GO:OD AM by Mac Miller
Genre: Abstract Hip Hop
Favorite Tracks: “Doors”
What exactly is it that makes Mac Miller someone people even feel the need to acknowledge, let alone celebrate? It’s not necessarily that he’s awful, there’s just absolutely nothing interesting about him. He falls into the direct center of a specific Venn diagram of mediocrity, wherein he vaguely refers to selling and doing drugs without ever coming across as convincingly ignorant and debaucherous, simultaneously never being clever or original enough to make up for it. Plenty of good hip hop artists can thrive by being one or the other: Chief Keef is sloppy and ignorant, but in a charismatic way where you want to join in his debauchery. J. Cole may not be able to really tear a track up, but his delivery is confident with enough original lines that he’s still worth listening to. Mac Miller can’t fit well into either end of the spectrum, and he’s nowhere near smart enough to mesh with independent rap. He is the definition of basketball bro rap, hip hop you can put on while you shoot hoops, lift weights, and then smoke weed to afterwards. Very rarely does he turn a phrase or deliver a rhyme with any weight to it, but his flow is even and slow enough that you can learn all the words and feel like a baller when you rap the whole track along with him.
Unfortunately for the “Donald Trump” lovers out there, GO:OD AM tries to deliver a deeper and more vulnerable Mac Miller that ends up playing off as little more than a poor knockoff of NOTHING WAS THE SAME. While I’m not a personal fan of Drake’s pained pining after his litany of bitches, he is the undisputed king of doing precisely that. Mac Miller tries to mimic Drake’s sincere singing style on tracks like “ROS”, and it comes off as pathetic and hollow. Remember the scene in DON JON where he finds the “real girlfriend” porn and lusts after it intensely? That’s how this track, and so many others, play off: a guy lusting after a fantasy of intimacy he’ll never experience firsthand. For all we know, Mac Miller may have been truly, deeply in love before, but with nauseating lines such as “my heart skipped a beat like a scratched CD/your skin smells like butterscotch and your lips taste like kiwi”, it’s hard to believe. This track, and all the similar “romantic” verses like it on this album, come off like a frat bro who’s convinced he’s in love because his girlfriend begrudgingly let him do it in the butt.
One positive side effect of Mac Miller trying to cop NOTHING WAS THE SAME is that his production is pretty consistently on point. Not fantastic, not enough to make up for his hum-drum lyrics, but definitely listenable. The Tyler, the Creator produced opener “Doors” is particularly nice, and if nothing else reminds you what a solid producer Tyler is when he’s not making vaguely obscene ballads about underage sex. The melancholic brass-and-piano laid-back beats on tracks like “100 Grandkids” would be deeply enjoyable if Miller could spit anything close to fire over it. Despite this being a brag track, Mac doesn’t sound like he even believes himself when he claims he can “sell water to a speedboat”. These beats are pleasant, but with nothing to compliment them, they become flaccid.
What’s offensive about GO:OD AM is that it’s going to be mildly successful. There will be neck-tatted Orange County assholes who fall in love with their white trash girlfriends while listening to “ROS”, it’ll play at their wedding reception, and then the bride’s uncle will pipe the groom’s mom in the bathroom and the song will be tainted forever. GO:OD AM is irritating not so much in that it exists as much that it’s going to be culturally relevant; mediocrity is fine when it doesn’t get any more attention than it deserves. Hopefully, considering the sea of such fantastic hip hop releases this year, GO:OD AM will fade into the background where it belongs.
Verdict: Do Not Recommend