After just a few years Mac Miller has just about everything you can ask for in a rap career. He established a rabid fanbase and notched a No. 1 independent album with his 2011 debut, Blue Slide Park, but last year he really won over the respect of critics and peers alike with the release of his second album, Watching Movies With the Sound Off. Since then, he's dropped a slew of unexpected projects.
Under his producer alias Larry Fisherman he teamed up with Vince Staples to release Stolen Youth last June, followed by the Delusional Thomas mixtape where he rapped with a distorted voice (Delusional Thomas is yet another alias for Mac), before dropping a live album at the end of 2013 called Live From Space, followed by this year's Faces tape. To top it off, a couple weeks back the second season of his MTV2 reality show, Mac Miller and the Most Dope Family, started airing. Clearly, Mac has had a lot going on so we caught up with him to talk about doing another season of his reality show and why he wants people to digest Faces before making his next move...
Interview by Insanul Ahmed (@Incilin)
How you been, man?
I’ve been fantastic. But I’m not letting you get any other headlines on the TV show. Nice try.
[Laughs.] I know, man, I was in the series premiere. I need to get in it this time around.
I know! We had you on the pilot, baby. [Laughs.] But nah, everything is good, man. I’ve been working and getting ready for the next step. The new show is fucking sick. I think this season is better than the first. DJ Clockwork came and really stepped into his own this season. He wasn’t on the first season, but the public demanded that DJ Clockwork appeared and they’re getting it.
Yeah, I remember when I was over there he was the butt of a lot of jokes. But we didn’t get to see them on the show.
I know, but for Season two, he will be. Clock kills it. We did a lot more exploring this year.
Obviously last year you guys did a lot of cool stuff like fishing and throwing your big party. What kind of stuff did you do this time around?
We’re going back into a really cloudy area of my mind here, hold on. We did Hawaii, we went back to Pittsburgh and I got the key to the city. I don’t know. [Laughs.] A bunch of cool shit.
I heard you went to Ireland.
Yes! Okay, there we go. Ask questions, man. Don’t lead up to me. I’m the idiot here. Yeah, Ireland was fucking tight. We stayed in this little bed and breakfast when we did the Lil Wayne shows and Wayne’s camp was all real good people.
I went on a spiritual journey with music, experimented all over the place, and now I’m making sense of it all. Faces is just step one.
I heard you decided to find your Irish roots. I didn’t know you had Irish roots.
I didn’t know I did either. [Laughs.] My last name is McCormick. But I think it’s like Scottish. I’m white, dude, I don’t know what the fuck I am. Scottish-Irish, who the fuck knows? Some white shit. And Jewish! And Christian! And everything in between, bro. I’m just a man of the people.
You guys obviously had fun with the first season, why did you guys come back to do a second season?
Why not? I think we have fun with it so it was a cool thing to do again. I’m a vibe guy, I like to work with people I can hang out with. Everyone that worked on the show is awesome. One of the camera dudes goes surfing with Jimmy. It’s just more fun. I work so much that this is the way to get out of working. I was in a space where all I wanted to do was record and create and I wouldn’t leave that room. This is a great platform to get me out of my own head, get me out of my house.
Speaking of recording, you said you would put out four projects this year. Obviously you put out Faces already. Are you looking to put out the other three?
There’s like nine different things being created, but I’ve realized I have to time my things properly. I want to make sure I give everything its proper due and let it get to the world. Right now, I want to get Faces all the way out there before I make my next [move]. I’ve always been the type of artist where I work and I’m on to the next, so I want to let me work in my own capacity. When it comes to the world, I want to make sure that they hear the whole project before I drop another one. But you never know. Maybe the full album already came out and no one knows about it. But right now the name of the game is Faces, that project was super long and I want to let people peel the layers off and let it marinate.
