For years, rappers like Vanilla Ice and Eminem faced criticism that their music was going to whitewash hip-hop, to present a safer version of music for white America that couldn't deal with the genre on its own terms. This was true to a degree, as it always is when white rappers are performing for a black audience. But Mac Miller, who shot from virtual obscurity to becoming a behemoth of independent rap music, seems to embody this idea with a greater resonance than most before or since.

When Eminem arose, much noise was made defending him on the grounds that he still came from the trailer parks, therefore represented for the underclass, and that he was undeniably skilled. Mac Miller has had to prove neither of these points. Mac Miller appeals to a very wide audience that has interest in seeing themselves on stage, where their identity is tied as much to skin tone as it is any kind of artistic accomplishment.

So it's easy to see why haters would be drawn to his career; he makes for an easy target, as does any artist who seems to have earned acclaim in part thanks to race. But that kind of blanket hate also refuses to acknowledge the ways in which he's managed to build a successful brand independently, without the assistance of major labels. His work connects with audiences for a reason, and sometimes it's just because those audiences like his songs.

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