On Mother’s Day (American style), Mac Miller unleashed his titanic new mixtape Faces. At 24 tracks it’s no small feat to digest and I have been living with it for the last few days trying to take it all in. What becomes apparent over multiple plays (and especially if you can take the time to listen as a whole) is that it could be his most comprehensive and cohesive collection of songs to date.
His 11th mixtape, Miller has gradually become more assured as a rapper and lyricist – spending time with his friends from TDE in his new home of LA couldn’t have hurt (Schoolboy Q shows up on Friends). Lyrics are more personal than ever with Mac speaking very candidly about his drug use and the resulting effect on his social life and creative process. On ‘Happy Birthday’, one in a sequence of excellent tracks here (‘Happy Birthday’/’Wedding’/’Funeral’), he paints the grim picture of shutting himself downstairs at his own Birthday party in his studio lair: “I’ll just lay down here inside the studio, doing blow and paraphrasing The Crucible”.
It’s not only his lyrical storytelling that’s on point but the surrounding vivid backdrop he paints with his production pallet (he produces under the pseudonym Larry Fisherman). It really is a star feature here and despite how sprawling the tape is, threads a sense of continuity throughout the 90 minutes. Helps that it sounds off the wall and manic like the Lean addicted love child of Chance’s Acid Rap and Isaiah Rashad’s Cilvia Demo. Similar tales he’s told on his previous standout tape Macadellic like the druggy ”Threw 8‘ are lifted by his growing assertiveness and technique in the studio. His work on the under rated Vince Staples Stolen Youth tape from last year was an indicator that his repertoire behind the desk was growing.
Miller may have left his native Pittsburgh to move to L.A but in true hometown Primanti Brothers fashion you can download his mixtape here by… yes, building a sandwich. A polarising rapper he may be but deserving of your attention he definitely is. Enjoy.