Mac Miller was way ahead of the curve in the early stages of his career. Not just in terms of his musical skills, but also in terms of the way he decided to roll out and release his music, using a still youthful YouTube platform in the early 2010s. After grabbing the world’s attention with his breakout mixtape KIDS (now available for streaming), all eyes were on him, a goofy, white teenage rapper from Pittsburgh with something to prove.
Mac knew exactly how to bond with a whole range of children. If you were in school around the same time these tapes came out, you will know exactly what I mean. Everyone heard, heard, or hated Mac Miller (let’s be honest). It was a hit, and this resulted in KIDS being one of the most hyped projects of his entire career to this day.
Shortly after Mac Miller was featured in the coveted Freshman Class edition of XXL in early 2011, he dropped “Donald Trump”. That melody alone would be a massive milestone. Not only would it be his debut on the US Billboard Hot 100 – an accomplishment in itself – but it would also be his first platinum record, earning official RIAA certification on March 19, 2013. A week after “Donald Trump” was released, Mac would deliver Best Day Ever, a 16-track mixtape that would really cement his meteoric rise in the hip-hop limelight. When it became available on DatPiff (the now archaic mixtape site), fans literally crashed the site and tried to get their free download.
There were some special moments in this project that really helped build its legitimacy. Before Mac KIDS even dropped it was signed Rostrum Records, a breeding ground for hip-hop stars in Pittsburgh by Wiz Khalifa. By this point, Wiz had already secured his legacy with projects from 2006. Though they had similar fan bases, it wasn’t until the best day ever that Mac officially received the co-sign from his label mate in the form of a guest verse on “Keep Floatin ‘,” an aptly-written ballad about smoking weed. This was exactly the right time as Wiz would release his most successful album of the time, Rolling Papers, just two weeks later.
While most of Best Day Ever KIDS was similar in many ways, it was impossible to deny the increase in maturity in Mac’s songwriting. This is perhaps most evident in one of the most cherished songs on the mixtape and is still a favorite after so many years, “BDE Bonus”. Just when you think that the project is over with fading out “Keep Floatin”, you will be transported back from small synthesizer blips to a relaxed repetition of the opening title track “Best Day Ever”. Although it contains the same lyrics, the reflections on its success apply differently here as the weight of the project now falls off its shoulders. Great props on ID Labs here (the main producer on the album) who managed to create two completely different feelings from the same track.
In retrospect, Best Day Ever was ultimately an extension of the carefree, youthful party lifestyle that Mac illustrated on KIDS in 2010. Today fans can revisit if they’re looking for a heavy dose of nostalgia. For Mac Miller, however, it’s more than just that. This was a high profile young artist who entered the world of hip hop at the age of 19 and delivered a project that millions of people were connected to and up to do today.