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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Friday, May 24, 2024

Mac Miller is back — and that's a good thing

Oh Mac Miller, how we missed thee. The Pittsburgh rapper came back in full force this week with the release of his third studio album “GO:OD AM.” The piece is a departure from the more melancholy, depressing songs that populated “Faces” (2014) and “Watching Movies with the Sound Off” (2013).

Hip-hop fans may remember the June 2013 release date as the one shared by Kanye West’s “Yeezus” and J.Cole’s “Born Sinner,” which relegated Miller to the third spot on the Billboard 200. Nonetheless, it was what happened after June 18 that shocked fans. Since then, Cole and West have remained in the spotlight. Miller, on the other hand, effectively fell off the map. The music he released in between “WMWTSO” and “GO:OD AM” was basically a cry for help, a dark portrayal of the effects of Miller’s drug addictions.

His story was one that we know all too well: a young, promising talent throws everything away as he chases a lifestyle that ultimately consumes him. Thankfully, he called up Rick Rubin, got clean, signed a record deal and went back to making great music. “GO:OD AM” isn’t the backpack rap, jovial tunes of “K.I.D.S” (2010), “Best Day Ever” (2013) and “Blue Slide Park” (2011); however, it is certainly not as somber as “Macadelic” (2012) or “Faces.” It is, quite simply, vintage Mac Miller grown up.

As good as Miller must feel to be back in the game, it is far better for the game that Miller is back. For starters, Pittsburgh is back on the map. It was Wiz Khalifa and Miller who allowed the city to grow to rap prominence in the mid-2000s and, even though Miller has since left local Rostrum Records, the fact that their second favorite son is back in business is a huge win for the Pittsburgh hip-hop community.

Miller’s return is also a win for the much-discussed white rapper resurgence. Action Bronson, G Eazy, Machine Gun Kelly, Yelawolf, Hoodie Allen, Logic and Macklemore have more than held down the fort in Miller’s absence, but Mac’s presence gives the faction more validity and firepower. While he embodied the worst of hip-hop — glorified drug use, eccentric behavior, failure to take responsibility and general carelessness — his return symbolizes all the best aspects of the genre: strength, bravery, toughness, a will to succeed, a rags-to-riches mentality, unparalleled work ethic and an undeniable talent. Mac Miller, for better or worse, is hip-hop.

The ups and downs of Miller’s career could once again send him to a drug-infused low a la Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton. Hamilton battled drug and alcohol addictions for many years before finally becoming clean, leading to great praise from the media and huge successes on the baseball field. However, Hamilton soon relapsed, and his career and public image both suffered. Every career is different, but Hamilton’s sheds light on the importance of taking the recent resurrection of Mac Miller with a grain of salt. He looks good, his music sounds good and he seems all good; nonetheless, everything can go wrong in a matter of seconds. You certainly wouldn’t hear that from his new album, however. “GO:OD AM” sounds as polished and mature as the rapper has ever been; so, for now, Mac Miller is back and the hip-hop world should rejoice.