This was one of the best examples of that coming to fruition. Though many would take umbrage at his willingness to touch a classic, Miller would eventually win many of his critics over by simply always striving for improvement and knowing what he was talking about. The Divine Feminine found Mac Miller uncharacteristically happy. After moving to L. Even in his romantic posture, Miller places himself outside the industry; outside its deathly culture of abuse.
Miguel A booming piece of skittering drums and bursting strings with a dance-y breakdown aimed squarely at the hip-hop that was working on the charts in However, at this point, far removed from the carefree early days of his teens, there are regrets creeping into the hedonism. He spits along the spine of the widening, synth-focused beat, bounces off-kilter at the turn of the phrase and appropriately self-references his own improvement as an artist: S was at once a cry for action to the outside world while stating his purpose plainly: Listener discretion advised: The song, now painful to listen to, is the best example of how simply and directly he was capable of laying out exactly what he was going through on record.
Here, he plaintively lays out how hard it is for him to simply be: Clarke Tolton for RollingStone. They had to get the tickets — they had to buy them five minutes after the link was announced. They're ready. And then I think performing I used to do it all the time, people that had no idea who — or didn't care. And I used to get off on that. Where it's like to convert people. But then you get spoiled. How about — OK. So let's tie this in a little bit.
You have the new album, GO: OD AM. You're performing it for the first time. People might have heard or may not be familiar. How does that feel? Well, you change — I think you change the performance. Cause there's two — to me, there's two ways to do it. You either hit it from an energy standpoint where all you're trying to do is create energy. You want to people to jump around. You want people to put their hands in the air.
You want people to not think. You want to people to just like lose their minds. And then say I come out and people don't know the records and they're less likely to do what I just said. So you switch gears to you want them to hear what you're saying then. It's like, "OK. If you don't know these songs, then I want to give you a good experience with the songs. Let me dial back and have what I'm saying stand out front, and how I'm saying it. Less than like just pure, unadulterated energy.
Well, let's see. I had one show, but I ended up performing the album like three times off of just intoxication. Cause I had two nights previous, where there were like parties to celebrate the album. And I would have a couple whiskeys and be like, "I'll perform. Who cares? I would be like, "I want to do the song. Let's do it.
So you find, yeah, people don't know them as well. But I think with this album people have caught on faster. Like, " Grandkids" people know. But then a song like "Perfect Circle," which is a more of an album cut, they don't know as well. But I mean I personally am good. I like performing these songs just because they're still fresh for me.
So I'll take performing "Perfect Circle" to people sitting there watching over performing "Donald Trump" to a bunch of people jumping just because I've done that so many times. I would say that it's something that — from what I understand, it's — a person can't — you couldn't, with your free hand, take a pencil and draw a perfect circle. It's impossible to do. Isn't it? See, this is like one of those trick question type of things.
Unless you are tracing it. So you say in there, "Heaven is a mile away and hell is much closer. I think it's like the idea of — the idea almost that we're taught by religion or all that is that to get to heaven, to get up here, is so much work, but it's so easy to fall into, like, "a negative life. So in the song, who are you trying to wake up?
And what is work? And why do we have to get up to work? So, the end of that song is — so we were at the studio, and — do you want the actual recording or the meaning first? You know, I think it's almost like you're waking yourself up. You're deciding — cause to me that mood, that place, that imaginary place, it's like the dream world. You ever read that book? So to me, that was a place that I feel like I was in. My brother actually dubbed me that.
That's how I see you. That's where it goes. Why that's the transition into that is because it's that moment where you wake up and you go just back to work, which is just reality. Every day is that work. And then "When In Rome," to me, is just like this aggressive, "Let's just go. Let's not think. Less thought. And I think that's where you get trapped in so much, living insular. It's thought. And what does this mean? What does that mean? Why am I doing this? Why am I here?
Which are all important questions to ask, but it's just as important to just shut up and live.
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Me personally. It was for me. So just to go — and it's OK to feel yourself a little bit. There's nothing wrong with that. It's healthy. It is healthy. Actually, it was like one of the first things you mentioned, just saying, after being here for two years, you could just accept where things were. You weren't going, checking and see what the comments were. You sounded comfortable, and that's Because it's OK to enjoy what you're doing.
