Mac Miller's 25 Favorite Albums

The Pittsburgh rapper talks about his favorite albums-from Big L to The Beatles.

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Complex Original

Image via Complex Original

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Yesterday, Mac Miller released his sophomore album, Watching Movies with the Sound Off. Will he sell more records than J. Cole and Kanye West, who also released albums this week? Probably not. But that probably won't bother too much, because Mac, as an independent artist, will enjoy bountiful fruits of his labor. And he should feel proud of himself on an artistic level, too, because he's just released the best album of his career. 

With his release date looming, we caught up with Mac in New York City at Rostrum Records's fabulous pied-à-terre (no seriously, it's amazing—Ted Danson lives upstairs). Laid out on the couch, rocking sweats and scandals, Mac talked to us about his 25 Favorite Albums.

After first threatening to make a troll list where he listed the the Backstreet Boys at the top of his list, Mac talked about the Harlem artist who inspired him to start rapping, what people really mean to say when they hate on Lil Wayne, and how he thinks ScHoolboy Q is about to drop the best TDE album yet.

As told to Insanul Ahmed (@Incilin)

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Bob Dylan, The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan (1963)

Label: Columbia

Mac Miller: "I love that record. I love that cover art. I really love Bob Dylan. My brother is so into Bob Dylan. I saw Dylan perform live one time. Front row. In Pittsburgh. General admission. I was like 10 or 12 and I just pushed my way up to the front by myself because there was no seats or anything. He was like old though, might've been one of his last tours."

The Beatles, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)

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Prince, Controversy (1981)

Label: Warner Bros.

Mac Miller: "I love that album. I love that song. [Laughs.] Prince is my idol, that's who I aspire to be like. Prince invited me to a show. I couldn't believe it, I cried. But I couldn't go because I was shooting a video. I can't believe he gave Gotye an award. I would do anything to do [a song with Prince]."

Bob Marley & The Wailers, Legend (1984)

Label: Tuff Gong/Island

Mac Miller: "Bob Marley makes me happy. I realized, if you're ever sad [just play Bob Marley.] Like this one time, when I was in Las Vegas, we were going crazy with the Molly and then having a horrible come down. It was really bad, postpartum depression. Bob Marley saved everyones life. It was eight in the morning and everyone in the whole hotel room was dancing, singing Bob Marley together."

A Tribe Called Quest, Midnight Marauders (1993)

Label: Jive, BMG

Mac Miller: "Yeah, for the real hip-hop!"

Wu-Tang Clan, Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) (1993)

Label: Loud

Mac Miller: "That reeeeeeeal hiiiiiiip-hop. [Laughs.]"

Portishead, Dummy (1994)

Label: Go! Beat

Mac Miller: "That was my shit this past year. Fucking incredible. E-Dan put me onto Portishead. That sound has so much texture. On Dummy, I believe that they actually sampled shit. Then, on Portishead they sampled themselves only."

D'Angelo, Brown Sugar (1995)

Label: EMI

Mac Miller: "It makes me so happy and makes me feel so good. It like, goes through your veins. [Laughs.] Get it? Brown sugar is heroin. I just love that album so much. It's like a drug in itself. So after I've tackled brown sugar...[Laughs.]"

Big L, Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous (1995)

Label: Columbia

Mac Miller: "That's the album that made me start rapping. Everybody knows that about me. That's who I used to try to be like. I used to be a fucking straight gangster street rapper from the projects of New York. Did I ever play you when I was a gritty New York rapper from the projects? It's definitely on YouTube. It's crazy, I was 15, I was robbing people, and I was into the East Coast/West Coast beef [in my raps].

"In one of my raps my line was like, 'On the East Side we ride on the weed high/Jacking cats packing fat stacks in their Levis/Rap stacks for cash that we divide/Fee-fi we ain't going down where you reside, creeping/Running through your house while you sleeping.' I had a line where I said, 'Stay strapped with the gat to your kneecap.' I was bad, gang banging. Not to be fucked with. Hardcore motherfucker named Mac. That shit was crazy."

Fugees, The Score (1996)

Label: Ruffhouse, Columbia

Mac Miller: "Who doesn't like Lauryn Hill? [Laughs.] Anybody? I love how that album plays. I love the the sounds used in that album, I'm going to play you the greatest sound in the world off that album, one time. This sound [Plays The Fugees' 'Zealots'] is the greatest sound in the world."

Erykah Badu, Baduizm (1997)

Label: Kedar/Universal

Mac Miller: "That shit just reminds me of like driving by yourself at nighttime, on like a highway, and no other cars are on the street and you're doing a long road trip. It's like four in the morning and this album is keeping you there."

Elliott Smith, Either/Or (1997)

Label: Kill Rock Stars

Mac Miller: "That represents my young depressed music when I was a sad little kid. The happiest little kids are the saddest little kids when they're alone. [Laughs.] Elliott Smith is a genius. He's incredible, but he's just very sad."

OutKast, Aquemini (1998)

Label: LaFace/Arista

Mac Miller: [Overexcited hand motions.]

Modest Mouse, The Moon & Antarctica (2000)

Label: Epic

Mac Miller: "His voice is like so unique. I love that about Modest Mouse. I've never heard a voice like that in my life. But it's sick. That album is awesome. 'Gravity Rides Everything' is awesome."

50 Cent, Get Rich Or Die Tryin' (2003)

Label: Aftermath, Interscope, Shady

Mac Miller: "Fucking brilliant. I love that album. You can play 'Many Men' at any point in life and it will succeed. [Laughs.]"

MF Doom, Mm.. Food (2004)

Label: Rhymesayers Entertainment

Mac Miller: "I just like love the texture of his voice against the beats, like, it's very 'Fuck you.' He kind of throws it down there, but it's very purposeful. It sounds effortless, but everything is purposeful. I've never talked to him about it, or talk to him in general so I wouldn't know, but records like 'Vomitspit' are the fucking shit. It's great music for like anything in life. You can play it anytime, it's good."

Lil Wayne, Da Drought 3 (2007)

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Kanye West, Graduation (2007)

Label: Roc-A-Fella, Def Jam

Mac Miller: "Kanye West man, he's fucking Yeezus dude. It's a great album. I remember the impact of it. The one thing I love about Kanye is he's one of the people I can remember listening to from the beginning. Maybe not as like his own mixtape shit because I was young and not in the mixtape game, but I've listened to every Kanye album as its been released and that's why I like Kanye a lot. Like when The Fugees' The Score came out, how old was I? Like two? So this is like tight because every album I was there, like next door to him."

Radiohead, In Rainbows (2007)

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Flying Lotus, Los Angeles (2008)

Label: Warp

Mac Miller: "How he puts together albums never ceases to amaze me. It's like it's just one song, but not one song, but it's one song. It's a real journey."

King Krule, King Krule EP (2011)

Label: True Panther

Mac Miller: "I believe King Krule is from the UK. He's just fucking incredible. His music is incredible. That dude is unlike anything you've ever heard. It's beautiful."

The BasedGod, Choices and Flowers (2012)

Label: N/A

Mac Miller: "No, it's not a troll pick. I just love the idea of it so much. He made a classical album bruh. I'm swole because I wanted to do that. I wanted to make a classical album so bad, I'm still going to do that. But he's next level bruh, next level understanding of the world around him."

The Duck Hunters (Most Dope), Duck Butter Vol. 1 (2013)

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Thundercat, Apocalypse (2013)

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Schoolboy Q, Oxymoron (2013)

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