What Mac Miller Meant To Hip-Hop

In a genre dominated by “gangstas” and black people, Mac Miller maintained a successful rap career despite being white, not a “gangsta”, and without gimmicks.

Photo from People Magazine

Mac Miller deserves to not only to be celebrated as an individual, but as an MC.

The white boy from Pittsburgh who never used his whiteness as a gimmick in a predominately black genre.

The kid who came into the rap game at a young age, and sustained his music career into adulthood. (Not many professional teenage artists can say that.)

The white rapper who never needed to make outrageously silly songs to sell records, but had bars with substance.

Vibes Are Color Blind

Mac Miller’s introspective rhymes over melodic beats made you forget his color, and get lost in his music.

Quality rap music is quality rap, regardless of what it looks like. Mac Miller did not have the typical rapper image. He didn’t always rap about typical rapper subjects. He stayed true to himself and his type of music, which is what resonated with his fans.

Mac’s music had it’s own sound. Rather than following trends in a trendy culture, his work is authentic. His body of work is an example that if you make good music, and respect the culture, hip-hop is accepting of you. This is extremely important due to the amount of rappers who portray a certain image just to “get on”. Being yourself still wins, and Mac’s success in hip-hop is an example of that.

Breaking Barriers

I didn’t want to like his music.

It was the K.I.D.S. mixtape in 2010. I knew the music was good, but I had no interest in an 18 year-old white boy rapping. What could I possibly get out of that? How could I relate to this?

Yes, I was absolutely stereotyping. I did not want to listen to Mac Miller because he was white, and younger than I was. The only white rapper I had ever taken serious was Eminem. I wasn’t expecting Mac to stay relevant in hip-hip long.

As a hip-hop fan, I began taking notice of Mac Miller’s progression over time. He was consistent, and his music didn’t sound like anything else. I could tell Mac took rapping as a craft seriously, and this was not another Weird Al’ or Lil’ Dicky (no disrespect to Lil’ Dicky, he can flow).

He was doing more than making you laugh and being silly and entertaining, rather he put is life into his music. His emotion can be felt through the production. Oh and by the way, it is LYRICAL!

Not in a braggadocios way that we’re used to in hip-hop, but in an honest and vulnerable way. So by the time his 2nd studio album Watching Movies With The Sound Off came out, I was a Mac Miller fan. His consistency, uniqueness, and respect for the culture earned my respect (as if he needed my validation).

NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert Series

His Rightful Place In Hip-Hop

Mac Miller deserves his rightful place in hip-hop as a MC, lyricist, rapper, and as an overall creative. In a time when it is common for rappers to sound like somebody else in order to be heard, Mac had a style that cannot be duplicated because he was himself. He did not chase trends or ride waves. He made quality music that sounded unique, which is why he was able to have the sustainable career that he had.

It is important to note that Mac started creating a buzz in hip-hip around the same time as artists like Drake, J. Cole, Wale, Wiz Khalifa, Nipsey Hussle and Kendrick Lamar. Some of the generation’s best! This speaks volumes to his musical and lyrical abilities.

Ultimately Mac Miller will go down in hip-hop history as a respected MC, not as just a token white rapper. One would be hard-pressed to find a rapper who spoke ill of Mac throughout his career, which says a lot about his spirit. Even through his music, listeners can feel the positive vibes.

Though his death is a tragedy, hip-hop applauds the career of Mac Miller and his contributions to the culture. He will forever hold a rightful place in the heart of hip-hop as a real MC.

Spoken word artist and writer. Living my life and writing about it along the way, it just might inspire somebody. IG: @iamjustinpatton

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