Mac Miller was a creative enigma, one who approached hip-hop in a way that made him stand out from the crowd and become a teenage rap prodigy. While many artists to emerge at a young age often end up as a flash in the pan, Miller proved himself to be one of the finest wordsmiths of his generation.
His first hip-hop moniker was Easy Mac, and under this name, he released his debut mixtape But My Mackin’ Ain’t Easy in 2007; he was just fifteen and had only been rapping for twelve months. A couple of years later, he settled on the name Mac Miller and released his first two mixtapes, The Jukebox: Prelude to Class Clown and The High Life. Both releases saw him receive widespread recognition and truly kickstart his career.
Throughout his all-too-short-career, Miller released four-full length studio albums during his life and the posthumous Circles, which was greeted with glee by his mourning fans in 2020. Even though his career was cut painfully short, Miller created a canon of songs that will live long in the memories of his fans and will no doubt be passed on to countless generations.
Before his death in 2018, Miller appeared on Go 95.3, which allowed him free reign to play five tracks. The station refreshingly didn’t put any barriers in place and let Mac play whatever he wanted, but he only played one track which wasn’t one of his own. In fairness, his fans were tuned in to listen to him, so he gave them what they wanted, and it provides a fascinating insight into which of his own songs mattered the most to him.
Let’s start with the wildcard, Bell Biv DeVoe’s ‘Poison’, showing off his ’90s old-school hip-hop credentials. Although he was a modern artist, Miller always gave a nod of appreciation to his predecessors in the genre. The late rapper integrated soul and jazz ingredients into his work, especially on the 2018 effort Swimming.
Miller shared two collaborations in his picks. First off is the GO:OD AM track ‘Weekend’, which saw him enlist a favour from Miguel. The track gave both men one of their biggest hits and helped bring the artists closer together. Miguel co-headlined the memorial concert for Miller, which was held shortly after his death. The memorial show took place at Los Angeles’ Greek Theater on the night that Miller should have been bringing his tour show to the legendary venue.
After the event, Miguel spoke to Rolling Stone about his devastation. “He had just put this incredible album out,” the singer noted. “He was ready to go on tour with one of his really close friends. There was a lot in the air. He was looking forward to something new.”
‘Dang!’ is another collaboration that made it on to Miller’s selection of records, which saw him link up with the imitable Anderson .Paak in 2016. Paak also appeared at the memorial concert at The Greek and agreed to perform ‘Dang!’ alongside Mac at the show before his shock passing. Instead, a lonely Paak ran through the track by himself, accompanied by just a drum machine and Miller’s part blasting through the PA.
“I’ve been blessed enough that my closest friends, they’re still here,” he told the publication about his friend. “I know if you’re in this industry a while, or you just live life long enough, you’ll see people come and go. But this one was really heavy for me. That was my friend.”
See the rapper’s selections in full below, and listen to them on a handy Spotify playlist.
Mac Miller’s favourite songs
- Mac Miller – ‘Diablo’
- Bell Biv DeVoe – ‘Poison’
- Mac Miller – ‘Weekend’ ft Miguel
- Mac Miller – ‘Dang’ ft Anderson Paak
- Mac Miller – ‘Objects In The Mirror’