Smile Back: Mac Miller On His “Blue Slide” Debut, Influences & Fans

11.07.11 6 years ago 32 Comments
It’s old hearsay by now: Mac Miller makes tunes for the kids and not for the old, hardened Hip-Hop heads. There’s been countless digs at the Pittsburgh native ranging from him riding Wiz’ coattails to being the next white MC to have buzz and nothing more. He’s pals with Young Khalifa, sure, but people are missing the point. He’s making songs that resonate with someone whether you’re a fan or not. As evidenced by his successful Twitter campaign to reach one million followers (he’s almost at 1,100,00 followers as of this writing), the kid’s doing something and he’s doing it more than alright.

After more than four years of dropping cool, bud-inspired mixtapes, the 2011 XXL Freshman will drop Blue Slide Park, his debut LP, on November 8th courtesy of Rostrum Records. He’s in the midst of a mammoth 49-city tour but wanted to sit down with TSS to talk the new LP, the prospects of recording with a certain XXL Freshman and all of those Negative Nancies who still aren’t on the Mac Miller train. In the words of the young MC, “leggo!”

Graphics By Talia

TSS: Where are you currently on the “Blue Slide Park” tour?

Mac Miller: Santa, Clara, California, man.

TSS: And how’s it been going so far?

Mac Miller: It’s been crazy. We’ve sold out everywhere. Everyone is really excited. All the fans have been coming out and getting really into the show.

TSS: Well with all of your releases over the past year it makes sense that your shows have been doing so well. How’s it felt getting the new material out and building a bigger fan base?

Mac Miller: It’s been a great year taking things to the next level. At the beginning of the year we were touring off the material from K.I.D.S. and just started heavy touring with this year’s material. We’re getting new things happening every month and response to the new album has been really positive.

TSS: So talk about Blue Slide Park. What can everyone expect to hear from you when it drops?

Mac Miller: I think this new album should kinda just be like a new beginning in its own way. It’s almost the start of my career in another way. I’ve been doing the mixtape game for four or five years now. This round of touring started the next level. On Blue Slide Park it won’t box itself to one genre or sound. While recording the album I just wanted to make good music. It didn’t need to be anything crazy. I just need to be myself on the new record and people will hear that.

TSS: I feel like people can definitely tell that you incorporate a lot of different sounds. What in particular were you listening to when you were recording?

Mac Miller: There was a lot. I was listening to a lot of Janis, Outkast and Tribe in rotation. Kendrick’s (Lamar) Section.80 was played heavy too—I love that album. I also listened to tons of Michael Jackson, Nevermind, ODB’s Return to the 36 Chambers, Frank Ccean. There was a little mix of everything. Also, the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind soundtrack helped inspire me. People need to check that out if they haven’t already.

TSS: With the success of you and Wiz Khalifa over the past year is there a definitive Pittsburgh sound that you’ve also been trying to incorporate?

Mac Miller: I think that there isn’t really a definitive sound. That’s what makes Pitt what is it. It has everything. There’s pure Hip-Hop and there’s dudes that make straight trap music. There’s a little bit of everything. It inspired me. It made me go everywhere with it. I don’t wanna box my sound in. Being in that environment has allowed me to experiment with it and explore new stuff.

TSS: You included a lot of production from I.D. Labs on Blue Slide Park (the production team that consists of Mac and frequent production partner, Big Jerm), but also have some assistance from Mansions on the Moon. How’d that collaboration come about?

Mac Miller: They actually went on tour with Wiz and me. That’s how we met. They have a really cool sound. Even though they dabble a lot in that upbeat house sound, we didn’t use any of that. I helped play some of the instruments myself on the Mansions on the Moon track and fans are going to get a more chill vibe.

TSS: Is there anything in particular you want to accomplish by releasing Blue Slide Park?

Mac Miller: I just wanna connect music for people. There are different aspects on the record for everyone. For most people they have their own genres and they stick to it. But in the end I see this music thing as all the same thing. You can you find something you like in all genres. You can be a fan of all types of music. The shit I make is kinda a reflection of what I listen to, what I like.

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