Mac Miller showed promise when he dropped his attention-grabbing K.I.D.S. (Kickin' Incredibly Dop Sh--) mixtape in 2010, and throughout 2011, the Pittsburgh MC has fully capitalized on his rap buzz, proving that he is a musical force to be reckoned with. Now Miller, who, as an independent artist, earned the #1 album in the country when he dropped Blue Slide Park last month, stands as one of the nominees in MTV News' list of 2011's Hottest Breakthrough MCs.
After deciding he wanted to be an MC at 15, Mac used hip-hop influences like Big L, OutKast and A Tribe Called Quest as well as rock greats like the Beatles, Sublime and the Red Hot Chili Peppers to craft his sound. "My whole thing is being super genuine and being myself," Mac told MTV News. "Being an MC is a huge part of who I am, but it's also that other stuff too, like playing instruments and getting into music like that."
There was some early work as part of local group Ill Spoken, but when Miller dropped K.I.D.S. right after graduating from high school, things really began to take off. Anchored by party tracks like "Knock, Knock" and the Lord Finesse-nod "Kool-Aid & Frozen Pizza," the Rostrum Records spitter started to rack up a series of wins, including his sold-out Incredibly Dope Tour and his appearance on XXL magazine's 2011 Freshman cover.
His next mixtape, Best Day Ever, surprised K.I.D.S. in terms of download numbers, and his first EP, On and On, proved that Mac Miller fans not only would download free projects from the 19-year-old rapper, they'll also pay for product. Then Mac did the unthinkable when his debut album Blue Slide Park was finally released on November 8, 2011. After selling more than 144,000 copies, BSP became the first indie debut to hit #1 on the Billboard albums chart since 1995's Dogg Food by Tha Dogg Pound. The album's accompanying tour was a success as well, selling out every stop along the way.
Yes, 2011 may have been his breakout year, but considering all of his accomplishments, Mac Miller is doing better than some vets in the industry. Still, does he have what it takes to win MTV News' 2011 Hottest Breakthrough MCs contest? Only time will tell.
Hottest Breakthrough MCs was established by MTV News in 2010 as a fan-driven initiative that spotlights, celebrates and cultivates new talent. MTV News chose a pool of young rappers and urged fans to vote for their favorite. When it was all said and done, Wiz Khalifa emerged as the Hottest Breakthrough of last year. The competition was tough, but the Taylor Gang General beat out runner-up Nicki Minaj, ATL group Travis Porter, Diggy Simmons and J. Cole. This year, you can vote for Machine Gun Kelly (or your favorite up-and-comer) over at RapFix.MTV.com, and be sure to check back for daily updates and poll results.
Each day, we'll spotlight a new Hottest Breakthrough MC before we conclude on December 13 when the polls close at 11:59 p.m. ET. The 2011 Hottest Breakthrough MC will be revealed during December 14's "RapFix Live," during which the winner will appear as our in-studio guest. There will also be a special announcement about MTV News' upcoming Hottest MCs in the Game list and debate.
To be considered a Hottest Breakthrough MC, an artist cannot have released a major-label full-length album. Finalists from 2010's Hottest Breakthrough MCs poll will not be eligible for 2011 consideration, so unfortunately, Diggy Simmons and Travis Porter won't be part of this conversation.
Who do you think should be 2011 Hottest Breakthrough MC? Share your picks in the comments!
Stick with MTV News as we profile the 2011 Hottest Breakthrough MCs before announcing the winner December 13 on "RapFix Live" — vote now!