Mark May 11, 2014 as the day any lingering doubts about Mac Miller were officially eradicated. While last year's Watching Movies with the Sound Off re-positioned Pittsburgh's Malcolm McCormick as a psych-rap kid in the clutches of the Odd Future/TDE/Brainfeeder crews, new mixtape Faces firmly entrenches him in those respective camps. Over the course of an unwieldy, but gorgeous hour and a half the "Donald Trump" rapper delves into loping weed-rap with the likes of: Schoolboy Q, Sir Michael Rocks (of Cool Kids), Earl Sweatshirt, Ab-Soul, frequent Flying Lotus collaborator Thundercat, Rick Ross, and perhaps most curiously Mike Jones. And though his laid-back delivery rarely bests his collaborators, he sounds so comfortable in these blurry surroundings that he's never fully vanquished.
The 9th Wonder produced "Rain" which appears near the end of Faces offers some of the best evidence of Miller's lyrical easiness. Over a rippling guitar figure, Miller leisurely spits "that prayer hand emoji, that s*** that injured Kobe" without once raising his blunted voice. He speaks on "running from my shadow" and deals with "high-heel depression," but 9th Wonder's chirping vocal samples and stuttering drums are so warm it's difficult to pick up on the icy mood Miller's conveying. Ditto for Vince Staples who breathlessly about "funerals" being "usual." As Miller attempts a "space migration" to flee from his problems, Staples remains grounded. When a stray bullet hits his brother, all he can do is declare fate to be dead. It's a far more morbid view of the world, but one that still dovetails with Miller's drizzling pain. If he was in the same area before, now's on the same wavelength.
Faces can be downloaded for free here now.