by Justin Juul

M.C. Mars is a 59 year-old rapper with HIV who has been driving cabs for over thirty years. He’s also a published writer and a former sex machine. No big deal, really. The cool thing about Mars is that, even though he’s of-a-certain-age, unsigned, and grappling with an incurable disease, he still gets up every morning and makes shit happen on his own terms. He may not be the best rapper in the world and he may not be famous or wealthy, but at least he never rolled over and got a desk job. Instead, he performs weekly at Royale, makes music like crazy, and works on his upcoming novel every day.

When you look into Mars’ eyes, you see what your life might look like in thirty years if you never go into marketing and just keep digging up stories and pitching and submitting (despite the fact that your industry’s dying and nobody gets paid anymore). He makes the probable consequences of going for broke seem tolerable, and maybe even fulfilling. Just look at that smile!

SFist: So how did you get into driving cabs?
M.C .Mars: Well, when I moved to San Francisco I started working as a copywriter for an advertising firm, but after about a year I just realized that that type of lifestyle wasn’t working for me. So I worked in restaurants and stuff and then just went back to driving cabs because I’d done it back home in New York. I was hesitant to get back into it, but destiny moved me in this direction and I think it’s proven to be the right track.