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Weekly updates

“Parents just don’t understand,” the Fresh Prince said in the ‘80s. Wonder what happened to that guy. Since its inception, hip-hop has been the voice of disenchanted youth, as their parents wondered what all the “noise” was. Over three decades later, and with the aid of social media, the hip-hop youth movement is stronger than ever, spearheaded by the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Wiz Khalifa and our subject here, Mac Miller. The 21-year-old Taylor Allderdice High School graduate has been carving his niche for the past few years as the thoughtful white stoner du jour and is looking to spread those vibes to Australia. We caught the Mac man to talk the white rapper stigma, inspiration and making bluegrass music.

What have you been up to lately? Have you been doing any shows?

I just got back from some shows in Austria. It was amazing – the crowds were great. Now I’m just in the studio back in Pittsburgh, trying to get settled and work on some new music.

It must be crazy to have people on the other side of the world know your lyrics?

Yeah it really hits you when you go somewhere like Austria and they know your tracks word-for-word. To see that impact is crazy.

How are you feeling about coming down here? Are you used to the travel by now?

Yeah, I’ve heard it’s a long flight, but everyone I know that’s been there is telling me how it’ll be worth it when I get there. It’s been similar with the other places I’ve been.

We spoke to Kendrick [Lamar] when he was down here and he sounded jetlagged but once he was on stage he got energy from the crowd…

If an artist like Kendrick can come there and get that response I can only hope to get something like that. I’m really looking forward to performing and reaching people out there.

There are people like yourself and Wiz [Khalifa] who are really reaching a young audience, why do you think you appeal to that audience so much?

I think the music speaks to them because no one wants someone telling them how to live their life or saying you have to do things a certain way. When I was a kid, hip-hop had that effect on me, it was escape and it showed me a different way of life.

Are you hoping your music will have the same effect on people as it did on you?

Yeah definitely. If I can reach people like that and share my experiences, that’s all I could ask for.

I guess you can’t really predict how the music will touch people when you record, especially when you’re starting out…

At first you’re doing it for yourself, it’s about what sounds good to you. It’s about expressing yourself. Then you get comfortable as an artist and you find yourself and people get familiar.

Do you think the door is more open for white rappers now? Is the whole white rapper thing a big deal anymore?

I don’t even really know. It seems like there’s a whole flood of white rappers right now but that could all be a coincidence or could be to do with timing. I think it’s getting to a point where it’s just people doing what they want to do without being labelled – whether they’re a white rapper, Asian rapper, whatever. It will get to a point where it doesn’t matter.

Do you think marketing plays a part in the success or failure of an artist, are the labels and marketing as important anymore or is it more about going out there and marketing yourself grassroots-style?

Well if you’re an artist who’s built on marketing and hype then most likely I won’t listen to you. You can be labelled but if it doesn’t speak to people then it won’t work. The social media and online has been really important. Fans are really smart too: they don’t want to hear something manufactured or something that has too much marketing behind it.

Recently you experimented with jazz on the You EP, are you looking to experiment more with genres?

I don’t want to limit myself as an artist and only do a certain sound. At the time I was feeling the jazz vibe – that’s a part of me. Actually, next I want to do a bluegrass album. It’ll be bluegrass music with an emphasis on the grass. It won’t be old-timey bluegrass, but I want to learn how to play the banjo and bring out the raw side. You’re part of this now so if it comes out and it fails then it’s your fault, it’s on you.

I guess we’ve got the exclusive, we’re involved now. Are you working on your next album as well, or just tracks in general?

Yeah you can be the A&R for the bluegrass album. I’m working on a couple of projects. There’s my second solo album and then there’s this project I’m working on with a really talented artist by the name of Vince Staples from Long Beach, we’re doing something together. I’m looking forward to it and seeing where things go.

Will you be releasing another mixtape before the second album?

Well I’ve got a bunch of leftover tracks from Blue Slide Park that I feel like I should release on a mixtape or something, but I’m almost thinking of just waiting till the album and just keep focusing on finishing that first.

Macadelic was probably one of your best projects so far, and it sort of came out of nowhere. Do you like to have surprises?

Thanks man, I’m really proud of that, Macadelic is one of the favourite things I’ve done too. But I like to leave the surprise, if I feel like releasing a mixtape at the time I will. It’s good as an artist to have that surprise.

Mac Miller will be playing four shows in Australia, starting on February 20. Tickets and info for the shows are available from Niche Productions.