Mac Miller first made his name as a teenage prodigy in the late 2000s, and he had no problem exceeding the initial hype before finally blossoming into one of the most exciting talents of his generation.
Anyone who fell in love with rap in the mid-’00s, like Mac, has a strong appreciation for Kanye West. His debut album, The College Dropout, arrived in 2004 and immediately changed the landscape of hip hop. The next generation was endlessly inspired by Ye, and Mac Miller was no different.
The rise of West intertwined with the raper when Miller started experimenting with music and made the deathly jump from fan to artist. He shared his first mixtape, But My Mackin’ Ain’t Easy as Easy Mac, in 2007, when he was aged just fifteen. Staggeringly, at this point, Miller had only been rapping for 12 months, and just two years later, his first two mixtapes arrived as Mac Miller.
His release, The Jukebox: Prelude to Class Clown and The High Life, led to him receiving widespread recognition, with his name finally starting to get clout. Throughout his devastatingly short career, Miller released four full-length studio albums during his life and the posthumous Circles.
One thing that remained constant throughout his career; the influence of those early Kanye records on his output. From those first mixtapes until the end, you could feel the essence of Ye in his work, and he even once named his favourite album by his hero.
Speaking to Complex in 2012, Miller named West’s third album, Graduation, as his favourite record by the artist. Explaining why, he said, “Kanye West man, he’s fucking Yeezus dude. It’s a great album. I remember the impact of it. The one thing I love about Kanye is he’s one of the people I can remember listening to from the beginning.
“Maybe not as like his own mixtape shit because I was young and not in the mixtape game, but I’ve listened to every Kanye album as its been released and that’s why I like Kanye a lot. Like when The Fugees’ The Score came out, how old was I? Like two? So this is like tight because every album I was there, like next door to him.”
Over this century, perhaps, there’s no more influential artist than Kanye. His influence transcends genre; although primarily it’s hip-hop, he has evolved. The next generation of rappers like Mac Miller were raised on Ye and meticulously studied albums like Graduation as they mastered the art form before becoming stars themselves.