Emerging Pittsburgh Hip Hop artist and the newest signee to the house that homes Wiz Khalifa (Rostrum Records), 19-year old Mac Miller has been on a steady rise over the last few years; from doling out mixtapes whilst in high school – the first of which was released at the early age of 15 back when he was known as ‘Easy Mac’ (2007’s But My Mackin Ain’t Easy) – and garnering over 19 million views on his YouTube page in little under two years; to establishing himself as one of the premiere faces at the forefront of Pittsburgh’s fast-rising Hip Hop scene along with new label-mate Wiz Khalifa.

After recently graduating from high school last Spring, Mac Miller has seen his stock rise exponentially through the roof not only in his home town Pittsburgh and all over the internet, but also in the overall landscape of American Hip Hop music with the release of his major mixtape debut, the critically-acclaimed K.I.D.S (Kicking Incredibly Dope Sh*t) and his two-legged Nationwide ‘Incredibly Dope’ tour which sees the Rostrum Records-signee perform in over thirty five cities all across North America.

Add those to working with legendary producers Just Blaze and Ski Beatz, Philly legend Freeway, Three 6 Mafia’s Juicy J, Skyzoo and G.O.O.D Music’s Consequence as well as being co-signed by the likes of Talib Kweli, 9th Wonder, Bun B and major Hip Hop editorials such as VIBE Magazine, XXL and Complex, I guess it’d be safe to say that Mac Miller is something of a big deal.

In the same vein however, it would be the easiest folly and a most common one at that to discredit this teenage Jewish White rapper as being gimmicky. Some critics would say that the kid’s lyrics are ridiculously shallow; what will all the “weed music” and what not. But if we’re a product of our environment and we can only rap about the things that we know – which at 19 will typically be some or all of the following; partying, girls, shopping, getting high, stoned and/or drunk, youthful exuberance, braggadocio and generally all the fun things in the life of a teenager or young adult (or stand the risk of being called “fake”) – why then does Mac Miller get stick for rapping and rapping exceedingly well about these things?

Like the famous ‘Telly’ speech from the 1995 cult classic ‘KIDS’ which serves as the intro to the K.I.D.S mixtape says, “when you’re young, not much matters – when you find something that you care about, that’s all you’ve got” and from listening to his latest offering K.I.D.S as well as the Highlife mixtape, it’s quite plain to see that the “something” for Mac Miller is MUSIC and he “can’t escape it”. Why should he? He does it brilliantly.


With legends such as Big L, Outkast, Lauryn Hill and The Beatles as his musical influences, as well as showing a very eclectic taste in music which stems from listening to anything from Bob Marley to Bob Dylan to Ella Fitzgerald to Jack Johnson to G. Love & Special Sauce and his ability to play several live instruments from the bass guitar to the drums to the piano, the truth that Mac Miller is a very musically inclined young person is not that far-fetched. It’s certainly much more than just rapping over a beat for this kid and it gleams through in the music he’s making.

The latest mixtape from Mac Miller, K.I.D.S is a stellar project that kids and young people of his age demographic will relate to and will feel represents what they’re about (essentially fun, positivity and having a good time) more than most other music out there right now.

With its early ’90s Hip Hop sound evocative of the golden era of Hip Hop music, K.I.D.S also brings in an older generation and let’s them reminisce on being younger and return to a time when they were young and carefree.

Sonically, K.I.D.S is essentially Hip Hop while also exploring more left-field musical genres like synth-pop, indie-pop, and ’80s dance music to name a few, which all translates into a mature and expansive body of work from the 19-year-old.

With the two lead singles off of K.I.D.S, ‘Kool Aid & Frozen Pizza’ and ‘Don’t Mind If I Do’, he continues to show the amazingly smooth and diverse flow, creative and clever lyrics, clear vocals and impressive wordplay he showed on previous mixtapes such as the classic High Life and The Jukebox: Prelude to Class Clown, while his production team (himself, Big Jerm and E. Dan) continue to provide the smooth, soulful and organic Hip Hop musical milieus (E. Dan also plays a variety of live instruments) that complement Mac Miller’s rap style down to a perfect tee.

On ‘Kool Aid & Frozen Pizza’ which samples Lord Finesse’s 1996 ‘Hip 2 The Game’, Mac Miller introduces himself brilliantly to his newly found larger audience with a really smooth and infectious flow to match this summery laid-back Hip Hop beat and is very reminiscent of that mid-’90s ‘feel-good’ music. ‘Don’t Mind If I Do’ sees Mac Miller switch up his flow a few notches as he goes over a sample of Owl City’s ‘Fireflies’ to create this catchy up-tempo indie Hip Hop song laced with lush drum patterns and beautiful synths that all come together beautifully.


Other stand out songs on the K.I.D.S mixtape include the Black Diamond-produced Nas-sampled boom bap rap song ‘Nikes On My Feet’, the B. Jay produced Dance-infused ‘The Spin’, the solemn ‘Poppy’ which goes a long way to show that as much as Mac Miller can be happy and celebratory, he also has his serious and reflective moments and the final song on the mixtape, ‘Face In The Crowd’ which just oozes triumph and victory out of every lyric and melody. A total WIN for Mac Miller.

As is customary for any new kid on the “Hip Hop” block, questions will always be asked about Mac Miller’s lyrical abilities; questions which I feel he’s risen gigantically to answer on both ‘Highlife’ and ‘K.I.D.S’ but if you were ever still in doubt about Mac Miller’s lyrical prowess, you only need to listen back to his recent freestyles on Statik Selektah’s ‘Showoff Radio’ and Tony Touch’s ‘Toca Tuesdays’ shows on popular Hip Hop radio station Shade45 Sirius/XM as well as the recently released song ‘Winner’ to understand what this kid can do on a microphone, I would be paying attention if I were you is all I’m saying.

On the recently released ‘Winner’ which features emerging R&B singer Young Scolla, Mac Miller shows especially why the buzz surrounding him is so heavy right now and really just gives you three potent verses of reasons why you shouldn’t sleep on him. Everything simply works on this smooth B. Jay produced Hip Hop cut, from Mac Miller’s stupidly lazy flow to Young Scolla’s vocals adding the necessary ingredients, this song comes out amazingly well.

Mac Miller ft. Young Scolla – “Winner”:

The morale of this story is this… Mac Miller is definitely here to stay, he is certainly no gimmick and this is your chance to get with it. Music has and always will be subjective and there will be those that don’t care for Mac Miller because let’s be honest, it’s the way of the world and his music is NOT for everyone but this is Mac Miller’s time right now and long may it continue! Elitist Hip Hop purists can take a chill pill and just let the good times roll.

The second leg of Mac Miller’s Incredibly Dope Tour is coming to an American city near you so go here for tour dates and tickets, while the forthcoming Best Day Ever mixtape is scheduled for an early March release so you should definitely keep your ears to the ground for it. In the mean time, I leave you with these words from Mac Miller himself, “Fun Is For Everyone”.

Download: Mac Miller – K.I.D.S (Mixtape)

Download: Mac Miller – Highlife (Mixtape)

Mac Miller online: Twitter / Facebook / YouTube / MySpace