With age Mac Miller is becoming an artistic force
Mac Miller’s somewhere in Los Angeles travelling to the next set of the odd biographical MTV2 series Mac Miller and The Most Dope Family when the phone is handed to him.
“It’s just a dumb-ass reality show” the 21-year-old quips about the current activity. “This is the second season. I don’t think it’s gonna be as good as the first.”
It’s all noted in jest: he lets out an obviously contained laugh and quickly admits that the show’s producers are sitting in the car with him. It’s a brief insightful foray into the rapper’s life; at heart Miller’s a laid-back jokester who doesn’t give a shit about what people think. As a rapper however he’s constantly thoughtful.
“For me music is a reflection of the human being and the human being is just this big contradiction this big multi-dimensional thing” Miller says. “People are so focused on brands and treat careers like you’d treat starting a fast-food chain: you have like a logo and you’ve got to stick to it. But every single artist I know — and me personally — there’s more depth: I can’t just be one thing.”
Such pliability has been awfully beneficial as of late. On November 9 the rapper joined Odd Future the crew of fellow young L.A.-residing genre-benders at their annual Carnival which also featured Flying Lotus (and an unannounced visit by Kanye West). A few weeks prior to that Miller served as the opener for Lil Wayne on the cleverly hashtagged “#FromUStoEU” tour which hit Norway Germany Denmark Sweden Netherlands Belgium and France.
“It was a challenge” Miller notes of the Weezy gigs. “At first it’s like ‘ah fuck what the fuck am I going to do with all these people?’ But by the third show we were fucking rocking. I even stage dove which I never thought I’d ever do in an arena; I ended up actually jumping into a pile of 12-year-old girls and almost killing one of them but it was completely worth it.”
But Miller’s been up to much more than simply acting as the side-exhibit/pre-teen-crusher at other emcee’s parties. His sophomore LP Watching Movies with the Sound Off featured a very grown-up musician leapfrogging from the impressive often imaginative mixtape Macadelic to a whole new realm of hip-hop experimentation. As it turned out Movies dropped on the same day as Kanye’s Yeezus and J. Cole’s Born Sinner . That was some solid competition to say the least.
“June 18th just felt like the right date regardless” says Miller who was the first of the trio to announce the release date. “And then Kanye came out and I was like ‘okay I’m not going to back down it’s cool’ and then J. Cole did it and it become this whole thing and I was like ‘whatever that’s cool.’ And it ended up being fine. I still moved units and my album still got attention. It went well.”
However Miller’s not the kind of person who takes a vacation. In addition to the brilliant Movies — which featured production from FlyLo Clams Casino and The Alchemist and guest verses from Ab-Soul Earl Sweatshirt and the ever-secretive Jay Electronica — he’s recently served as a lyrical collaborator with Talib Kweli Pete Rock Action Bronson Ariana Grande Rapsody and Statik Selektah. Not a bad track record for some white kid whose debut was assigned a 1.0 from Pitchfork .
But it’s his production work that’s currently distinguishing him from the pack augmenting his rapid comical rhyming. Miller produced the entirety of Odd Future-affiliated Vince Staple’s Stolen Youth credited as his beat-making alter-ego Larry Fisherman. That project only added to his status as a prime beat maker; many noteworthy tracks on his own album (“REMember” being the prime example) were his sonic creation as well as his most recent Quasimodo-influenced Delusional Thomas mixtape. According to Miller some 65 beats were generated on his last tour.
“With touring all I had was my laptop and Logic so I would have a lot of ideas” he says. “You just end up doing a lot of sitting down and doing nothing. It’s hard to have some kind of output. But for me it’s good to keep pushing myself and just fucking around with things and not really taking it too seriously and trying to make these huge complex creations but just try to put ideas down.”
But it’s such determination that’s catapulted the young rhymer into stardom. In addition to his musical successes he was recently handed the key to his hometown of Pittsburgh the city that he almost exclusively dominates in post-Y2K rap with the not-quite-so-thoughtful Wiz Khalifa. It’s an honour that Miller takes seriously (it might just be the highest grown-up pinnacle he’s reached yet next to Donald Trump harassing him via Twitter for using his namesake as a track title).
“It’s crazy man” concludes Miller. “That’s always the best stuff. I hate to sound cliché and corny but you can go everywhere and get all the fucking honours ever but if you go home and they have love for you there’s nothing that feels better than that.”