Thursday, November 17, 2011

Mac Miller House !!! Mac Miller Home !!! Week Ending Nov. 13, 2011. Albums: From “Donald Trump” to #1

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Mac Miller: Pittsburgh Emcee Kicking Incredibly Dope Sh**

Emerging Pittsburgh Hip Hop artist and the newest signee to the house that homes Wiz Khalifa (Rostrum Records), 19-year old Mac Miller has been on a steady rise over the last few years; from doling out mixtapes whilst in high school – the first of which was released at the early age of 15 back when he was known as ‘Easy Mac’ (2007’s But My Mackin Ain’t Easy) – and garnering over 19 million views on his YouTube page in little under two years; to establishing himself as one of the premiere faces at the forefront of Pittsburgh’s fast-rising Hip Hop scene along with new label-mate Wiz Khalifa.

After recently graduating from high school last Spring, Mac Miller has seen his stock rise exponentially through the roof not only in his home town Pittsburgh and all over the internet, but also in the overall landscape of American Hip Hop music with the release of his major mixtape debut, the critically-acclaimed K.I.D.S (Kicking Incredibly Dope Sh*t) and his two-legged Nationwide ‘Incredibly Dope’ tour which sees the Rostrum Records-signee perform in over thirty five cities all across North America.

Add those to working with legendary producers Just Blaze and Ski Beatz, Philly legend Freeway, Three 6 Mafia’s Juicy J, Skyzoo and G.O.O.D Music’s Consequence as well as being co-signed by the likes of Talib Kweli, 9thWonder, Bun B and major Hip Hop editorials such as VIBE Magazine, XXL and Complex, I guess it’d be safe to say that Mac Miller is something of a big deal.

In the same vein however, it would be the easiest folly and a most common one at that to discredit this teenage Jewish White rapper as being gimmicky. Some critics would say that the kid’s lyrics are ridiculously shallow; what will all the “weed music” and what not. But if we’re a product of our environment and we can only rap about the things that we know – which at 19 will typically be some or all of the following; partying, girls, shopping, getting high, stoned and/or drunk, youthful exuberance, braggadocio and generally all the fun things in the life of a teenager or young adult (or stand the risk of being called “fake”) – why then does Mac Miller get stick for rapping and rapping exceedingly well about these things?

Like the famous ‘Telly’ speech from the 1995 cult classic ‘KIDS’ which serves as the intro to the K.I.D.S mixtape says, “when you’re young, not much matters – when you find something that you care about, that’s all you’ve got” and from listening to his latest offering K.I.D.S as well as the Highlife mixtape, it’s quite plain to see that the “something” for Mac Miller is MUSIC and he “can’t escape it”. Why should he? He does it brilliantly.

With legends such as Big L, Outkast, Lauryn Hill and The Beatles as his musical influences, as well as showing a very eclectic taste in music which stems from listening to anything from Bob Marley to Bob Dylan to Ella Fitzgeraldto Jack Johnson to G. Love & Special Sauce and his ability to play several live instruments from the bass guitar to the drums to the piano, the truth that Mac Miller is a very musically inclined young person is not that far-fetched. It’s certainly much more than just rapping over a beat for this kid and it gleams through in the music he’s making.

The latest mixtape from Mac Miller, K.I.D.S is a stellar project that kids and young people of his age demographic will relate to and will feel represents what they’re about (essentially fun, positivity and having a good time) more than most other music out there right now.

With its early ’90s Hip Hop sound evocative of the golden era of Hip Hop music, K.I.D.S also brings in an older generation and let’s them reminisce on being younger and return to a time when they were young and carefree.

Sonically, K.I.D.S is essentially Hip Hop while also exploring more left-field musical genres like synth-pop, indie-pop, and ’80s dance music to name a few, which all translates into a mature and expansive body of work from the 19-year-old.

With the two lead singles off of K.I.D.S, ‘Kool Aid & Frozen Pizza’ and ‘Don’t Mind If I Do’, he continues to show the amazingly smooth and diverse flow, creative and clever lyrics, clear vocals and impressive wordplay he showed on previous mixtapes such as the classic High Life andThe Jukebox: Prelude to Class Clown, while his production team (himself, Big Jerm and E. Dan) continue to provide the smooth, soulful and organic Hip Hop musical milieus (E. Dan also plays a variety of live instruments) that complement Mac Miller’s rap style down to a perfect tee.

