I pressed the play button and clutched the little speaker stand in my right hand. The volume is almost as loud as it can be, any louder and the bass makes a terrible popcorn popping sound. I looked right over at her face as she was driving, a simple head nod just to acknowledge that music was playing. Then it hit its peak, the dumb techno background led into its second and best chorus “I don’t…think they want…to interrupt my party…please don’t interrupt my party…we just tryna find somebody for the night.” He hits it once and then again and I lay the speakers in my lap and flail my arms like it’s a two person party. She was mouthing every lyric like they were etched in history and swinging her shoulders, pursing her lips. After the song, “Wake Up” concluded I asked her directly, “I didn’t think you liked Mac Miller?”
She shrugged “I don’t.”
“You were singing along.”
She didn’t even stifle herself by thinking about it as a contradiction.
“Just because I sing along doesn’t mean I like it. I sing along to all kinds of stuff I hate.”
That’s the story of Best Day Ever, the newest mixtape from Mac Miller. After the release of last year’s K.I.D.S., he got a lot of publicity ultimately leading him to be named as one of the 2011 XXL Freshman class. Not bad for a goofy 19 year old kid from Pittsburg. Despite how young he is, he still gets criticized a lot for immature content. What were you writing/rapping about at his age?
Even though I don’t agree with holding eighteen and nineteen your olds against Rakim and Melle Mel for content, Mac does have an introspection issue. His flow is agile, and he’s able to move words in interesting ways, but it’s never really to any particular end. “I’ll be There” is his only real attempt at introspection on Best Day, and it’s a pretty paint by numbers mother tribute, fully equipped with a squeamishly sweet chorus from Phonte. The song sticks out like a sore thumb amidst the fun party tracks, and it feels like something he was obligated to do.
The other problem with this is that the beats are mostly handled by ID Labs who does a lot of the Taylor Gang/Wiz Khalifa sound, and they gave Mac a pretty annoying bunch of techno-oriented beats. The same kind of beats that play in clubs and make me point up at the speakers and say “That’s really somebody’s job?”
His high moments are still fantastic though. Songs like “In The Air”, “Donald Trump”, and the old school “Play Ya Cards” showcase his dexterous flow, and fun, smart wordplay. Still, a lack of content puts him in an awkward position. Great lyrics can save a bad beat but good lyrics can’t. So as a listener we either need better Mac Miller, or better production. For now this is junk food Hip-Hop that you know isn’t doing anything for you but you can enjoy the moment for what it is.
The resolution may be coming in the future as rumors have it that DJ Jazzy Jeff is doing a full length project with Mac. Sounds like a pairing that could solve each of their problems. Mac would work well in front of some of DJ Jazzy Jeff’s fun, old school Juvenilia bounce. Even though there is some definite room for improvement on Best Day Ever I still recommend downloading it. But only after listening to K.I.D.S. – so you can be as naturally underwhelmed and hooked as the rest of his fans are.
You can download Mac Miller Mixtapes here