And I think we live in this world — and I'd fall into it — where self-deprecation is such like a It's like the thing. Not only for comedic purposes, which is great comedy — some of my favorite, actually — but just as like a way of living. And I think people become uncomfortable with someone who's not self-deprecating. But I think it's OK to spend time on both sides. I think if you're always feeling yourself, I don't trust that. Cause that's not true. And if you're always self-deprecating, that's very real, but I don't think — I don't think either are healthy.
Mac Miller, glad to be back. Walking outside. Realizing how small you are. Which sounds like something that is — it sounds like something that is a negative thought like, "Oh, I'm so small. None of this matters. Like, "Every word I say doesn't shift the world. If I make a bad song, the world's not ruined. My world's not ruined. But you can just go, and it's just a really liberating feeling of — it's liberating to realize you have the freedom to make mistakes.
You have the time. Regardless of how long or short your time is, pretty much anything you decide to do is OK, because you're so small. Do you think that the younger generation has that — do they walk with that sort of freedom or do you think that they feel more worthless? Yeah, we're — millennials are the — are we — we're the younger generation? I'll take it. You know, I see it as — I guess it's hard speaking in absolutes of what everyone feels, but I guess the people that I know — and I'm not even just talking about artists, just people in general — just have have this very open-mind-ness of, like, the world's at my fingertips-type thinking.
Where you see more people now that want to make a website, and it's like self-expression. They want to have a blog. They want to give the world their thoughts, and it's a therapeutic thing. Everyone I think now feels like their voice means something or they wouldn't be putting it everywhere. People put their voice everywhere. All through Instagram comments. As minuscule and kind of stupid as that is, at the same time, it's dope.
People really feel like, "I have to say something," which is sometimes a little much, but like, "Go ahead, man. Speak away. Do you think it's more than a coincidence that you and Q and Earl all hit a level of development around about the same time? Well, I don't believe in coincidence really. Not be like, "Ooooh. I mean, I think everybody hanging out and playing music and making music and creating together was and is a beautiful thing that has affected everybody.
And I don't think it's any — just look at everyone, not to make you sound old here, everyone in his time. But it's the same type of things, like with the Native Tongues and all these people who were just around each other and pushing each other, whether it's in the studio together or from afar. Because we all are friends.
And now that everyone's touring it's not like we all three-way call each other, but Thebe put something out or Q put something out, it's like, "OK. That's a good thing. But no I don't think it's a coincidence. I think the world needed it, or else it wouldn't have happened I guess. In the two years that you were away, cause you say you're back, in creating the record did you have a definite vision in that time away that you wanted to attack and reach?
I think that was a difficult thing for me. Was to find what I wanted the vision to be. Because there were moments when I just wanted to go so far left, right, and like really far down the rabbit hole, and make this album that was just really weird. Not weird for the sake of being weird, but weird in the sense that if I played it for your everyday person, they wouldn't really get it, right? It was just very — you heard. You heard some records off of that, when it was there. It was really musical. It was very storytelling. It had a heavier, little — I mean, some songs were sadder.
But it was just telling maybe sadder stories. More insular. Where this album ended up being something that I think resonates a little bit more on first listen. And a lot of it was because I wanted to perform it. I wanted to be able to throw this album on and everyone jump around. The other one was more like a seated performance, you know? So I think it just took me a while to be comfortable with that, and to be artistically get that album to a quality that I was OK with.
Because going very musical and deep in your storytelling and doing a lot of these really almost orchestral things, that's like, yeah, quality. I can OK this one. But getting that one to a next quality takes a little longer. I think the album's dope. I mean, I like the other music that I heard. I definitely hope you — I don't know what you going to do. You played me a few things actually, and you were like, "I'm working on three albums at one time. Because I get to those moments where I'm just like — start a project, and I'm like, "Yup. And people are like, "What are you doing?
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You put things together. Lyrically, you've mentioned in a couple different places on this record about being alone and no one really caring. It's probably a mix of all of them. I think that's — I guess there's that fear of if you release music and no one hears it, did you release music? Or if it doesn't move anybody, I think there's a fear of that.
I think there was a fear during making this album that because so much of my work had been me making it for me that I forgot that I was making music to touch people. I think that was a mind state I created for myself, which was like, "I'm making this album for myself.
I'm making this album for myself. Its purpose is bigger than me, so, yeah, I think that was part of the fear of everything. You just — two reasons. One, just from connecting with fans. And I think probably the coolest thing that music has ever done is there's like this collection of people — it's not like Beliebers or like these really huge world fan bases. It's a group of kids that I stay in touch with that were super loners, from what I gather, and they've kind of found each other and formed a real friendship.
