Who is Mac Miller? Hip-hop's next rising star has an answer for the uninitiated: "He's a 19-year old rap phenomenon from Pittsburgh who enjoys life and enjoys making music every day and working very hard for everything he gets."
Well, all that hard work has paid off. Miller has been named one of MTV Jams' 2011 Fab 5 artists.
Conceived in 2005 on MTV Jams, the Fab 5 is a collection of the most outstanding new hip-hop artists of the year who have made a visible impact on the road to releasing their debut albums. Fab 5 alumni include Juelz Santana, Tony Yayo, Paul Wall, Young Jeezy, Kid Cudi and Drake.
This year, MTV Jams, MTV News and Sucker Free will bring you 2011's hottest new hip-hop upstarts, including Big Sean, Future, Meek Mill, Big K.R.I.T. and now Mac Miller.
The Pittsburgh MC toiled in the local underground, releasing mixtapes under the name Easy Mac until he signed with Rostrum Records and broke out with his 2010 tape K.I.D.S. (Kickin' Incredibly Dope Sh--). "My grandpa started calling me Mac when I was born, so it stuck. It's cool; my grandpa was a huge Mack Maine fan," the rapper joked about his name change.
K.I.D.S.was led by the Lord Finesse-sampling "Kool-Aid and Frozen Pizza," which quickly became a fan favorite and helped grow Miller's faithful following. "Kool-Aid" alone has since registered 13.2 million views on YouTube, and TreeJTV — the YouTube channel Mac uploads all his footage to — has more than 111 million total views.
From there, Mac landed a spot on XXL magazine's 2011 freshmen cover in April and dropped his K.I.D.S. follow-up Best Day Ever, which in turn led to a national tour.
Mac is now putting the finishing touches on his independent debut album Blue Slide Park. "Blue Slide Park is a park in Pittsburgh we grew up at," Miller told MTV News of the album's title. "Being 2, going down slides, and then being 6, playing Little League and hanging out there, then being older coming back there to drink and smoke and party, running from the cops. And now going back there just to chill out and drink a beer."
Tune in to "RapFix Live" on Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET to see a recap of all of MTV Jams' 2011 Fab 5 inductees: Big Sean, Future, Meek Mill, Big K.R.I.T. and Mac Miller.