing the landscape Ian lays out. Jumping around from chapter to chapter, I wanted to get a feel for life at sea and note which parts jumped out at me. Through my music, I told a story of a man brought into slavery, and then another that captures the different perspective of law enforcement in international water. Overall, I wanted to put myself in the space of The Outlaw Ocean and then simply and organically translate my emotional reactions into songs.

Uncle Sam MC
About Uncle Sam MC

Uncle Sam MC has released three EPs and just concluded his #ThursdayFirst series — a collection of monthly releases from November 2018 through November 2020, which saw him experimenting with a variety of sounds and styles. Sam is active on Patreon, where he continues to create and share new art regularly.

The Journalism behind the Music

All music in this project is based on The Outlaw Ocean, a New York Times Best-Selling book by Ian Urbina that chronicles lawlessness at sea around the world. This reporting touches on a diversity of abuses ranging from illegal and overfishing, arms trafficking at sea, human slavery, gun running, intentional dumping, murder of stowaways, thievery of ships and other topics.

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