Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Mackin' ain't easy

Posted By on Tue, Jul 2, 2013 at 10:04 AM

Mac Miller
  • Ian Wolfson
  • Mac Miller
One of the widest truths in music: depression yields excellence. Whether this condition stems from heartbreak, drug use, or mindless repetition, it's essentially a universal fact. It is no more obvious than it is to fans. Authenticity can be sensed, vibes can be explored, and content can be (painfully) relatable.

Demise of a relationship spanning a high school career, friendship found in camp yet lost half a world away, and an eerily intricate Jay Electronica verse later, Malcolm McCormick, aka Mac Miller, hasn't only broken the shackles of hip-pop notoriety but has done so in convincing fashion, tapping into dystopian worlds within an unrelenting aesthetic. His sophomore LP, Watching Movies With The Sound Off, forgoes any happy-go-lucky nature which may have been strewn about his previous releases. Instead, it favors an almost Kubrick-esque take on his cohorts as well as his new-found environment of Los Angeles.

Taking a look at Mac Miller today, one would be hard-pressed to imagine the path he's taken to avoid obstacles and mishaps. At the ripe age of 21, he's battled an addiction to lean (prescription codeine-promethazine often mixed with Sprite), a slew of personal attacks courtesy of none other than Donald Trump, a $10 million lawsuit from Lord Finesse and, above all else, early backlash over simply being a white rapper who enjoyed having a good time.

He discusses this in a recent interview with The Fader, when asked about recent acknowledgement:

"The writers are saying that the song is sick, but always with this tone like, Ugh, fuck, I can't believe I'm saying this. Or they're like, Sure, he's getting better, but he's no MF Doom. It's funny to sit back and watch that, cause it's not like aspects of what I'm doing now were never there. Maybe people got turned off by singles, or how I was perceived as the frat rapper dude. It's funny to see them starting to shift their opinion, from like, Mac Miller is kind of tight, what? To like, Yeah, Mac Miller, I'd fuck with it."

In an alternate universe, Malcolm McCormick may have walked across the stage at one of the country's many colleges and collected a degree this past spring. He may have spent the days before graduation pent up in his apartment, reminiscing over times with roommates and deciding whether or not to keep random items purchased on impulse throughout the years. He may have visited some old friends made during the first year or two of school, and may have even seen some professors to thank them. Maybe, after walking across the stage, degree in his hand, he may have paused and looked out into the audience to relish the moment. The sun may have blinded his vision; eyes squinted, he may have surveyed the conglomeration, sweat may have trickled on his brow, palms may have grown cold, and images of the girl who got away may have flashed in his mind.

Malcolm McCormick may have walked off the stage, moved out of his apartment, applied to jobs in his area and mindlessly worked hours in mundane fashion, giving inconsolable looks to the demos stored on his laptop. Why weren't they ever finished? Why has it taken so long? What is he afraid of?
However, as long as our reality exists, Mac Miller has graduated on his own terms this summer with Watching Movies With The Sound Off. Don't be surprised if he goes back for his master's.

With Chance the Rapper, the Internet, Vince Staples. $25. 8 p.m. Tues., July 2. Tabernacle, 152 Luckie St. 404-659-9022.

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