When a new, hyped-up rapper appears on the charts, I play a game in which I compare a rapper with others on the charts and judge whether they positively contribute to the hip hop. I call that game "What's! Their! Niche!!!"
Today's contestant is ... Mac Miller from Pittsburgh! Come on dooown!
Mac Miller recently released his debut studio album Blue Side Park. Like a few artists in this generation, he has employed social networks to promote himself and his videos. He also has a rich local scene to back him up. A few mixtapes showed his sincerity and motivation, I think he believes he's doing it for the art. How does his studio debut show that?
His latest single "Party on Fifth Ave" samples DJ Kool's "Let Me Clear My Throat." Other than the old-school sound, the production is a bit tame for a song that claims to be a party track.
The sample is just the song's first bid at nostalgia. Mac rhymes about LA Gear Light Ups, Beetlejuice and using words like "fly." Mac's lyricism sounds sloppy and desperate to impress listeners with knowledge of old-school themes.
The only thing "party" about this track is the title. Everything else was an afterthought.
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What Mac seems to bring to the table is nostalgia and party themes. The problem with the first part is that a glut of rappers already rap about cartoons and cool toys we used to have as kids: Murs, Jay Electronica, Asher Roth, Lupe Fiasco even Travie McCoy brings up boomboxes when its convenient.
Mac seems more interested in merely the idea of parties and old-school hip hop. The good news is he's young, so he still has time to learn how to deploy his ideas credibly.
Also white boy's gotta stop saying "fly." It reminds me of a certain Offpring song.