Change has been an important element in Mac Miller's evolution as an emcee. His career has faced a couple of changes since the release of his last album, 2011's Blue Slide Park. A location change took the Pittsburgh emcee to California and a change in his philosophy has allowed him to work with artists and musical styles he may not have experimented with before. Recently, Mac Miller spoke with HipHopDX to discuss how these changes have been important for his next album, which he says is nearly done.
When Mac Miller moved from Pittsburgh to Los Angeles, a few friends came through his new place to visit. Those friends were Top Dawg Entertainment emcees Ab-Soul and ScHoolboy Q. The Mac Miller and TDE connection grew from there, allowing the emcees to become closer comrades who collaborated and toured together.
"This is how I look at it," Miller explained. "I'm out in L.A. right? I'm used to being from Pittsburgh and no one's there. I mean, there are people there. There's people in Pittsburgh that are doing their thing but in the grand scheme of things, Lil Wayne's not just chillin' in the 'Burgh, you know what I'm saying? So, to be out here, the people I work with are the people that will come to the crib and just smoke and listen to what I'm doing. They won't even be like, 'Yo, let's do a record.' You know what I'm sayin'? Q will come over and just listen. He'll be like, 'Yo, play that shit you did last night,' and we'll just kick it. We won't even work. That's how it works. Then, we [eventually] make music."
That music has translated to potential records for Miller's next album, according to him.
"TDE will be a big part of that," Mac shared. "ScHoolboy Q is on that. We have, probably, like three records that may go on there. Ab-Soul is on there, of course," he explained.
When asked how their friendship became so tight, Miller thought about it for a moment.
"Man, that's a good question, man. I've been fans of them and all their projects that came out. Then, when we moved out here [Los Angeles], they just kind of came to the crib. [Ab-Soul] came to the crib and enjoyed himself and then [ScHoolboy] Q came through the crib so we just built a friendship. And we were just on tour with them so we were able to hang out every day."
Of course, the location change wasn't the only change Mac discussed. He also explained how his recent collaborations with Cam'ron, heard on this year's Macadelic, also marked an important change in his philosophy behind releasing music.
"Yeah, man. To be real, the night I worked with [Cam'ron] changed my life forever," he shared. "The first record we made was 'Ignorant.' The second record that came out was the first one we made. I remember the beat was on, right? Cam was sitting there and he was like, 'This shit is hard!' I was like, 'I don't know, man. I don't know if people want that from me.' And he was like, 'Fuck that. Fuck that shit! If you want to rap on this beat, rap on this beat.' I was like, 'Alright,' and I made the record. That shit helped me learn to say, 'Fuck everyone.' It let me know I can do whatever I want to do. Cam being on that is a blessing, dude. He's probably gonna go down - when it's all said and done - as the coolest dude to ever do it."
That influence has allowed Mac to experiment with music more of late, according to the Pittsburgh emcee.
"I think that influenced me," he added. "It really let me go and it helped me make the music I want to make and work with artists I want to work with. It helped me go to different places and experiment and just have fun with music again. It let me forget about [questions like], 'What if it sells?' Or thinking about, 'This album needs to have this song and that song.' It helped me be like, 'Man, fuck that.' You have to be happy with who you are and you've gotta do what is fun for you."