Ten MOST DOPE Mac Miller Songs: A Birthday Tribute To Mac Miller

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The untimely passing of Mac Miller still feels like it isn’t real. One of my favorite rappers, Miller’s skills as a rapper paled in comparison to who he was a person.  Probably the most genuine person in the industry, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who disliked Mac Miller.  His energy was felt by all who met him and it has truly left a void in the world of hip hop.

In honoring and remembering Mac Miller, I teamed up with my big bro Brandon “Stik” Braxton to give you all a list of Mac’s Top 10 songs. 

 

Stik’s Top 10

10) The Spins

So remember when Wiz Khalifa came out with “The Thrill?” In my mind, this was Mac Miller’s version of that.  The song wasn’t meant to be a lyrical display; it was just a fun song that could get any party going back in college.

9) Senior Skip Day

Man as a senior in college, this was a MOOD. Another essential chill Miller song, this was something you could throw on at any time.  The lyrics were playful and were memorable, with lines like “Open up the fridge to make some waffles/but no more syrup left in my bottle/Damn, well it’s okay/I top it off with scrambled eggs/Ayy gotta work with watcha got.”  Mac epitomized the glass half full personality, even when things weren’t always great.

8) ROS

When people think of Mac Miller love songs, they point to his The Divine Feminine album and rightfully so.  But when it comes down to my favorite love song of his, its this masterpiece.  I felt every word and its very relatable if, as he asks, if you ever been in love before.

7) Hurt Feelings

One of the most disappointing things about Mac’s death is that we’re being robbed of amazing music. Mac had put all his skills together and put together one of the year’s best albums.  One of those standouts was this gem.  Mac’s declaration that that he is who he is through and through, no matter the pressure to change up by the world around him was Mac in his purest.

6) Brand Name

I honestly want to include Doors with this entry as that is the true intro to GO:OD AM. With that being said, “Brand Name” is such a dope song with an important message.  In a world where everyone is following brands and trends, it’s better to be “handmade”—that is, to create your own lane. Mac was truly a creative.

5) Wings

I’ve always said that GO:OD AM was my favorite Mac album but I could probably make the case that Swimming was the best.  He had put together all his artistic talents and made some of this best music.  This song is everything that made him a great artist—a great ear, thoughtful lyrics with an unique flow and a melody that comforts.

4) Diablo

I don’t think Mac ever really got his respect as being one of the better rappers in the game. Chalk it up to whatever reason you want but it was an injustice in my opinion.  Whenever he got into his bag, he would come out the booth with some undeniable heat.  Take for example “Diablo,” a song that many point to when they want to show off Mac’s lyrical ability, not to mention Mac produced the song himself as well.  The subject matter is dark, admittedly making this song a bit painful these days.  Lyrics like “I find Jehovah in the darkest places,” and “Contemplating suicide like it’s a DVD,” are haunting these days.

3) Break the Law

This was in my top two until the new album came out but remains in my top three and it’s nothing to sneeze at. The song is hard and instantly gets me ready for whatever I got coming up.  That hook is just fun to recite. Plus, whenever Mac got up with Juicy J, the outcome was normally amazing.

2) Small Worlds

This is probably the best song that Mac Miller has ever created (to me obviously). It’s just the perfect amalgam of elements.  It’s a somber song that reflects his flaws, something Mac was never afraid to do.  I think that’s what made Mac one of the best artists in hip hop:  his honesty.  When he was hurting, he let you know.  When he was happy, he let you know.  It always reflected in his music.  Even the things that worried us as fans, those dark places that he would visit and could never ultimately escape from, he was transparent with us.  And on this song, he did it again.  Adding John Mayer’s undeniable guitar skills takes this song to another level as Mac delivers three reflective verses that make this such a complete piece of art.  There is only one song that I hold in higher esteem than this…

1) Kool Aid & Frozen Pizza

Back in 2011, Mac Miller was scheduled to perform at Randolph Macon, my alma mater. I had no idea who the kid was but I was willing to give him a try.  I looked up his most popular songs and settled in on this oddly named track.  As soon as the track began to play, I knew he would be a rapper I would follow from then out.  The lyrics weren’t anything special and his flow was still in its developing stages, but I could tell his genuine love for rapping.  Sure, my initial love for this song is due to its iconic status as a symbol of “frat rap” but even as I’ve grown older, it’s still a song that holds a special place in my heart.

