To his family, he’s known as Malcolm McCormick; and early listeners of his rap music may call him Easy Mac or Most Dope; but to millions of hip hop and rap fans today—including an astonishing two million followers on Twitter—the name Mac Miller is one that elicits screams and excitement whenever he takes the stage.
“I didn’t know I could do this for sure, but this was always my dream and I couldn’t see a reason why I couldn’t,” Miller said. “Being a young kid, people will tell you that it’s pretty improbable that you can do it, but also being young, you usually do the opposite of what they say anyway. When people told me I couldn’t do it, that just made me believe in myself even more.”
Fame came fast for the now 20-year-old rapper out of Pittsburgh, Pa. With independent Internet releases “K.I.D.S.” “Best Day Ever” and “On and On and Beyond,” Miller’s music was downloaded millions of times before he even had any significant radio play. It was just last November when his debut album, “Blue Slide Park” reached No. 1 on Billboard’s 200 with an astonishing first week sales of more than 144,000 copies.
With songs like “Donald Trump,” “Knock Knock” and “Party on Fifth Ave.,” Miller’s skillful rhymes, humorous themes and upbeat demeanor took the hip hop nation by storm.
“It’s always really funny to me to turn on the radio and hear my voice. It’s crazy but at the same time, it’s what I set out to do,” he said. “But you can’t just be happy with that. You need to keep working and striving for more.”
On March 31, Miller will stop by the Patriot Center for a concert he promises will be a night to remember for his fans.
“It’s just an experience. The thing I want to create with this show is the feeling that you can leave the regular world and come into my world for a little bit,” Miller said. “Then when you leave, you will be like, ‘whoa, what just happened.’”
Miller’s world, he said, is really just whatever is going on in his head at that particular time and place. Although he loves performing live for the audience, he is not much a fan of the travel.
“Touring can be rough. It’s long, it’s grueling and there’s a lot to do, so I’m still learning the ways to stay sane and make it in the business,” he said. “At the same time, it can be really fun, so I am just trying to figure out how to balance it all.”
He accomplishes the fun part by touring with an entourage of his “homies,” travelling by bus from town to town and venue to venue.
His favorite part of the business is creating new songs and writing music. He’s self-taught on the piano, drums, guitar, and bass and learned to compose songs in a variety of musical genres by the time he was nine.
“Making music will never be a job; that’s the greatest part without a doubt,” Miller said. “If all I could do was make music, that would be awesome. That’s my passion and the reason I wanted to do this.”
Inspiration came from a number of sources when Miller was young. He listened to the Beatles, Outkast, Tribe Called Quest, Pink Floyd and different genres of music.
“I always listened to all different types of music and it was about mixing it all together to find what I wanted to do,” he said.
As a young white rapper, Miller is sometimes compared to Eminem, and while he appreciates the compliment, he doesn’t think that the two should be lumped together just because of the color of their skin. For those who understand rap, they know that Miller’s style is completely different and his lyrics miles apart from what Eminem sings about.
Another major difference is that Miller has publicly gone on record that he is totally against using the infamous N-word.
“I don’t think any white rapper should be using [the N-word]. Whether you’re a rapper or a cashier that rule applies,” he said. “I find it ridiculous that it's even up for debate. I wasn't raised to ever use that word, so I don't see any circumstance where that would be appropriate.”
One person Miller doesn’t mind being compared to is fellow Pittsburgh rapper Wiz Khalifa, who he calls “a big brother to me” and often looks to for advice about music and life.
Later this year, Miller will release “Macadelic” that will feature new music that he expects to position even higher on the charts.
“I have a million thoughts going through my head at a million miles an hour and writing is the way to get them off my chest and relieve stress,” he said. “In my head, from the time that I was 10 years old, I figured I would go down as one of the best to ever do this. I don’t strive just to make music, I strive to become an icon.”