There is much to consider when discussing the curious case of Mac Miller. Having built a buzz all through mixtapes and his forever growing internet fan base, he’s certainly one of the rising names in Hip Hop. Which is why his independent debut, Blue Slide Park is one of relevance. Despite it being a much anticipated album, Miller doesn’t necessarily excel at any one thing. He’s not the most technical lyricist, nor is he expected to make you re-evaluate your life with mind altering content. However, as his previous mixtapes have shown he is quite consistent at what he does, can flow with the best of them and brings a passion which many artists seem to lack these days. He’s going to get the “just another white rapper” tag by default, and while many will compare him to yet another more advanced, acclaimed rapper we’ll just call Shady, doing so wouldn’t be fair. Mac Miller has built his own distinct identity, which he puts on display throughout this album.
At first listen it’s easy to dismiss this as an album filled with nothing but “frat” rap. A bunch of songs catered to a mainstream audience with no real substance. Of course those that don’t skim through music will see it is much more than that. In fact songs such as the title track, “Blue Slide Park”, are exactly what Mac Miller has been delivering all along. He doesn’t switch up his formula for success, and there’s nothing wrong with that. “Smile Back” and “Frick Park Market” hold up surprisingly well as singles, as both have Mac rhyming over bass heavy tracks that should be played at high volumes at all times. “Hash Tag” Mac is someone who enjoys having fun, and welcomes all to join in. “Party on 5th Ave” will catch listeners ears immediately, as it samples “900 Number” by 45 King. You may not recognize the name of the song but once the beat drops you will undoubtedly recognize it as one of the more popular samples of the 80’s party scene.
Mac Miller may not be the most lyrical up and comer in the game today, but he more than makes up for it in his delivery. In an age where some would argue it’s not what you say it’s how you say it, his flow is Grade A. It’s his ability to modify his flow on any given beat that makes otherwise weak efforts such as “PA Nights” and “Of The Soul” worth sitting through. The Pittsburgh native brings plenty of energy and his own brand of charisma to a track, but his lack of content becomes noticeable and quick. For every standout song like “Missed Calls”, there’s a weaker effort in “Loitering” which brings him right back to square one. Then there’s the horrendous rock inspired experiment, “Up All Night,” where Mac sounds completely out of his element. It’s safe to say sticking with Hip Hop is definitely his expertise.
It should be noted that there are no guest appearances on this album. In fact, aside from I.D. Labs handling a majority of the production, Miller really plays this album close to the chest. He even takes a moment to big up his circle on the crew love anthem, “My Team”, and does it for dolo. Not bad when most rappers are always finding ways to sneak their fellow friends onto a track.
In the end this album doesn’t live up to the hype that’s being laid out for Mac, and it leaves plenty of room for growth. However if it’s one thing that can be taken from this debut, it’s that he genuinely comes off as an artist who loves his craft. He treats his dream job as just that, a dream job. He doesn’t stray outside his lane, and his fans will definitely appreciate this body of work. While it doesn’t elevate him to the elite class of hip hop that some of his peers have graduated to, it’s a solid debut regardless. It’s the type of music that he has been putting out since he started gaining attention from the masses. Blue Slide Park is an intriguing experience that will have you rushing back the moment you think you’re ready to leave. What more could you ask for?