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Conversations with Target staff proved less than enlightening. All this hard work just for a fucking algorithm! Even in the face of this under-shipment catastrophe, the young rapper whose birth certificate says Malcolm McCormick has very little to be unhappy about. Once you clear it, the poolside kiddie basketball hoop and scattered sprawl of bikes reveals the Blank Check fantasy of the situation. With tattoos crawling out of his T-shirt and a dark shadow of a beard, Mac could pass for any young skate rat in America.

His clique is comprised mostly of childhood friends, many of whom hail from his pre-fame rap crew, East End Empire. All parties are dressed in a manner that falls somewhere between streetwear chic and laundry day desperation. Most are lounging appropriately hard, as if doing so were the only option on earth.

Not Mac, though. Mac chain smokes menthol American Spirits and sits diligently at the flat-screen monitor in his bare feet. Mac himself began writing raps at eight. Born to a photographer mother and an architect dad, he grew up in the Point Breeze neighborhood of Pittsburgh.


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By the time he hit high school, he was staying up until dawn on weeknights to write rhymes and sneaking out of the house to enter freestyle competitions at local venues like the Shadow Lounge. I was on tour three days later. The video features a particularly clean-cut Mac happily snap-ping his way through some sort of Gap commercial sock-hop scene without a hint of irony.

Best Mac Miller Videos | List of All Mac Miller Music Videos

Similarly happy-go-lucky white kids with names like Sammy Adams and Hoodie Allen had all begun to gain traction while playfully rapping about hangovers and marathon marijuana sessions, obsessed with an endless, nonspecific party. This emerging scene was self-contained and self-sustaining, a world that curiously existed almost entirely separate from the old guard of predominately black hip-hop. Where previous white rappers needed an in or cosign to find mainstream acceptance, frat rappers were floating in a parallel culture that was theirs and theirs alone.

And while many people were crowing about artist independence in the internet era, they were making legitimate star turns without major label backing, radio play or mainstream press. They moved so silently through social media corridors that even the hippest blogs remained mostly oblivious to their rise. Mac now paints the events that followed as a blur.

Mac Miller: Find Yourself

When I ask him if he thinks he did, he turns sheepish: That could be me. I think I was an easily relatable person.


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  • I probably still am. But [on Watching Movies ], you hear a lot of fucking insecurity about who I am. This itself is not a punishable offense, but as he attempts to up his cool factor, he may need to distance himself from the first wave of fans that initially bolstered his career.

    10 Essential Mac Miller Songs

    His voice was thin, his flow strained. But in the modern hip-hop landscape, his core audience was too clueless or indifferent to chide him for his ineptitude. The end result is awkwardly charmed, the sound of his wide-eyed desire to find himself and find acceptance. Where other rappers might downplay their pop-rap past or blame it on outside influences as they mature, Mac has no qualms or regrets about that stage in his career.

    I was 18 and able to craft hit records at an independent level.

    There are no hits on Watching Movies. The production is smoky and downbeat, as is his delivery. Watching Movies is a concise and focused affair—far from a masterpiece, but also the increasingly rare high profile rap album that has no interest in being one. With all its stoned pondering, Watching Movies perhaps feels like a more authentic college rap record than anything he made before. The space he occupies looks like a dorm room exploded onto luxury.

    Beanbag chairs and pillows make up most of the furniture. 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.

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    Here, he plaintively lays out how hard it is for him to simply be: Clarke Tolton for RollingStone. Newswire Powered by. Close the menu. Rolling Stone.