Off the back of the success of his recently-released mixtape Macadelic, Pittsburgh’s native son Mac Miller decided to take the project on the road.
During his recent vist to the UK, the Rostrum Records recording artist sat down with SoulCulture TV and discussed learning from different cultures as he travels the world, being a workaholic, his single/mixtape/album release strategy, future projects, working alongside legends like DJ Jazzy Jeff and the importance of working with Hip-Hop icons.
Over the past two years, the young emcee (who graced the cover of XXL’s 2011 Freshman Issue) has visited many parts of the world on tours including his Incredibly Dope Tour, the Blue Slide Park Tour and The Macadelic Tour, and as he continues to globetrot the “Nikes On My Feet” rapper evaluates the importance of learning from the different cultures he is exposed to.
“I think it’s nice to just take in different cultures. It’s probably one of the greatest gifts and what I can do as I’m traveling is learn about different cultures,” he says. “Being from Pittsburgh … things are different and you never expect to be able to see places like this.”
This strategy helped the rapper gain a huge following online, propelling his debut album Blue Slide Park to the top of the U.S. Albums Chart — making it the first independently-distributed debut album to sit at #1 since the mid-1990s.
Despite his success, though, Mac says he feels his release strategy is “overly calculated” compared to that of his peers.
“People just plan so much right? Like ‘I’m gonna drop this at three o’clock p.m. because thats when the most people see it.’ [But] to me it’s like you’re either gonna listen or you’re not. So I’ma drop it when I’m ready, and if that’s four in the morning then you’re either up or your not, and you either check or you don’t,” he explains before adding, “I’m strategic, but to an extent. I’m strategic but I don’t like to lose any authenticity.”
Before Blue Slide Park hit the streets, Mac and his incredibly dope Rostrum team’s hard work resulted in two highly-successful free projects, K.I.D.S. and Best Day Ever, and their strategy also included integrating a constant stream of viral content to help stratify his fast growing fan base.
On the topic of giving away music, the rapper states, “Free music is very important. Look, if I don’t give out free music people are just gonna download it for free illegally. … There are certain projects that are meant to be downloaded for free and I give you a lot of that. I give you a lot of music that you don’t have to pay a dollar [for]. Like Macadelic was a great project to be free, with all the people on there and everything. I wanted to do that for my fans. I want them to be able to just listen. I want people who maybe aren’t fans just to listen. But there are certain projects that are meant to be bought. So I think it’s always being able to make a difference.”
Discussing what he’s got in store, Mac reveals a list of projects he’s hoping to release in the near future. “There’s something I’m working on, an EP with somebody called Pink Slime and then the mixtape with Jazzy Jeff is gonna be coming out next year, at the top of the year. There is my next album and then I’m doing a mixtape with someone who I never expected to do a mixtape with in my life. Who I never though would reach out to me.”
Having already begun work on the forthcoming project with Jazzy Jeff, Miller opens up his experience thus far with the revered producer. “As far as the thing I love about Jeff is like he doesn’t just like my boom bap, Hop Hop stuff. Jef was like ‘You gotta do everything. You can’t always do this boom bap stuff. You gotta experiment. You gotta grow. You got to find you’re own sound and the music that you make.’ But he loves that I will always do that Hip-Hop [stuff] forever.”
While Mac was coy about this mystery collaborator, he was very open about his experience working with Jazzy Jeff.
“Jeff is just a good, genuine dude. He brought me into his home. We had dinner, I met his family. [Working with him] wasn’t just some email stuff. … Jeff was just a great dude. … He’s just a great dude to work with because his very flexible and he trusts me.”
Mac also discusses the importance of working with some of Hip-Hop’s icons on his next project. “Everyone that I want to work with on that project, I want to be classic Hip-Hop, people from the golden era. … You’ll definitely see Posdnuos [of De La Soul] on that project, you’ll definitely see a Raekwon. I recently chopped it up with Ghostface and we’re working on something. People like that to accept me into this music and culture is a blessing and I appreciate that so much.”
“It’s important to me to have these kids, that are fans of me, understand that Jazzy Jeff is a legend, understand that [DJ] Premier and Pete Rock and 9th Wonder are legends and these people are way bigger than me and way more important than me,” he added.
Watch the full interview below:
Interviewed By: Versetti
Filmed By: Fabian Thomas, Darryl Daniel x Versetti
Edited By: Darryl Daniel