 

Suave’s Top 10

This was extremely difficult.  I did a lot of shuffling because its hard to pick just 10 Mac songs! If we were doing a Top 20 I think that’d be easier. Yes, I said 20. Mac got hits! At one point I realized Stik and I had almost identical list. That changed though so here is my Top 10!

Honorable Mention:

Here’s one of my favorite Funk Flex Freestyles EVER as we kick things off. 

 

10.  Nikes On My Feet

9. Brand Name

8. Avian

7. Senior Skip Day

6. Self Care

5. Spins

4. Kool Aid and Frozen Pizza

3. Diablo

2. Hurt Feelings

 

1. Thoughts From A Balcony

 

So I know my list may be missing some of the most popular hits such as “Donald Trump,” “Best Day Ever,” and “S.D.S.” Those were definitely songs I had next in line for that tenth spot!  I also definitely could have wrote more about each track but lets say I did y’all a favor and made sure this was a quick read. I will say though “Thoughts From A Balcony” being my #1 Mac song should generate some interesting discussions. Anyways! At this time I would like to take say Happy Birthday Mac! We love and miss you so much. Gone but never forgotten.

S/o to my big bro Stik! Thank you for a great piece. He’s a super talented writer and has published two books. Make sure you follow him on Twitter @Dante_Diable54 . Below are the links to his books. Thank you all for reading.

 

Here’s the Thing:

https://www.amazon.com/Heres-Thing-B-Braxton-ebook/dp/B07C6JY4S8/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1541021298&sr=1-4&keywords=b+a+braxton

 

Therapoetic:

https://www.amazon.com/Therapoetic-B-Braxton-ebook/dp/B01BSUG9IM/ref=sr_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1541021381&sr=1-5&keywords=b+a+braxton

Vic Mensa – Hooligans (EP Review)

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Vic Mensa delivers an EP that provides emotional depth with a healthy serving of insight. Vic is an artist that i see as one of the more genuine acts in music. Yes i said it. Its a fair statement to being that he’s almost 10 years in! Vic has this remarkable ability to blend creative wordplay into personal/sociable conscious rap. ‘Hooligans’ definitely served as a showcase of his versatility. 

There were a lot of bright moments on ‘Hooligans’. To kick things off, Vic is a strong advocate in the fight against police brutality wastes no time to deliver a  message on “Dancing in the Streets.”  Vic raps,  “If the law don’t kill me first, the doors commit suicide/ They gon’ shoot me if I don’t or if I do comply.” Powerful words on a serious issue in today’s world. “Dark Things” and “In Some Trouble” were two of my favorite songs on here and on both tracks we got to see Vic’s versatility all whiles being gifted with a Ty Dolla $ign feature! On “Dark Things,” a track where Vic shares his struggles with mental health and addiction. With emotion filled clever lines such as “Fuck the pain away, beat it like a 808,” along with, “I need you to love me like I never loved me,” he’s able to tap into feelings of loneliness and desperation that come with these struggles. He definitely gave a part of him and his deepest of emotions to listeners. So I have no clue what you all will feel when you read these next two sentences. Vic Mensa and Ty Dolla $ign are that dynamic duo that we didn’t know we needed and a joint EP is needed ASAP. These two have no misses on their collaboration tracks that many people clearly love. “In Some Trouble” was a great song that may get slept on but I believe is a smash hit. There were a few tracks that were kind of just fillers for this EP. “Reverse” and “Rowdy” just had rather weak lyrics but the energy was there. Both songs seem they were for the radio. One being a radio hit in “Reverse” featuring G-Eazy.

Vic Mensa delivers a project with a few bland moments. But those “bland moments” are in the shadow of this EP’s highlights! He gave us an honest and emotional driven project that shed light on important real life issues such as addiction, police brutality and mental health by telling authentic stories from his experience. Whether or not you agree, Vic Mensa is an important voice in today’s rap industry and I applaud him on his efforts on ‘Hooligans’.  Expecting a BIG 2019 from Ghanaian brethren! SALUTE. 

