Age: 21
Label: Rostrum
From: Pittsburgh
Active Since: 2007
Latest Release: Macadelic
Recent Single: "SDS"
Everything about Mac Miller is to the extreme. He’s got an extremely dedicated fanbase that buys his albums, goes to his shows, and watches his TV show. On the other end of the spectrum, he’s extremely hated by rap fans who question his skills and write off his success as white privilege. But here’s a reminder to everyone who hates on him and says he’s only successful because he’s white: You only hate him because he’s successful.

If Mac was only mildly successful, like say a T. Mills (who has over 600,000 likes on Facebook even though we couldn't name a single song of his) or one of the growing legion of white rappers who get no blog love but manage to move units independently, he wouldn't receive the hate he does. Instead, in 2011 his debut album, Blue Slide Park, became the first independent album to debut at No. 1 in over a decade. Oh, and in 2012 Forbes claimed he made $6.5 million.

Mac has managed to ascend beyond most of his white rapper contemporaries and into the general rap consciousness, not just because he’s successful but because he’s a perfectly capable rapper. It’s come with tribulations but like Marlo Stanfield once said about the crown, “The point is they wore it.” No one said it was going to be easy.

Yet, as our cover story from earlier this year revealed, Mac is acutely aware of his perception. He’s moved to Los Angeles and has been working nonstop on his sophomore set, Watching Movies With The Sound Off. And he’s been hanging out with a new crowd of rappers from TDE and Odd Future as well as producers like Flying Lotus and Pharrell. He’s spoken about a dedication to the craft of MCing and has a genuine longing to be respected.

That’s why Mac has the most to gain with the impending June 18 showdown. Kanye is already a legend, Cole is well respected. Both of them have the prestige Mac sorely craves. If Mac can release an album that shows considerable growth both musically and lyrically while maintaining his fanbase, he can finally quell the haters. You can question whether or not he’ll hit the mark, but remember we’re talking about a guy who has accomplished every goal he ever set. —Insanul Ahmed

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