My heart raced as I paced back and forth in front of the stage door, which was being guarded by what looked to be an Ogre. I kept telling myself that I wasn’t nervous. In no way, shape or form was I going to dick-up tonight. It couldn’t happen. But my heart wasn’t racing and I wasn’t wearing the rubber out on my shoes because I thought I had compiled a bad list of interview questions. Instead, I was minutes from going into Cardiac Arrest because the Ogre at the door had been told me watch me, as his cohort went to look for whoever it was that I was supposed to be meeting.
“I have their names,” I told him. But he didn’t seem to care.
After what seemed an eternity spent waiting, the Ogre, who actually turned out to be a very nice man named Kevin, brought me news.
“Stand on the stage and proclaim thy news to me, sire!” I joked. But… no one laughed.
Kevin, it seems, had found the person that I was looking for, but they were on the phone. He could be back shortly—shortly? I thought. I didn’t have that kind of time.
Soon, my worries were gone and my heart was back to its normal rate: pack-a-day smoker. I was being taken outside to the buses.
I was in. There was no going back now.
MOST DOPE GENERAL
Mac Miller, the man the New York Jet’s Darrelle Revis says is the “future of music,” isn’t just a hometown, wannabe hip-hop artist anymore.
Since beginning his career in 2007, Miller’s road to success has been short, but well-driven. With music, lyrics and a stage presence that appeals to the masses, the Pennsylvania-native performed for a sold-out Lifestyles Community Pavilion crowd in Columbus last Thursday.
From forty year-olds in their mid-life crisis, to pre-teen girls who find Miller to be a heartthrob, to some Bro-ed out homies sporting “Mac Miller- Thumbs Up!” tees, the audience consisted of a good mix of people who met Miller’s demands to “Get up!” This is one 19 year-old who knows that he’s doing.
FULL CONTACT RAP, NO RUGBY
The tour bus door opened, and I was greeted by Quentin Cuff, Miller’s Blue Slide Park tour manager. Cuff welcomed me onto the bus and suddenly I was at ease. The place I currently found my self, a place where not many men have gone before, reminded me of home. The look, the smell, and the clothes strewn about after a hard day’s work were as reminiscent of everything you would find in a well-lived home. It had character.
I found my way to Mac, introduced myself and made small-talk. The casual conversations starters; the “what-did-you-do-all-day?’s” and “how-about-them-Yankees.” The mood was light and comfortable, as was I.
After finding out that for some fun before the show, Miller went to the court to shoot some hoops, did a little sound check, and tested out what Columbus had to offer food wise, the interview began:
CT: “Let’s start off with Twitter. I’m a real big fan of yours on Twitter. I think it’s real cool that you continually retweet your followers and make an honest effort to stay in touch with everyone. You haven’t tweeted in a while today, though, what’s with that?”
MM: “Yeah… there are some days that I just don’t have anything to say. I don’t like to just keep tweeting what I’m doing. Like, “Yo, I just sound checked” or “Yo, just played some basketball. I like to only tweet when I have something important to say.”
CT: “Do you think it’s important for artists’ social media accounts to actually be maintained by them—in the sense that you’re the one that’s tweeting the stuff and retweeting other people instead of someone speaking for you?”
MM: “Oh yeah. Certain people don’t have to do that. But for me, ya know, that’s been part of my grind and my come-up. Having things real accessible to fans and letting them see who I really am so that there’s no difference between the person in the music and the person in real life. It’s all just me.”
CT: “Does Mac Miller have any vices? Is there anything that sets you off? Or do you smoke cigarettes? Anything like that?”
MM: “Yeah, I do smoke which sucks. But I don’t really let things piss me off. I get frustrated, no doubt. But if I am then, I try to just chill out. Not get worked up over it. Because at the end of the day, man, I’m living a pretty blessed life. There isn’t much to be unhappy about.”
CT: “What about your fine appreciation for Hennessy—where’d you pick that up?”
MM: “ Shit, man. Ha ha. It was actually back in high school. We would just drink some Henne and chill, ya know. Probably listening to too much Tupac. “
CT: “What was high school like for you? I mean, you’re still pretty young for the game, when did you decide that you had a career and talent that you could go somewhere with?”
