At this point, it’s safe to say Mac Miller has taken a dive into almost every genre of music imaginable. It might not always be apparent, but behind that goofy good-naturedness is a passionate creator and a musician, someone without fear of taking risks, someone constantly evolving.
Publicity and promotions departments have a penchant for labeling every major-label release as a full-scale reinvention of the artist, a step forward, revolutionary. Most of it is just food for the media, sound bytes to gobble down and regurgitate on press releases. But for Mac Miller, it’s actually true. Almost every release since that breakthrough K.I.D.S. mixtape back in 2010 has been a total overhaul, meaning we never really know what’s coming next from Malcolm McCormick.
We all remember those first few mixtapes, vibing to tracks like ‘Kool Aid & Frozen Pizza’, ‘Senior Skip Day’, ‘Best Day Ever’, watching all those music videos with the familiar ‘Rex Arrow – Rostrum Records’ intro credits. Around the time his first full-length, the independently issued Blue Slide Park, topped the Billboard chart in Fall 2011, Mac and crew doubled down on their efforts, gracing his burgeoning fanbase with an onslaught of surprisingly well-produced music and video content. Aside from inducing a kind of vicarious nostalgia for some urban, alternate-universe Pittsburgh youth, the tracks and their related visuals showcased not just a positive, fun-loving attitude, but also longevity and depth endowed by a veritable crack team of producers, directors, and videographers going to bat for the young artist. Except, Blue Slide Park might well have been the end, a flash in the pan, a hit album on the shelves waiting years before a sub-par sophomore follow-up. But that’s the thing about Mac – no matter what, he refuses to conform to the traditional album release cycle, and, moreover, refuses to stay within the boundaries determined by his original genre, whatever that might have been. Less than five months after Blue Slide Park topped the Billboard chart, Macadelic surfaced. Featuring verses from some of 2010s hip-hop’s most promising (looking at you Joey Bada$$), dynamic and inventive production across the board, and a darker, more psychedelic influence, the mixtape was critically and commercially acclaimed. From that point forwards, Mac’s career was anything but predictable.
For the most part, however, the emcee’s music has traced a U-shaped trajectory, starting off in the clouds with K.I.D.S., Best Day Ever, and Blue Slide Park, and all too quickly plunging down into a kind of drug-addled jungle of depression and questioning on Macadelic, Watching Movies With the Sound Off, and Faces. This is not even to mention the plethora of one-off tracks and ultra-experimental mixtapes (Delusional Thomas, Larry Lovestein & the Red Velvet Revival, etc.) he has toyed with in the interim between these big name projects, but needless to say, there is strange stuff lurking around every corner of his seemingly endless back catalog. Fortunately, the man’s prolific energy seems to be on an upward trend lately, as evidenced by his most recent major-label release, The Divine Feminine (September 2016; REMember, Warner Bros.). While being all over the place musically, the entire album is soaked in a kind of steamy, long-forgotten sensuality. In many places – like the sultry ‘Stay’, or the funk-influenced, Anderson .Paak-cosigned ‘Dang!’ – it’s definitely a good look for Mac.
How tracks like these will translate to a characteristically raucous stage performance is anyone’s guess, but lord knows you should be stoked to find out when Mac makes it anywhere near DC. The twenty-four-year-old artist will be returning to the Fillmore Silver Spring on Tuesday, December 13th for a show supported by Soulection (feat. The Whooligan) and CLOCKWORKDJ, and if last year’s concert is anything to go by, it’s bound to be equal parts loud, rowdy, insolent, jazzy, soulful, and turnt. But ultimately, fun as hell.
Doors open at 7:00, show starts at 7:30. Scroll down for a few of The Divine Feminine‘s highlights, and pick up your last-minute tickets here.