On ‘Kool Aid & Frozen Pizza’ which samples Lord Finesse’s 1996 ‘Hip 2 The Game’, Mac Miller introduces himself brilliantly to his newly found larger audience with a really smooth and infectious flow to match this summery laid-back Hip Hop beat and is very reminiscent of that mid-’90s ‘feel-good’ music. ‘Don’t Mind If I Do’ sees Mac Miller switch up his flow a few notches as he goes over a sample of Owl City’s ‘Fireflies’ to create this catchy up-tempo indie Hip Hop song laced with lush drum patterns and beautiful synths that all come together beautifully.

Other stand out songs on the K.I.D.S mixtape include the Black Diamond-produced Nas-sampled boom bap rap song ‘Nikes On My Feet’, the B. Jay produced Dance-infused ‘The Spin’, the solemn ‘Poppy’ which goes a long way to show that as much as Mac Miller can be happy and celebratory, he also has his serious and reflective moments and the final song on the mixtape, ‘Face In The Crowd’ which just oozes triumph and victory out of every lyric and melody. A total WIN for Mac Miller.

As is customary for any new kid on the “Hip Hop” block, questions will always be asked about Mac Miller’s lyrical abilities; questions which I feel he’s risen gigantically to answer on both ‘Highlife’ and ‘K.I.D.S’ but if you were ever still in doubt about Mac Miller’s lyrical prowess, you only need to listen back to his recent freestyles on Statik Selektah’s ‘Showoff Radio’ and Tony Touch’s ‘Toca Tuesdays’ shows on popular Hip Hop radio station Shade45 Sirius/XM as well as the recently released song ‘Winner’ to understand what this kid can do on a microphone, I would be paying attention if I were you is all I’m saying.

On the recently released ‘Winner’ which features emerging R&B singer Young Scolla, Mac Miller shows especially why the buzz surrounding him is so heavy right now and really just gives you three potent verses of reasons why you shouldn’t sleep on him. Everything simply works on this smooth B. Jay produced Hip Hop cut, from Mac Miller’s stupidly lazy flow to Young Scolla’s vocals adding the necessary ingredients, this song comes out amazingly well.

Mac Miller ft. Young Scolla – “Winner”:

The morale of this story is this… Mac Miller is definitely here to stay, he is certainly no gimmick and this is your chance to get with it. Music has and always will be subjective and there will be those that don’t care for Mac Miller because let’s be honest, it’s the way of the world and his music is NOT for everyone but this is Mac Miller’s time right now and long may it continue! Elitist Hip Hop purists can take a chill pill and just let the good times roll.

The second leg of Mac Miller’s Incredibly Dope Tour is coming to an American city near you so go here for tour datesand tickets, while the forthcoming Best Day Ever mixtape is scheduled for an early March release so you should definitely keep your ears to the ground for it. In the mean time, I leave you with these words from Mac Miller himself, “Fun Is For Everyone”.

Week Ending Nov. 13, 2011. Albums: From “Donald Trump” to #1

Photo: Roger Kisby/Getty Images

Just five months ago, Mac Miller was best known for a novelty rap hit about, of all people, Donald Trump. This week, the 19-year old rapper has the #1 album on The Billboard 200. Blue Slide Park enters the chart higher than the hit-studded Now 40 and the latest Twilightsoundtrack, which boasts a big hit by Bruno Mars.

Blue Slide Park is the second debut album by a rap artist to open in the top spot in the past seven weeks (following J. Cole's Cole World: The Sideline Story). This reconfirms that rap fans are among the most active and plugged-in music fans. Digital sales accounted for the lion's share of the album's first week sales (109K out of 144K).

Miller's strong debut is a triumph of social networking. Miller has a combined 2.7 million followers on Twitter, Facebook and Myspace.

The album was preceded by the viral hits "Donald Trump," which has sold 441K copies, and "Knock Knock," which has sold 336K copies. Miller also released an EP, On And On And Beyond, and a series of seven mixtapes, including one with the Ill Spoken.