MM: “I think that one of the main reasons I am successful is because from the age of 15 I have been working. Every day. Ya know, just promoting myself and doing things that I knew could help me push myself forward. Whether it was putting out YouTube videos, or passing our mix-tapes or doing whatever, from the age of 15 I have been treating it like a career.”
CT: “What’s the future look like for you? More albums? Videos?”
MM: “More albums. We got another video coming out soon. A lot of touring. I really just like to take it day by day. I’ve thought about another album, but I’m not letting it take over my thoughts because I want to experience a little more life and go through this album release [Blue Slide Park Album, November 8, 2011] and enjoy life.”
CT: “You have a lot of artwork done on your body. Do you have a favorite piece?”
MM: “Probably the Shel Silverstein joint right here on my wrist. And I got it because that’s what I remember reading as a kid. It’s the first reading memory I have and it’s real good stuff.
CT: “Who did you look up to musically as a kid? Who were your biggest influences?”
MM: “Oasis, Bob Marley, Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones. Even stuff like OutKast, Biggie, Tupac. And actually really like jazz shit too. I think jazz music is one of the illest forms out there. Jazz and Hip-Hop.
CT: “You seem to have a pretty good relationship with your mom, right? Was there ever a time when she…not so much doubted your career choice, but questioned if this is what you should be doing forever?”
MM: “Oh yeah. When I first started taking this seriously and my grades started slippin’ when I was like 15, she said “You can do whatever you want to do, but you gotta do the school thing too. And was real heavy on that, but I just wasn’t with it. But I did graduate, made her happy.”
CT: “If you weren’t on some Donald Trump shit right now, what would you be doing?”
MM: “Ha ha. Uh….[pause] if it was nothing to do with music?”
MM: “I would be a teacher. Or a cook. Something tasty.”
CT: “And lastly, my good sir, have you ever heard of Capital University? Do you know about the efforts to try to get you to come perform on our campus?”
MM: “Forreal? That’s super tight. I didn’t know that. But that’s super tight.”
PUTTIN’ ON THE RITZ
Miller, who didn’t stay in one place all night, entertained fans in all areas of the crowd. From the people smashed against the puke-covered grate in the front, to the over-flow fans who had to find seats and standing spots in the balcony, they all got to see Miller up-close and personal.
“I see all you out there tonight,” Miller said to his sweat-covered, thumbs-upping fans, “This show is dedicated to my grandpa. Let’s take a moment for him. But I see all of you out there tonight. Even y’all up there,” he said pointing to the people overlooking the stage.
As I wondered around the arena, I was impressed to see that everyone, no matter where I went, was taken in by Miller’s performance. From the moment the stage curtain opened and he sang the first lyrics of “Best Day Ever”, until the moment he left the stage after his final encore of the night, Miller held the entire sold-out crowd’s attention.
The show made good use of lighting effects, as well as vocal effects and sound effects. The entire show was resembled a well thought out theatrical production, where the audience was taking on a journey to a dreamlike state. Bright reds and purples faded into mellow and cool blues. It wasn’t just some 19-year-old-rapper prancing around the stage like he’s the shit and begging for attention. Taking time out of the show to talk to his audience about his life and where he comes from as an artist, Miller need not beg for anything. He had the audience’s attention at “What’s good, Columbus?”
For a few moments, Miller spoke to the audience about his autonomy as an artist and his plans to stay independent.
“Y’all won’t hear this shit on the radio,” he said. “Because I don’t do this so that it can be played on the radio and a couple bucks can be made off of it. I do it for you.”
ALL AROUND THE WORLD
Mac Miller’s Blue Slide Park tour continues. He will be at Bogart’s in Cincinnati on Friday, Oct. 14. The following day he will be performing at OMNI in Toledo. Tickets for both shows are available online.
As for the rest of the world?
Performing on tour into early December, Miller can be found in New Jersey, Massachusetts and New York, in addition to Ohio and his home state of Pennsylvania.