2/09/2012

What's "Of The Soul" of Mac Miller?

Mac Miller: New, Talented, Potentialful. Is that a word?
By Lauren White
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“Who is this fool riding a mobility scooter on stage?”

That was my first thought upon seeing rapper Mac Miller perform his hit “Party On 5th Avenue” at MTV’s New Year’s Eve celebration. I was too busy ranting to my younger sister to actually listen to the song and passed him off as a one hit wonder. However, I am a proponent of second chances and decided to find out more about this Mac Miller character. Often compared to rapper Eminem for their similar skin complexion, Miller’s style is mellower and is closer to that of former college stoner rapper Asher Roth.

In order to find out more about this artist, we will explore Mac Miller’s “deep” side and look into the video for his latest single “Of The Soul”.




The instrumental to “Of The Soul” is the type of track that can instantaneously put you into a blissful state of mind. It starts out with gentle clapping reminiscent of and proceeds into a piano melody that gives the track an old-school feel. From there it transforms into something a little heavier than what would fall into the Europop/trance category, but is still chill enough to allow a zen moment. Whoever produced this tracked deserves a gold star for capturing the trance-like state consistent with soul-searching and for being the force behind this song.

Must be cold in that room...
His vocals left me with mixed feelings. The introduction is Mac talking over the track in the stereotypical stoner drawl, musing about how he is unable to read his handwriting from three years ago. Once again, the introduction fails to fit in with the rest of the song and appears unnecessary. When the first verse begins, it is apparent that Miller is not a novelty act and can hold his own ground in rapping technique. His smooth as silk flow fits in perfectly with the laid back mood of the track and it becomes apparent to me why he is MTV worthy. I cannot say much about his freestyle skill, but his recorded work is good, unlike Kreayshawn, another indie label rapper.

At this point, I was ready to don my “I heart Mac Miller” shirt …until I listened to the lyrics a second time. After looking over the lyrics, I was really confused. The entire song seemed to be a jumbled mess of phrases not really telling a story. I was hoping he was being clever and was utilizing the stream of consciousness writing style to fit with the title. Sadly, after viewing the lyrics from his other songs, I realized I gave him too much credit. Instead of taking the opportunity to weave together a cohesive story, he falls into the trap that many mainstream artists do and fills the song with empty lyrics. There are a few clever references and word play , such as the line “ Got some soul like de la do”, that nods to hip hop trio De La Soul, but you have to search for it. Immature and tired content matter of sex, booze, haters, and weed drag down a song that could have unveiled a small part of Mac Miller’s mind. Now, everyone loves a good reckless party song, but lines like “Lookin' for a scary bitch that I can pop her cherry pit” does not exactly fit in with what one would assume is the theme of the song. Variety is the spice of life and it would be nice to hear something besides a mindless party songs and tales of ill-fated lovers on the radio.

Mac Miller likes to share.
 I was pleasantly surprised at the music video since there has been a trend of performing artists to rob a track of its meaning by making things too over the top. It is very minimal in every aspect, but manages to impress by translating the feeling of the song. It starts out with Mac doing the well-known “gangsta nod” while a hoodie and strategic lighting hides his face from the viewer. The room brightens up and reveals the colorful triangles that make up a portion of the “Blue Slide Park” album cover and Mac Miller. The video is three minutes of Miller rapping intercut with performances from what seem to be three modern and hip hop trained dancers. What makes this video interesting are the little details that are placed in the video. The selected shots of a spinning screen suggest the dizzying effect that can occur while delving into the often-locked away contents of the soul. While the dancers execute their moves with sultry athleticism, the minor detail of their costumes turns them into a part of the album cover art. Clad in loose white shirts and hot pants, the single thick blue line connects them into the aforementioned background as they complete the artistic representation of Blue Slide Park. This theme in the video is repeated at the end, with a single stream of royal blue paint is poured in front of the triangular formation background and becomes the cover art.

No disguises necessary. Seriously.
To go back to my initial rant of Mac riding to the stage on a mobility scooter, I realized he and the people advising him are clever (the scooter was a call back to the “Party on 5th Avenue” music video). It is a shame that he does not step up his songwriting game to elevate the excellent beats and decent music video treatments that are produced for him. Honestly, it may be awhile before someone that proclaims “Now I'm just a pop sensation, fuck your expectations” will be ready to compete will the hip hop legend that he boasts about.

4 comments:

  1. hes most dope by far.!!!!!! :)

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  2. MAC MILLER PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEASE COME TO ALBUQUERQUE NEW MEXICO I LOVE YOU SOOOOO MUCH!!!!!!!!! YOUR JUST THE BEST RAPPER AND MOST CUTEST PERSON IN THE WORLD! I LOVE YOU HOPE YOUR READING THIS!!!! ;) *HUGS* *KISSES* MUAH LOVE YOU AGAIN PLEEEEEEASE COME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  3. This woman writing seems to have a hate or something towards Mac he's an artist worthy of many things and he deserves more credit than he's given in this article.

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  4. what a douche bag!

    ReplyDelete