Mac Miller "Watching Movies With The Sound Off" Album Review
As one of the most successful artists that actually garnered buzz off of YouTube and has since gone to become one of the most lucrative independent musicians, Mac Miller has many open lanes to make whatever music he wants to these days. Ever since moving from Pittsburgh to Los Angeles, he seems to have absorbed some of the city's abstract qualities and inhabitants into the aesthetic of his new album Watching Movies With The Sound Off. Kidz 'R Evil staff weighs in on what is considered to be the dark horse of the June 18th hip hop album releases.
As an emcee, Mac Miller has always been seen in a pedestrian "he's good for a white guy" light. But with this album, Mac Miller, who in my opinion has always been a technically proficient emcee, has found the right angle to wow listeners and even convert the haters.
The hype of Mac Miller predates his recent reality series deal with MTV. He is at the point where he has an organically grown fanbase that will hold him down no matter what. However, he does have quite the large amount of naysayers that dismiss him as some corny white kid obsessed with hip hop that conveniently falls into the most opportune era of the ambiguous backpacking hipster. Since relocating to Los Angeles, he's made friends with its two biggest crews of the moment, Odd Future and Top Dawg Entertainment. He has also aligned himself with one of LA's underground heroes, the producer Flying Lotus. The collaborations between Miller (his producer alias Larry Fisherman included) and the aforementioned crews have swayed the naysayers to a degree; establishing him as a technically sound emcee that can hang with the likes of these artists. While the artwork of the album can be seen as vaguely ambiguous, it definitely fits Mac Miller's silliness with an effort to be artistic.
As an emcee, Mac Miller has always been seen in a pedestrian "he's good for a white guy" light. But with this album, Mac Miller, who in my opinion has always been a technically proficient emcee, has found the right angle to wow listeners and even convert the haters. Embracing his lackadaisical stoner aesthetic, his bravado in attempting some really intricate wordplay has increased to the point where he can hang with his extremely capable collaborators such as Action Bronson, Ab-Soul, ScHoolboy Q and even the enigmatic Jay Electronica who made one of the most random guest appearances ever in this album. While his own style has yet to really be discovered, he took a lot of risks attempting all kinds of flows and even a great deal of singing.
Utilizing a diverse cast of producers such as Pharrell, The Alchemist, Flying Lotus, Clams Casino, Earl Sweatshirt and Larry Fisherman himself, Miller made sure everyone catered to the druggy vibe present in the album and its lyrical content. This focus is magnified to the point where we can't even decipher who really produced what without looking at the album credits. There are some bumps in the road as far as the quality of the production where things sound a bit repetitive.
Watching Movies With The Sound Off feels like one long drug trip. The production, as stated above, almost makes the album feel like one long song as well.
Miller does attempt to talk about fallen friends and other aspects of his past, but there are moments where he attempts to be too abstract or just throws off the consistency of the subject entirely. Another fork in the road is his tendency to repeat themes of sex that cause too much repetition that could've been trimmed off the album.
Being able to hang with these collaborators is a statement in itself. There is a clear focus in attempting to be a better emcee and it is evident to the point where even if you don't like the music, you gotta respect the craft.