Which is super dope to me. And I just like have gotten letters from them and stuff like that. So, it helps when you know that your music is helping people. And then Yeah, I'd say. I mean, but actually, no. It actually, I think, adds to it, because you're Well, you're making this music and now your music is touching people and it's a part of you.
The rapper's post-Ariana break-up album is slow, spacey and strong.
But it's not you. So these kids are being helped by the art that is created. And then you start like looking at it and you're like, "OK, well, that's not even me. You don't know me. So it becomes that separation. And I think the second thing — why I know that it's for other people — is because I think about what music I'm a fan of did for me. And then putting myself — like, replacing myself with who I was a fan of is mind-blowing. Cause you're like, "No way. There's no way that someone could look at me like I look at artists I love.
It's a blessing. All I can do is be as knowledgeable about the craft that I do and also just know myself," says Mac Miller. It happens all the time, and it's a weird place because I don't walk around — I walk around like I haven't done anything in life. I'm just like, "It's me. I'm just me. I'm the kid from Brooklyn. I'm like, "Why you want me here?
And even 25 years later. It's like, that's tripped to think about, that you've affected that way, and it's like real emotion that they're carrying. But I still don't connect with the way they feel. I hear it; in my conscious understand it, but to really — be like, "Really? Me, this? We can arrange that. But, no.
Faces Mixtape by Mac Miller
You have no idea what you've done for me. I want to ask you something about — something that you called it — in the Breakfast Club interview, you said there were three demons, kind of, and one of them — the way you phrased it was, "What being a white rapper means to my life. What — I'll say what being white means to being a rapper. That was a huge thought of mine. It was a feeling of just — obviously I was reading a lot at that time of a how you're looked at b the reality of the fact that a white rapper probably is more marketable in America.
At least that's the — I had a shorter span to And then I saw all these kids sprouting up too. Like here's Lil Timmy selling 10, records. So I think for me I don't and didn't want shortcuts. I wasn't in control of that. So for me it was a big demon because I don't want anything I don't deserve; I don't want anything I didn't work for. I don't want to be ahead of anybody because of But then you realize, "I am white. So I can't wake up in the morning and not want to go to work because I'm white. All I can do is be as knowledgeable about the craft that I do and also just know myself, that I work hard.
I think for me that was a big hump to get over. Was being OK with it. Because I was like, "I don't listen to a bunch of white rappers. I'm a rapper who's white. Well, there you go. I think that that was the confidence I had to hit really, was like, "I'm not here cause I'm white. I'm here cause I'm tight. I did not mean to say that.
Mac Miller: 'It's OK To Feel Yourself'
Oh my god. That was horrible. That was so bad. That was a great — please let that be the pull quote. That didn't rhyme. No, I think that was a realization and confidence thing that I had to hit. I had to be — confidence is huge in rapping. You gotta know you're nice to do it. You can't second guess if you're nice or not.
You gotta — but that's the thing is at one point I didn't ever question if I was nice or not. When I was doing freestyle competitions and no one knew who I was, I would spit up against anybody, it didn't matter. I don't care.
And then I think I just read too much, and I started thinking like, "Dang. Is that — really? Was I wrong this whole time? It's alright. I asked my nephew, who's now 20, but a couple years ago I asked him — cause my nephew was born in New Jersey as a preemie, and then my sister hauled him off to L. So he's twisted in the head cause he's like, "I'ma East Coast kid but raised entirely in Los Angeles. But I ask him, every now and then, "Who you feeling? Who you feeling? Straight up. Bar none. He was like — he just start running down, "Did you listen to?
Did you listen to? I mean, I think that was — I had to — everything just takes time.
By nature, I'm a pretty impatient person, in certain aspects. Where it's like — when I see something — that's kind of the nature of the beast. It's like, "That's what I want. I'm going to sit here and work until I'm there. I'm either not doing it or I'm doing it way too much. So I think I had to learn patience to let the depth build. Cause you don't have depth with one — you just gotta let it happen. You can't rush to have people know all of the facets of your capabilities. It's OK — like, so now when people are like, "Oh, he's just this.
Well, I mean, people are outsiders. Like you said, there's a piece of your art that you're creating that is you, so you give it them. But it's just a moment. And one of the things that I find, especially I can say this after doing it for 25 years, I'm like, "I totally understand why you connect with that song and that moment, but that for me was really 25 years ago.
So I'm so not there. Maybe you're holding me to that.