Since 2008, I’ve supported the potential future in artists. The up and comers that fill my iTunes with music I enjoy. In the seven years, I couldn’t predict who would be on and who wouldn’t. I could only do my part to support music I believed in. If you asked me who I wanted to see win in the music industry, I wouldn’t have told you who actually did end up making it. No artist I’ve supported has had such an epic journey like Mac Miller. In fact, during The Illspoken days, Beedie would’ve been my choice for a break-out rapper.
Surprisingly, Mac Miller changed his name from EZ Mac and begin to ascend high in the industry. I shouldn’t have to run through every detail, but it has been a bumpy road. Where Blue Slide Park failed left Mac in a position that could have made him irrelevant. He was frustrated at the reception from critics, while the sales would reflect a different message. As a fan, I was indeed disappointed in the lack of replay value. I felt like Best Day Ever might end up being his best work ever. This was until his sound took a new direction.
Up until this point, Mac Miller was a car speeding down the highway. Then, he started to notice the road’s asphalt becoming harder to drive on. What do you do when you what you’re accustom to stop working? You reinvent. In his case, it wasn’t so much a reinvention but rather opening up to be the rapper you’ve always been on the low. The Mac we see today had always had traces dating back to his early days. He was influenced by hip-hop first and foremost, but his rise came from material that would’ve labeled him as a rapper chasing the college party scene. It was necessary for the time, but adapting is something that was a sink or swim move.
Macadelic was released on March 23, 2012. Five months removed from his debut album, and Mac was already rolling out his darker image. This is a guy going through it. He never hid the fact that drugs were around in this period. The lean seemed to have an effect similar to Lil Wayne’s legendary run. Only difference is that Mac’s vision didn’t go away after getting clean. “Lucky Ass Bitch” is a drug-induced banger. “Loud” was like a mature version of K.I.D.S’ Mac. Was there any better way for Cam’ron to appear on “Ignorant” with his “I got that Mac with me” hook?
Then, skipping around a bit, Watching Movies With The Sound Off dropped. His sophomore LP ranks at #1. A complete body of work that found Mac immersed in his own world. The random thoughts that filled “S.D.S.” and “Watching Movies.” He wasn’t afraid to experiment on songs like “Someone Like You.” Mac somehow found Jay Electronica! It stands as his best album even if we include all of his mixtapes.
His 2014 was notable for a few moves. In January, he left Rostrum Records on good terms. In May, Faces dropped. In October, he announced his new home with Warner Bros. that came with cool 10 million to develop him and his REMember Music label. It’s the latter move that has Complex under the assumption that Mac is destined to have a year similar to Macklemore and Iggy Azalea in 2013 and 2014 respectively.
Mac Miller is in one of the best creative spaces of his life. Last year, he teased that he was working on four albums. Judging by the fact that he has multiple personalities (Larry Fisherman, Larry Lovestein, Delusional Thomas), it wasn’t clear who was who in this process. Obviously, Mac’s third LP is in the works. The Warner deal might slow down some of his initial plans to release these projects.
However, having Warner in his corner is the next logical step in his career. He soared as far as he could go independently. Warner offers the chance to reach more ears with radio, but that in no way means we can expect “mega-pop star” Mac Miller this year. He has made songs that would work on radio, yes. The direction he’s been in isn’t trying to be trendy. Mac makes music on his own terms. If he did happen to come across that big single, the rest of the album would sound nothing like it. In fact, that big single would be innovative in itself. He has it in him to create something of that caliber, and now the platform to present it to the masses. Still, this would make him a bigger rap star on the level of J. Cole, Wale, Drake or Kendrick Lamar. Not in the pop world.
The only reason why Complex cited that Mac could be a pop star is because he’s white. Forgetting that he doesn’t make music in the same lane as Iggy or Mack. If anybody were to be that cross over star in that race, it would be G-Eazy, which could be an entirely new piece.
Tech N9ne has constantly said that he’s not going mainstream but that mainstream is becoming him. This means that he’s growing in popularity without changing his sound. “Fragile” was a big middle finger to critics that ended up getting the most radio play in recent memory of his catalog. Mac Miller, while attached to a major label, is living by this philosophy. Him and his multiple personalities have branded themselves a certain way, so for Warner to come into play means Mac chose them for the freedom.
His third album. A project with DJ Jazzy Jeff. Another with Pharrell. Delusional Thomas’ warped sophomore tape. The return of Larry Lovestein. Larry Fisherman beats everywhere. The REMember Music roster’s albums. These are all potential items on the table. If Complex only got one thing right in their assumption about Mac, it’ll be that we won’t be able to escape his presence in 2015.