Blue Slide Park is the fourth album by a teenaged artist to reach #1 so far this year, which makes this the year with the most #1 albums by teenaged artists. Justin Bieber has had two #1 albums this year. Never Say Never—The Remixes hit #1 in February. Under The Mistletoehit #1 last week. Scotty McCreery's debut album Clear As Day hit #1 five weeks ago. Of these three artists, only Bieber fits the usual mold of a teen idol.

Michael Buble's Christmas rebounds from #8 to #2 in its third week. This is its highest ranking to date. Buble's album extends its lead over Justin Bieber's Under The Mistletoe as the best-selling holiday album so far this year. Buble's album has sold 353K copies in three weeks. Bieber's has sold 307K in two.

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1 soundtrack bows at #4. This is the highest ranking for a soundtrack to a theatrically-released movie since Daft Punk's Tron: Legacy hit #4 in January. This is the fourth album in the Twilight series to reach the top five. It follows Twilight(#1 in 2008), The Twilight Saga: New Moon (#1 in 2009) and The Twilight Saga: Eclipse(#2 in 2010).

In terms of generating top 10 soundtrack albums, Twilight is one of the most successful movie series in history. It is second only to the Star Wars franchise, which has spawned five top 10 soundtracks: Star Wars (#2 in 1977), The Empire Strikes Back (#4 in 1980), Episode I--The Phantom Menace (#3 in 1999), Episode II: Attack Of The Clones (#6 in 2002) and Episode III: Revenge Of The Sith (#6 in 2005).

The Batman franchise is in third place with three top 10 albums: Prince's Batman (#1 in 1989),Batman Forever (#5 in 1995) and Batman & Robin (#5 in 1997).

Bruno Mars' "It Will Rain," the key single from the album, will probably break into the top 10 on this week's Hot 100. It's the biggest hit from any of the Twilight soundtracks. It tops Paramore's"Decode" from Twilight, which peaked at #33.

Adele's 21, which holds at #5 for the second week, tops 100K in weekly sales for the 24th time. It's the first album to achieve this feat since Usher's Confessions topped 100K in weekly sales 33 times in 2004. Adele pulls ahead of Mariah Carey's The Emancipation Of Mimi, which topped 100K in weekly sales 23 times in 2005.

Susan Boyle's Someone To Watch Over Me drops from #4 to #7 in its second week. It fares better in the U.K., where it debuts at #1. It's Boyle's third consecutive #1 in her home country.

Coldplay's Mylo Xyloto, which dips from #7 to #8, this week tops Foo Fighters' Wasting Light as the best-selling rock album released in 2011. Mylo Xyloto has sold 622K copies.Wasting Light has sold 608K. One 2010 holdover, Mumford & Sons' Sigh No More, has sold slightly more copies in 2011 (1,282,000) than these two other albums combined.

Romeo Santos' solo debut Formula Vol. 1 debuts at #9. Santos is the former leader of the Latin group Aventura, which reached #5 on The Billboard 200 in 2009 with The Last. The first single from Santos' new album, "Promise," featuring Usher, is on the Hot 100. The two stars performed it on last week's Latin Grammy Awards. The album also features contributions from Lil Wayne,Pitbull and George Lopez.

Simon Cowell played a key role in the careers of two artists in this week's top 10. He's a judge onBritain's Got Talent, whose 2009 runner-up Susan Boyle remains in the top 10. And he created the pop/opera quartet Il Divo, which debuts in the top 10 with its new album, Wicked Game.

Taylor Swift's "If This Was A Movie" and "Ours" enter Hot Digital Songs at #3 and #5, respectively. Will either or both crack the top 10 on the Hot 100? You'll find out later today when we post Chart Watch: Songs.

Here's the low-down on this week's top 10 albums.

1. Mac Miller, Blue Slide Park, 144,000. This new entry sold 109K digital copies, which puts it at #1 on Top Digital Albums. Four songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Smile Back," which debuts at #27.

2. Michael Buble, Christmas, 123,000. The album rebounds from #8 to #2 in its third week. This is its highest ranking to date. Will it become Buble's third #1 album? Stay tuned.

3. Various Artists, Now 40, 119,000. This new entry is the 38th regular installment in this series to debut in the top five.

