Mac Miller Shows His Newfound Maturity on ‘GO:OD A.M.’
With an extensive discography that rivals some of the more seasoned veterans in the game, it’s hard to believe that Mac Miller is only 23 years old. The Pittsburgh native has continuously released project after project for almost as long as one can remember, all while touring across the country like a madman, activities that can take a toll on a person both physically and mentally. And with the release of his third studio album, GO:OD AM, Mac shows a maturity beyond his years, all while tackling the highs and lows that come with the life of fame and fortune in the music industry.
GO:OD AM kicks off in fitting fashion with the Tyler, The Creator-produced “Doors,” a “good morning” track of sorts in which Mac croons that he’s “been through all the highs” and “seen all the lows” over dreamy production that features airy synths and glittering keys. This song sets the tone for the rest of the album, a project that serves as a sort of point of reflection for the 23-year-old, in which he speaks on the hurdles he’s had to overcome (and hurdles he’s stumbled over) to get to where he is now.
Mac’s well-documented battle with substance abuse and depression is referenced throughout the album; whether he’s “drinking whiskey out the bottle ’til [he] black[s] out” on the Juicy-J-inspired “Break The Law," or he’s “stoned all week,” on “100 Grandkids.” But it's on the second track of the album that Mac has a moment of clarity where he realizes that he doesn’t want to join the infamous “27 Club,” which houses deceased musical legends including the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse (and, for the hip-hop set, Fat Pat, Freaky Tah and Jean-Michel Basquiat). This blunt honesty points to a maturation of sorts for the rapper, something that hasn’t been seen quite as clearly on his previous projects.
The album has its fun moments as well. On “Cut The Check,” which features one of Chief Keef’s best feature verses in recent memory, Mac Miller puffs his chest out, flowing effortlessly on a menacing flurry of hi-hats and booming kicks with bars like: “I'ma get it ’til there ain’t shit left to get/No stress running suicides don’t even break a sweat/I’m a threat, code red when your line get pressed/You getting fucked by your contract, what the fine print says.” And on “When In Rome,” Mac's rhymes over an epic trap beat makes you wish that he channeled his inner “Trap Wiz” and released an entire trap project, like fellow Pittsburgh native Wiz Khalifa did last year on 28 Grams.
The production on the album leans more towards the jazzy/soulful production that Mac has favored over the course of his career and features producers such as the previously-aforementioned Tyler, Sha Money XL, ID Labs, Sounwave and Frank Dukes, who produced the nearly 8-minute standout track “Perfect Circle/God Speed.” But it's also clearer than his previous effort, Watching Movies With The Sound Off, less muddied by lean nightmares and screwed up slow downs.
The album contains a total of five features; Ab-Soul on “Two Matches,” Lil B, who delivers more of a sermon as opposed to an actual verse on “Time Flies,” Miguel on the end of week anthem “Weekend,” Chief Keef on the aforementioned “Cut The Check” and Little Dragon on the album finale “The Festival.” The features all serve their purpose, and all enhance the respective tracks in their own unique ways.
Despite the fact that the album contains a lot of what has made Mac Miller a fan favorite—stories of drugs, groupies and the debauchery that ensues—this project represents somewhat of a new Mac Miller, one that has become more self-aware of both his own status and his surroundings. Whether he’s speaking about love on “ROS,” talking about making a promise to his mother to give her grandchildren on “100 Grandkids,” or realizing that he wishes that he knew back then what he knows now on “Jump,” it’s clear to see that Mac Miller has grown, not only as an artist, but as a person. And what results is a great all-around album. —Marvin Jules