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Saturday, August 24, 2019

Music

Debut album a walk in the ‘Park’


Rostrum Records front man and Pittsburgh emcee Malcolm “Mac Miller” McCormick has been selling out shows and pumping out mixtapes that date back to 2009. Once again, he’s turning heads with his debut album “Blue Slide Park” — an album that embodies his persona as a young teen enslaved to the party.

Sporting a live free, die hard mentality, he strays far from adult responsibilities.

The album opens up with a small interlude called “English Lane,” named after the street upon which Blue Slide Park is located. The track starts the album off with a mellow introduction before hopping off to the “Blue Slide Park” single.

Unfortunately, the track is a disappointing start to the rest of the album, as it features several typical rhymes that bring nothing new to the table. Of course, in typical hip-hop fashion, he’s not ashamed to brag about his lifestyle through lyrics that name-drop expensive cars.

“Party on Fifth Ave” is a party anthem that cleverly samples DJ Kool’s “Let Me Clear My Throat”. In hindsight, this probably should have been the starting track of the album. The song begs to be played in clubs and at college dorm parties everywhere. “PA Nights” follows suit with a smooth, mellow beat. In this song, the Pittsburgh native vows to remain untouched by fame, no matter how far he strays from his beginnings.

“Frick Pick Market” is a really grimy track. McCormick once again shows off his pen game and wittingly displays his knowledge of old school hip-hop genre in referencing Uncle Luke of 2 Live Crew in the opening lyrics. This tone is carried into “Smile Back,” which reads mostly as a filler track. The heavy beats keep the adrenaline pumping before taking everything down several notches in the following tracks.

Piano melodies provide the core for “Of the Soul,” a song in which the 19-year-old tables his larger-than-life persona and displays quite a bit of heartfelt emotion and maturity in lyricism. Produced by Ritz Reynolds, “Hole in the Pocket” is an elegant break in the album that slows everything down before the last four high-intensity tracks. Mac Miller’s ability to tell narratives through lyrics is brilliantly executed in “Diamonds and Gold” and “Missed Calls”, which showcases the young emcee’s harmonizing vocals in the telling of a relationship on the rocks.

Mac Miller possesses a typical rock star state of mind — the kind that gravitates toward drugs, sex and rock ‘n’ roll. His rhymes earn him merit in being one of the most easily accessible and versatile rappers in the game today. “Blue Slide Park” is a glimpse at the world through a carefree young artist’s eyes — an element to which listeners find it easy to relate to.

Indeed, McCormick has come a long way from “K.I.D.S.,” “The High Life” and “Best Day Ever”. “Blue Slide Park” is just another step closer to the top.

Mac Miller will be performing at Warehouse Live on Thursday. Tickets are $20.

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