 

RATING: 8/10

Stream On Spotify: 

 

 

 

New Music Alert: Young M.A. – “Bake Freestyle”

 

Young M.A went crazy on the infamous Clipse “Grindin” beat! You all should know how I feel about M.A. by now so there is no need for me to go off on a rant on how nice she is. This was the perfect way for M.A to kick off 2019 as she delivers a freestyle on such an iconic beat/popular freestyle beat that in my opinion hasn’t been done justice to since Cassidy’s famous “Cosmic Kev Freestyle” when he came fresh out of jail 7 years ago! Anyways, hit play and prepare for a BARS GALORE!

Rating: 5/5

 

Gunna – Drip Season 3 (Mixtape Review)

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Gunna’s heavy hitting, high powered to ‘Drip Season 2’ was simply a huge success. So it was only right that Gunna returned with a 3rd offering. ‘Drip Season 3’ features a LOADED line up consisting of Young Thug, Lil Yachty, Hoodrich Pablo Juan, Lil Uzi Vert, Lil Baby, Lil Durk, & more. The production is handled by Metro Boomin, Wheezy, Turbo, Khalil, Richie Souf, and London On Da Track .

So lets just go ahead and make this short and sweet. ‘Drip Season 3’ is probably one of 2018’s most high powered trap project this year. Gunna isn’t a “lyrical miracle” talent but his lyrical ability is respectable. You hear the strong Young Thug influence within this project. Honestly when i first heard this project I could not figure out who was who at times. But anyways, Gunna is actually having himself a great 2018. I believe the success of Drip Season 3 propelled this success. On Drip Season 3 we see Gunna being able to collab with several of today’s popular artist and coexist to make good to excellent tracks. I say for those who are intrigued by Gunna and like some of his featured tracks go back and check this project out. You’ll stumble across a high powered trap project that has been underrated by the masses. You’ll hear an artist who surely will become one of the most talked-about rappers of 2019.

Rating: 8.5/10

Stream on Soundcloud:

 

 

Favorite Tracks: Oh Okay, Car Sick, King Kong, At The Hotel and Top Off

Wale – Free Lunch (EP Review)

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Wale has been on a absolute roll in 2018! Wale’s productive 2018 continues with his latest EP release, ‘Free Lunch’. Back in May, Wale inked a new deal with Warner Bros. Records. Since then, the anticipation has been high for a new Wale full length project. Wale has been able to flex  his versatility this year by way of ‘It’s Complicated’ and ‘Self Promotion’. Both projects received plenty of praise. Can Wale go 3 for 3?? Lets find out!

Wale is 3 for 3 in 2018 and on ‘Free Lunch’, he shows that he is really in album mode and he is determined to put an end to all the disrespect and noise that constantly is attached to his name. Wale is underrated and underappreciated.  Wale shows us what makes him special on every one of these tracks. The project opens up with “Dummies.” On here we hear Wale addressing a plethora of topics from industry politics to street ethics. He talks his new deal with Warner Bros as well.  He also delivers a little PSA to the naysayers and haters as raps, “I’m ’bout to embarrass niggas, I feel that have carried me/This industry very cold but it look to you very sweet/Put niggas on big stages put niggas in little beefs/You put too much faith in it, it puts you in therapy.” It’s safe to say Wale’s fire has returned! “Ungrateful and Thankful” was a track I really enjoyed. The production was so dope and Wale and his unique flow levitates on it oh so well. I felt this track so much that I think I would have to do a whole separate post to explain why. “Wale the Poet” illustrates the wide range of emotions that come with being in love on “3 Days 3 Hours.” These type of tracks always seem to be the standout tracks when Wale drops a project. This track is supported by a relaxing instrumental that makes you feel the emotions Wale expresses in his 4 minute vent.  As we arrive to the fourth track on ‘Free Lunch’, we get one of Hip Hop’s most underrated duos in Wale and J. Cole going absolutely the f**k off on “My Boy.” This was probably the most exciting moment on this EP. The production included a really eccentric percussion-heavy beat that complimented both rappers braggadocios bar session. On the final track, “Right Here,” we have Wale teaming up with a frequent collaborator in Eric Bellinger. This wasn’t my favorite track but still has replay value!

