Mac Miller Bridges The Gap Between Young & Old Hip-Hop Fans
In this exclusive sit down with DrJays.com Live during SXSW 2011 in Austin, TX, Mac Miller talks about his meteoric rise, landing on the XXL cover, his interesting 2011 plans and why he wants to become the artist that bridges the gap between the younger and older generations of hip hop fans.
DrJays: You recently dropped “Best Day Ever” which has led to like your best month ever with the XXL cover.
Mac Miller: When I dropped the “K.I.D.S.” mixtape, I had a minimal buzz. I had a small fan base but that project took me to a new level that I never imagined being possible. Even though I was grinding, doing shows and do as much as I possibly could, I didn’t see this coming. To see this massive explosion over the past month or so—from the XXL cover to dropping a new project to being at the mtvU Woodie Awards – it’s just crazy. It’s wild to be doing this; especially when this is what you’ve always dreamed of doing. It’s wild to see yourself selling out New York in two days. I remember when I was putting seven people somewhere in Pittsburgh and I’d get on the mic like “Who’s here to see Mac Miller?” and people would be like “Get this dude off the stage! I’m trying to drink.” To be able to see a group of people at a show who strongly believe in what I’m doing is crazy. Today people want to hear what I have to say on the microphone. Now that people listen, it’s cool. I’m just trying to do as much as I can and not take this for granted. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity that I’ve been blessed with and I want to make sure people know that I’m going as hard as I possibly can and not miss a single second of it.
While the buzz is so big, you have to capitalize. What’s the plan for 2011?
I’m going on tour with Wiz Khalifa for a little bit and then I’ll probably go on my own tour again. I’ve got some projects coming out in the summer. I haven’t told anybody yet, but me and DJ Jazzy Jeff are about to do a project. It’s going to be on some straight hip-hop that will probably come out in the summer and we’re trying to reach out and get as many pioneers in hip-hop involved as possible. Hopefully they will be down to do it. I’m just excited. It was enough when Jazzy Jeff said on Twitter that he fucked with me. I actually just got off the phone with him. The coolest thing about him is that he doesn’t only appreciate and respect the straight up boom-bap, hip-hop that I do, he enjoys when I experiment and do other types of music. I think the project is going to be groundbreaking.
That’s truly a big deal when someone like yourself joins forces with a living legend like DJ Jazzy Jeff.
Yeah. Especially with this younger generation that has been gravitating towards me. I want to give them this. I want them to know who DJ Premier, Pete Rock and Jazzy Jeff are. Those are some of my favorite producers.
Is that a dream of yours to bring some of these legends together to produce for you?
Dude, it’s just crazy! I remember spitting over a DJ Premier beat until I couldn’t spit anymore. Now I’m talking to Jazzy Jeff. I just did something with Just Blaze. The craziest thing is that it was all just a dream. You don’t really see it as something reachable. You hope that maybe it will happen one day. But you don’t really know. You think back and say “If I met this person, I would probably freak out.” Once you get there and meet them it’s just like…well…you’re just homies. Just Blaze cracks jokes and hangs out like anyone else. It’s cool to be at a level where people like that you can just kick it with. It’s not even about making music all the time. It’s about hearing stories. I make sure everyone tells me all the stories that they can. I’ve had the chance to talk to Mike D of the Beastie Boys on the phone and I was asking him to tell stories. It’s cool to hear stories from the pioneers of hip-hop. I like to get a little knowledge and hope I don’t make any mistakes.
Does it still feel like a dream today?
Yeah. After shows I’ll leave and be amazed. Performing shows you so much. It’s where you really figure out if you are impacting people. You can see it by how they act at your shows. I’ve done shows where there were a lot of people there, but they were just standing there. But then you’ll see the people who know all the words to your songs. I performed in Houston and Bun B knew the words to my music! It doesn’t feel like something that is really real. But it does feel like this is what I’m supposed to be doing. This is what I wanted to do. Once you are here, you have to cut yourself off from saying “This is not happening” and be more like “Yeah, it’s happening so learn how to do it.”
How do you feel about the responsibility of being that bridge between the older and younger generations?
I think it’s cool. How I see it is everybody is making music. Whether you’re ten years old or 40-years old, everyone is making music. The internet is making it possible for the younger generation to go back and hear some of those songs. That’s what I did. It’s not like I was of age when all these artists came out. But I went back and researched what Big L was rhyming about. That’s what I’m trying to show my younger fans. I want people to listen to my music and go back and listen to A Tribe Called Quest and realize how great they were. I’m just trying to make music and have a good time doing it.