For Mac Miller, buying music is not just a purchase, it's "an event" — one that, in the age of the Internet, kids these days are missing out on.
"The moment that these kids aren't getting... is when you put that CD into the CD player," the Pittsburgh MC told "RapFix Live" last week. "That half-second, one-second wait until the music starts is everything."
And it seems that with his sophomore effort, Watching Movies With the Sound Off, he's made something that's well worth the wait.
While its release on Tuesday (June 18) coincided with such hip-hop heavyweights as Kanye West's Yeezus and J. Cole's Born Sinner, Mac's LP offers something unique. On his #1 Billboard debut, Blue Slide Park, the Pittsburgh spitter paid homage to his boyhood haunts, a quaint playground that the rap star has outgrown. Even in 2011, when Mac released BSP, he knew he could never go back, so Watching Movies is all about progression.
On the opening "The Star Room," Mac begins his journey of cloudy introspection. The young rapper has plenty of unresolved issues surrounding fame and his personal relationship. "Would he recognize his son when he hears my voice/ I put this music against my life, I think I fear the choice," he raps about his father a few bars after he takes on the burden of making sure his "mom and dad are still somewhat in love."
Much of WMWTSO is subdued, and while the album does have its fun moments ("S.D.S. " and the bonus tracks "Goosebumpz" and "O.K."), Miller spends the majority of the 16-track ride looking within himself and experimenting musically. For the Pharrell Williams-produced "Objects in the Mirror," Mac croons about a promising love over the Neptunes hitmakers jazzy chords and knocking drums. "Just a little taste and you know she got you," he sings.
To round out the personal moments on the LP, Mac recruits an impressive gang of his rap buddies to assist on the LP. Action Bronson shows up on "Red Dot Music" with a colorful verse that references tuna, famed baseball great Jay Buhner and lizards "from a strange river." Schoolboy Q contributes to "Gees" while his Black Hippy cohort adds his rhymes to "Matches." Mac even managed to get the elusive Jay Electronica on the lyrically drenched "Suplexes Inside of Complexes and Duplexes."
Rhyming alongside some of the game's most regarded young spitters helps illustrate how far Mac has come as a verbal champion. He even produced a handful of songs under the name Larry Fisherman.
Still, the strength of Watching Movies lies in tracks like "Remember" where Mac mourns a deceased friend or the breezy "Someone Like You," where he reminisces on a lost love. With a number of ups, downs, twists and turns, Mac Miller made an album that for fans is well worth the trip to their local CD store.