Wale show’s off his versatility on “Free Lunch.” He is most defiantly in album mode and is ready to take things up a notch. He’s an underrated and underappreciated artist who in reality has been elite for years. Wale now going 3 for 3 on projects this year tells me he’s really in his bag and its wonderful to see how focused he is. The critics and naysayers have even taken notice. “Free Lunch” is satisfying but, Wale the game is still starving. Please deliver what I am expecting to be a great album soon!

Rating: 9.2/10

 

Stream Spotify:

 

Favorite Tracks: “Ungrateful & Thankful” and “My Boy”

Liam Payne – First Time (EP Review)

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The Ex- One Direction star was slated to release a debut  album but he has gone through a lot of life changing events in the last few months. He’s now  a father and he went through a break-up from his girlfriend of over two years, Cheryl Cole. Those are definitely some of real life changing events I would think. Though going through the course of life, Liam still shows he clearly loves his fans. On Friday August 24th, he announced and released a four-track EP called ‘First Time’.

A short EP means a short review. That being said, i’ll make this very brief and direct. Liam Payne came through and delivered with this pleasant surprise that is ‘First Time’. Liam showcases his maturity and diverse range of sounds. Each track on here displays well-written lyrics and shows Liam’s versatility in making music in multiple genres. Liam Payne has come a long way since his debut track ‘Strip That Down’ (Real Talk). I loved that he was able to give us some insight into his personal life, mainly his relationships since many always seemed to be concerned with his love life. 

On the title track “First Time,” which features French Montana, we get a Latin-infused  groove.  This reminded me of Liam’s collab with Colombian singer J Balvin on “Familiar.”  “Home With You” is a track that I’m surprised has grown on me as of recent. But then again, is it much of a surprise? This track seems to be one of the most underrated songs on this EP. This track is like that pleasant surprise track that you’ve probably skipped over but its really a hit! On track three Liam takes a different direction with the somewhat soulful piano ballad that is “Depend On It.”  Here Liam gets brutally honest with his lyrics such as, “There’s still a thread left, if I could just hold on, onto unraveling hope, give it one last go.” He also showcases his powerful vocals that should keep critics quiet. Mainly those critics from his One Direction days that said he “couldn’t sing for shit.” This track was a bit of a tearjerker for sure if you can relate and or currently feel what Liam was feeling on this track. ‘Slow’, the last song in the four-track EP, is an electric  groovy tune with heavy synths, that couldn’t have been a better way to close out this EP. 

‘First Time’ is a COMPLETE EP. We got four songs that all sound different and showcased Liam Payne’s versatility and talent. He also managed to stay very honesty with his music. He gave us an insight to his love life through his own eyes. Liam being able to genre hop is something that isn’t easy to do. ‘First Time’ shows that the pure vocal talent and versatility to deliver diverse sounds is present. Liam’s future is bright and I’ll be checking to see what a full length project sounds like. Should be a treat! 

Rating: 9.5/10

Stream on Spotify: 

 

 

DOMO GENESIS – AREN’T YOU GLAD YOU’RE U (Mixtape Review)

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Odd Future’s Domo Genesis returns with his 6th mixtape to follow up last years ‘Red Corolla’. This time around, Domo recruits Evidence of Dilated Peoples to produce it in its entirety. The opening track “Me vs. Me” vents about internal conflict over a jazzy yet gloomy instrumental. It defiantly was an interesting choice for an intro track because the next song “Shaq Carries Kobe” featuring Phonte takes a jab at all the fake people in the industry and the world in general over a mellow Evidence beat. As we approach the core of ‘AREN’T YOU GLAD YOU’RE U’, we get tracks such as “Free Kirk” which talks about going from a hustler to a rapper with the instrumental pretty much including an ongoing thunderstorm through it to possibly add to the rappers presentation of the transition between the two. “BBB” gives us confrontation and “Sing Me a Song” presents insight and ambitious lyrics over a smooth beat. Both “Brake” and “Fuck a Co-Sign” are short in length and I enjoyed these tracks solely for the production. The mixtape closer, “Hood Famous,” touches base on living by your limits accompanied with a beautiful piano on the production. This mixtape is only 20 minutes long but it was pretty enjoyable. It wasn’t “Red Corolla” but that’s okay! The production was solid and it’s always good to hear Domo rap and get his sh*t off!

Rating: 8/10

Stream on Soundcloud:

 

Favorite Tracks: “Me vs. Me” and “Shaq Carries Kobe”