Release Date: Sep 18, 2015
Record label: Warner Bros.
Mac Miller proved he had swagger with his 2011 debut Blue Slide Park, and then offered some artistic depth with his adventurous, reckless, and overly wandering sophomore release Watching Movies with the Sound Off. Learning from previous mistakes while retaining all that was good about his second LP, this third dispatch from the heart of Pittsburgh adds a slurry and mush-mouthed style that sounds like the confident Miller is now so laid-back, the words leaving his mouth are quite tired from their uphill climb. The great single "100 Grandkids" suggests it is actually a post-junkie style as "I swear to God, I put the 'hero' in heroin" blasts out loud and proud, although there's no doubting the wiser moments on this third album are all post-rehab and even prouder, as the quest for clarity is the rapper's current vice.
In 2011, Mac Miller hit rock bottom. His debut album Blue Slide Park had just been released and unlike the success of his 2010 mixtape K.I.D.S., his first official project was unanimously panned by critics. That also meant receiving a one out of 10 rating from Pitchfork. Years later, Miller is respected by a handful of Hip Hop’s OGs like Nas and De La Soul, lauded for his experimental production under the pseudonym Larry Fisherman and has overcome a battle with addiction.
Head here to submit your own review of this album. "Ain't saying that I'm sober, I'm just in a better place," Mac Miller begins. As casual as the statement may seem, the sentence is a reassuring decree of deliverance following a dark battle with depression and addiction that witnessed the career and well-being of the 23-year-old Pittsburgh rapper spiral downward this past year.
Who is Mac Miller? On Blue Slide Park, he was a childish "frat rapper" who made dumb jokes about smoking weed and referred to the vagina as a "cooter." On the claustrophobic Watching Movies With the Sound Off, he was rapping in a pitched-down voice alongside Earl Sweatshirt and Ab-Soul about friends lost, drugs consumed, depression, and the trappings of success. And on the transparent, relaxed GO:OD AM, he sounds like someone’s troubled little brother made good: from the album’s opening horns, you can sense that this is a victory lap for Mac, a homecoming. From start to finish, this is his most refined and well put-together project.
Mac Miller has won a lot of people over, roughly as many as he had in the first place. The Pittsburgh rapper was too young when he first got rich and famous. Credit is due; he tried. He seemed genuinely interested in hip-hop, a teenager who liked A Tribe Called Quest and Big L. But his music, while ….
Mac Miller is, without a doubt, in contention for the most improved rapper of all time when examining careers arcs. Who could’ve imagined that the sophomoric, unlistenable Blue Slide Park was just a precursor to some of hip-hop’s most interesting releases? What clairvoyant saw the kid actually using the rhyme scheme “hat/that” as capable of Cam’ronian internal rhymes and flows that could extend multiple lines? From seemingly emerging as marijuana mastermind Wiz Khalifa’s similarly weed-loving sidekick to holding his own with friends and highly-respected MCs Ab-Soul and Schoolboy Q, Mac is acutely aware of his musical growth, and, continuing from his previous, sometimes great album, Watching Movies With the Sound Off, he nods towards substantial personal growth, too. The music he made whilst under the influence of drugs, most notably manifested on his 2014 mixtape Faces, on which he showcased substantial technical progress as a rapper, relied too heavily on the drug talk for a mixtape that spanned over twenty songs.
It's probably not surprising that Mac Miller's major label debut, GO:OD AM, is a little less weird than his last two outings, but in the case of Mac Miller, that's not an entirely bad thing. It just means Miller's penchant for psychedelic, lurching beats and intentionally awkward pacing has been reigned in, just a little. (Miller being kind of sober-ish probably helped with that, too.)Content wise, GO:OD AM manages to run the gamut from over the top boasts about money and women to a very warts-and-all introspective examination of Miller's history with substance abuse.
Mac Miller is an unlikely conduit for some of 2015’s most interesting rap. Earl Sweatshirt counts him among his earliest believers, while Vince Staples first appeared on people’s radars when he began making tracks with the 23-year-old rapper, who had his own MTV reality show at the time. But unlike Sweatshirt’s agoraphobic, introverted latest album, or Staples’ tense, gloomy debut, GO:OD AM sounds like the work of a rapper who’s pleased to be here.
Mac Miller :: GO:OD AMWarner Bros.Author: Michael G. BarilleauxMac Miller is not what you would call a predictable rapper. Although he may have begun his career as one, he has since thrown listeners for a loop. "GO:OD AM" however does not exactly show much of anything out of the ordinary.Miller began his career as a young, wide-eyed (his words, in fact) rapper who brought fans multiple mixtapes full of youthful rhymes delivered with a casual stoner flow and a dash of outright silliness.
Rapper Mac Miller emerged in 2011 like a weeded fratboy frosh looking for the best party, and came out of 2013 like a depressive college radio MC laboring over his best rhymes. Now, as the 23-year-old says on his third studio album, it's time to "man up." He calls GO:OD A.M. "the first album I recorded while being happy in a long time," an opportunity for him to face addiction, insomnia and his tortured insides with clarity on songs like "Weekend." It's easily his most mature work – but that doesn't necessarily mean it's his most entertaining.
Mac MillerGO:OD AMWarner Brother RecordsFeatures: Ab-Soul, Lil B, Miguel, Chief Keef, Little DragonProduction: Tyler, the Creator, I.D. Labs, Vinylz “To everyone who sell me drugs/ don’t mix it with that bullshit, I’m hoping not to join the 27 club,” Mac Miller says on “Brand Name”, the second track on his third LP, GO:OD AM. It’s a morbid line that captures Mac’s mindset up to this point in his career.
Rappers spend lots of time on their rhymes, and producers spend lots of time on their beats, but you’d be surprised how often those two practices don’t neatly intersect. There’s little in hip-hop more disappointing than a great rapper with a tin ear for beats. Conversely, a sharp ear can rescue a bum rapper, or elevate a good one to great. Mac Miller is a producer and musician in addition to being a rapper — you can hear it all over “GO:OD AM,” his first major-label album, and one of the most musically appealing hip-hop LPs of the year.
In a post-“To Pimp a Butterfly” era, should we expect more from hip-hop than stoner laments, tales of little pimpin’, and half-baked philosophy? The answer is an unqualified yes, making Mac Miller’s third record an empty disappointment. For those who find Wiz Khalifa palatable, Miller’s often facile, monochromatic style doubtless will go down easy. The Pittsburgh MC has undeniably matured; a firmer command of internal rhymes adds slight intricacy to his verses.