At age 19, rapper Mac Miller is steadily growing in popularity throughout the country.
Then you’re young, not much else matters,” begins the first track of Pittsburgh-bred rapper Mac Miller’s “K.I.D.S.” mixtape.
“Everyone that didn’t know [the movie ‘Kids’] thought that was me giving that speech at the beginning,” Miller said. “And they come up to me, and they’re like, ‘Damn, Mac has a really weird speaking voice.’”
Although it’s the character Telly that’s speaking the line, Mac Miller lives by that motto daily. Inspired to start rapping at the age of 14 by Big L, Miller is now 19 years old and could be poised to take over the rap world by the end of 2011.
Gracing the cover of XXL magazine’s annual “Freshman” issue along fellow up-and-comers such as Yelawolf and Cyhi Da Prince, Miller stands out among his peers because he refuses to be pigeonholed as just a rapper. His jazzy beats and flow bring to mind hip-hop legends, especially a Tribe Called Quest and the Beastie Boys.
“I play guitar, piano and drums, so I’d like to experiment with other genres of music,” Miller said. “A lot of people always want to tell an artist that they’re selling out if they try to make different sounding music, but this is our job every single day, so it’s fun to switch things up sometimes.”
Although he’s based in Pittsburgh, Miller has a prominent presence in Philadelphia.
“Philly actually is crazy, like, every single time I’m there,” Miller said. “Whenever I headline shows in the Philly area, we always get the biggest number of kids. We just came through the [Theatre of the Living Arts,] and it was super crazy. I’m always on the Temple campus, so people can probably see me around all the time.”
Now that Miller’s last two mixtapes, the aforementioned “K.I.D.S.” and the recently released “Best Day Ever” have been downloaded more than 500,000 times, it may become difficult to actually see Miller on campus.
Although still young, Miller seems to realize that longevity is granted to the artist that knows enough to not restrict himself to doing only one thing for an extended period of time. As for the future, Miller said he only sees more success.
He’s also compiled a pretty musically varied wish list of musicians he would really want to work with one day.
“There’s a number of people I’d love to work with,” Miller said. “I think it’d be cool to venture outside and work with G. Love, if I could pull that off, and I really want to work with the Beastie Boys one day. I’ve talked to Mike D a few times, and they’re familiar with my stuff, and John Legend singing on one of my tracks would be dope, too.”
Kevin Stairiker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.