4. Various Artists, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1 soundtrack, 105,000. This new entry is the week's #1 soundtrack, displacing Footloose. Bruno Mars' "It Will Rain" jumps from #10 to #8 on Hot Digital Songs.

5. Adele, 21, 104,000. The former #1 album holds at #5 for the second week in its 38th week on the chart. Five songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Someone Like You," which drops from #3 to #6.

6. Justin Bieber, Under The Mistletoe, 97,000. The former #1 album drops to #6 in its second week. Two songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs. "Mistletoe" jumps from #68 to #62. "Drummer Boy" (featuring Busta Rhymes) drops from #62 to #200.

7. Susan Boyle, Someone To Watch Over Me, 72,000. The album drops from #4 to #7 in its second week. It has sold 203K copies in its first two weeks.

8. Coldplay, Mylo Xyloto, 70,000. The former #1 album dips from #7 to #8 in its third week. Three songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Paradise," which jumps from #24 to #21.

9. Romeo Santos, Formula Vol. 1, 62,000. This new entry is Santos' second top 10 album, counting an album he recorded with his former group, Aventura. "Promise" (featuring Usher) jumps from #193 to #125 on Hot Digital Songs.

10. Il Divo, Wicked Game, 61,000. This new entry is the pop/classical quartet's fifth top 10 album. Il Divo's only album to fall short of the top 10 was its 2005 Christmas album, which peaked at #14.

Miranda Lambert's Four The Record drops from #3 to #11. It nonetheless holds at #1 on Top Country Albums for the second week. Four other albums drop out of the top 10. Wale's Ambitiondrops from #2 to #15, Florence + the Machine's Ceremonials drops from #6 to #12, Tyrese'sOpen Invitation drops from #9 to #18, and Kelly Clarkson's Stronger drops from #10 to #19.

Disturbed's The Lost Children, a compilation of B sides, bows at #13. The band's last four studio albums all reached #1…Tech N9ne's Welcome To Strangeland bows at #21. This snaps a string of five straight top 20 albums.

Noel Gallagher's solo debut, High Flying Birds, debuts at #28. This is about on par with the debut in March of the first album by Gallagher's former Oasis colleagues Liam Gallagher, Gem Archer and Andy Bell. Those musicians, under the band name Beady Eye, debuted at #31 withDifferent Gear, Still Speeding. (That album collapsed after its so-so debut and has sold just 29K copies to date.) Oasis reached its chart peak in August 1997 when Be Here Now debuted at #2.

Pink Floyd's 1975 chart-topper, Wish You Were Here, re-enters the chart at #33. It's #1 on Top Catalog Albums, dethroning Adele's 19. This is the first time that Wish You Were Here has topped the catalog chart. All three of Pink Floyd's #1 albums that were released in the 1970s have topped this chart. The Dark Side Of The Moon has spent 22 weeks at #1 on the catalog chart, most recently just six weeks ago. The Wall spent one week on top in 1994. Both of these other albums are climbing The Billboard 200 this week. Dark Side jumps from #111 to #95. The Walljumps from #186 to #164.

Keith Sweat's In The Morning bows at #38. The R&B star first cracked the top 40 in February 1988 with his debut album, Make It Last Forever.

Immortals was #1 at the box-office over the weekend. The soundtrack, featuring Trevor Morris'score, didn't sell enough copies to crack The Billboard 200.

Rush's Time Machine 2011 enters Top Music Videos at #1, with first-week sales of 22K. That's the highest weekly sales tally for a music video so far this year. This is Rush's fifth #1 on Top Music Videos. It follows Rush In Rio (one week on top in 2003), Replay X 3 (one week in 2006),Snakes And Arrows (one week in 2006) and Beyond The Lighted Stage (10 weeks in 2010).

Coming Attractions: Drake's Take Care is expected to debut at #1 next week, with first-week sales in the 700K range. Two other albums are eyeing top 10 debuts: Glee: The Music: The Christmas Album, Volume 2 and Andrea Bocelli's Concerto One Night In Central Park. Also due: Childish Gambino's Camp, Webbie's Savage Life 3, Alvin and the Chipmunk'sChipwrecked, Gym Class Heroes' The Papercut Chronicles II, Frank Sinatra's Best Of The Best, Ozzy Osbourne's God Bless and The Who's Quadrophenia.

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