Despite this being Mac Miller’s third record, “Who is Mac Miller?” is still a question heard round fairly often, especially in the rare instance when Mac Miller is mentioned in conversation that isn’t just, “oh look, Mac Miller has a new record.” Sure, Kendrick Lamar had five mixtapes and an album before Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City, just like Mac Miller before his 2nd album, Watching Movies With the Sound Off, so to them, they’ve been making music way longer than you think they have, but the contrast in relevance is the part that keeps rappers around, listened to more than the month its released, or panned entirely.
70 minutes over 17 tracks is a hell of a lot of music. Since when did 9-10 tracks become 12-15 tracks to now become 16-21 tracks? In this digital age, you can put out a ton of music and people can select what tracks they like to keep and what they don’t, but some people (like me), still hold the importance of an “album,” and the longer an album gets, the harder it is for it be considered “a great album” and not “an okay album with some good songs on it.” The latter of which being my opinion of Mac Miller’s albums, along with the previously mentioned staying in relevance the month it comes out and then fading back until the next release. Sure, his first mixtape, Blue Slide Park, “became the first independently distributed debut album to reach No. 1 on the Billboard 200 since 1995”, but as Michael Madden of Consequence of Sound agrees, “it didn’t fare well with critics; to say it got ‘bad reviews’ doesn’t do it justice.”
Mac’s a decent rapper with good flow control, emphasized on “Brand Name,” and wit along the lines of artists like Lil Dicky, mentioning his Jewish heritage with, “Concoction of homentashens,” a line from Watching Movies With the Sound Off ‘s track, “Avian,” as well as many other humorous lines like “your bitch a night light in bed, she turned on,” from “Bird Call” etc. But where his nonchalance, oddball stoner rap attitude fails him is mainly in his delivery. It couldn’t hurt for him to sound more animated, not like to Danny Brown or Jay Rock level of insane intensity, but to mainly just sound more excited, even on the more chill songs. Just because it’s a chiller rap doesn’t mean that it has to be drained of all emotion.
Oddly where Mac Miller’s GO:OD AM shines though, is not in Mac Miller’s vocals, his featured artists, his wit, his probable homage to Kanye West’s Graduation track “Good Morning,” or anything that had to do with Mac Miller. The best part of GO:OD AM lies in the production. From artists all over like ID Labs, Tyler, the Creator, Sounwave, THC, Christian Rich, Thundercat, Frank Dukes, DJ Hahi, Vinylz, & Travis Scott, to name a few, it’s crazy how cohesive the album sounds with so many producers and beat makers involved.
The award for best production though by far has to go to ID Labs, a duo from Pittsburgh, the same place as Miller grew up, that takes on 7 of the tracks here on GO:OD AM. “Brand Name” and “Rush Hour,” surprised me so much on production quality that I really couldn’t even pay attention to Mac Miller. Much like Curren$y’s projects, where Ski Beatz should be the hero of the Pilot Talk series due to his production and formation of Curren$y’s sound, here on GO:OD AM, while Mac Miller’s career might have a brighter future than Curren$y’s, ID Labs and the rest of GO:OD AM‘s production team should be the one’s celebrating.