Mac Miller wasn't always this popular, and his concerts weren't always quite so packed.
"I performed for five people at a 'hood-ass club, and no one looked at me," Mac recalled of one of his earliest shows as a teen in Pittsburgh. "They were like, 'Who's this little-ass white kid?' "
How times have changed. On December 9, the Blue Slide Park MC returned to his hometown to perform a pair of sold-out shows at Stage AE, with a gang of hits and a #1 album under his belt and a legion of new fans.
A year prior, in December 2010, he opened for Rostrum Records labelmate and buddy Wiz Khalifa at the same venue, but for Mac, things didn't go so well.
"I was opening for Wiz at Stage AE, like, the same exact show, his homecoming," Mac remembered. "I actually had just came off my first little tour. I did, like, a two-week run, and I lost my voice on it. So I did both those Pittsburgh shows with no voice, and I sounded like sh--."
Mac's voice wasn't a problem during his concerts in December. Before the first show, anxious concertgoers chanted, "We want Mac, we want Mac," as the now 20-year old MC made his way from his backstage dressing room to the stage, where he led a prayer circle with his Most Dope crew right before the curtains opened. Miller ran through crowd favorites like "Best Day Ever," "Knock, Knock," "Donald Trump" and "Party on Fifth Ave."
The crowd jumped-up, pumped their fists and sang along all night throughout both shows — then again that's the standard for a Mac Miller concert. But even the slow and personal "Missed Calls" from his BSP album got a nice reaction, which to the young MC proved that his music is really connecting with his audience.
"I'm like the fun rapper, right? Me, Mac Miller, the symbol of fun, but when I do 'Missed Calls,' it's like cool, good music," he told MTV News backstage after his December 9 show. "It's dope to see that vibe in the room of people just enjoying a song that's not about fun, that's not a party anthem, that's just a song about some real sh-- that I made about a relationship."
It's his favorite song on the album, by the way.
For Mac, going back to the 'Burgh was a high like no other. "Last night was like my first real Pittsburgh show where I'm somebody now," he said December 10 as he took MTV News on a tour through his beloved Blue Slide Park. "I just wanted to say 'Pittsburgh' over and over again — not to get the crowd hyped, but to able to say that, man. I was home. I'm home, and there's 3,000 people rockin' with me."
Stick with MTV News all week as Mac Miller takes us back to the 'Burgh and spotlights the city's vibrant hip-hop scene. Then tune into RapFix Live" today at 4 p.m. on MTV.com for exclusive behind-the-scenes footage from Mac's hometown shows.