I record now how I used to write. When I was younger I just wrote notebooks full of rhymes and now that I have my own studio that’s how I record. Faces was like—I wanted to compile everything and put it into a story. It’s not B cuts, it’s real things in there that could be discussed entirely too. Before I’d jump on to the next, I have to let people get into it. It’s a blessing for me because I think the people are waiting on a shorter statement. Before I do that, I wanted to give them a trip inside my head which is anything but precise and short.
Yeah, I felt that way listening to it because it has so many weird turns. Some songs are really jokey but then it turns really dark.
Yeah. You know what it is? It’s one of those projects that depending on where you started, that’s what kind of project it is. It goes through different emotional states. On “Here We Go,” I’m really feeling myself on the first verse and then on the second verse it gets into what comes from feeling yourself. There’s really weird, depressing moments that I’ve had.
Then there’s happy things and there’s shit like “Happy Birthday.” I literally had a gigantic birthday party at the house and I fucking just sat in the studio while the whole thing went on and didn’t even go to my own birthday party. So it was tight. Every song on there has a very meaningful story and before I jump in and tell everyone the story of everything, I want to make sure that it’s digested. Give people some time with some high quality raps.
Your studio has become kind of a rap camp where people like Earl Sweatshirt, Ab-Soul, and ScHoolboy are always coming through. How did you end up having the go-to place for a lot rappers who live in L.A.?
Because they’re the homies. As far as creation, that was something that was beautiful because my philosophy on creation is that you need time. You have two hours in the studio to come in and there’s all these other things. Like, “Oh I gotta go to the studio for two hours and if I do that, it’s gonna come out my budget and boom, boom, boom.” I’m not speaking on anyone but myself here. I’m always down to let the homies come through and work to create because I like being around music. And two, it’s letting people create freely. We all just ended up hanging out and I just had this spot. We have a lot of fun at that spot, in the studio and outside.
But sometimes it’s tough when you have all the time in the world, you end up wasting the time. Do you give yourself deadlines?
I need to, but no. It’s hard for me to call things finished and that’s why I moved out that house. I was living inside my work. It was a beautiful thing because those songs I recorded there mean so much to me. Without setting yourself deadlines you get into fucking, “Now I have 1,000 songs to go through.” Deadlines help, but for me, I just know when I know. With Faces, I just had a feeling like, “This is it, this is what it is.” Like, make those decisions and live with them.
Everyone can’t focus on nine projects at once like I can. So I have to let them dive into Faces before I throw something else at them.
Right, sometimes you have to step back.
That’s what everything has been now, stepping back and assessing. I went on a spiritual journey with music, experimented all over the place, and now I’m making sense of it all. Faces is just step one.
When I look at a lot of your other projects, especially the side projects like Live From Space, Delusional Thomas, and the jazz album, you explored all these sounds. Is Faces you centering in on what you want to make?
Yeah, dude. We’re getting there. There’s so many facets of what I do creatively. I’m from Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh sounds involving everything. As I’ve experimented with what I like to do here and here, I’m letting them all come together and influence the next step.
So the show is out, you got Faces out, what’s next?
Well, I can’t tell you. [Laughs.]
Do you know?
Yeah, of course I know. You know I know. But what’s next for me is just writing my shit and living in the bed that I make. There’s always something next. Whenever you see me, I’m working on something, some weird type of thing. It’s hard, everyone can’t focus on nine projects at once like I can. So I have to let them dive into Faces before I throw something else at them.
How are things working for you now that you’re not rolling with Rostrum anymore?
Free, bro, but good. I love those dudes and we have love for each other, but now I’m chilling. I’m good.
I remember talking to you about this before and it seemed the thing you guys were gearing up for was REMember Music. How far along are you on that?
We got our camp, we got our people. But it’s about development and not speaking too loud until we feel that it’s all the way there. Dylan Reynolds is fucking taking off, he got his phone popping, and Choo Jackson and The Come Up and everyone’s working. But it’s about taking [those steps] before we let the world know what’s going on.
You can catch new episodes of Mac Miller and the Most Dope Family every Wednesday 11:30 PM EST on MTV2.