In the last year, Mac Miller’s popularity has been rapidly growing. It’s a phenomenon he decided to document with his Road 2 A Million Fans series. For every 100,000 Twitter followers that he hit, the 2011 XXL Freshman rewarded his fans with a new song. The culmination of the journey came last week, when Mac hit that million mark and, instead of dropping a new track, liberated a full mixtape for his supporters, unabashedly titled I Love Life, Thank You.
Seven of the project’s 13 tracks were previously released as part of the series, but the Pittsburgh native did offer six new joints on the release. Whether or not it was his initial intention to drop a tape at the end of this process, it’s presented as if it were, as the project doesn’t feel as disjointed as a scattered collection of leaks could. Part of this stems from Big Jerm and E. Dan handling the majority of the production, as usual (though at six of 13, a little less than normal).
Though he’s gained a legion of fans at suburban high schools and in college, Mac again proves that he respects rap’s roots (“Boom Bap Rap”), and joins up with vets like Bun B, Talib Kweli and 9th Wonder. The Bun collaboration, “All That,” is a subtle dismissal of haters and any frat-rap tag, where Mac spits, “They just want the women and the cars/Gettin’ high so they can chill with some stars/But it’s deeper than all that.”
The Rostrum Records rapper still has the bright jams about youthful exuberance and getting high, money and girls, though, with cuts like “Just A Kid” and “Willie Dynamite” (“Make a million in a week/Takin’ off her clothes before I begin to speak,” he raps on the latter).
An unexpected release, I Love Life, Thank You is a stellar display of Mac Miller’s range and appeal. With his upcoming debut album Blue Slide Park due out November 8, the 19-year-old is sure to shake things up. —Adam Fleischer