Top 5 Mac Miller B-Side Records

So last week would have been Mac Miller’s 30th birthday and in honour of that, I wanted to put out a small list of some of my favourite B-side Mac Miller records (the song that you wouldn’t necessarily hear on his greatest hits list). Due to the raw emotion and vulnerability in his music, I think it’s actually his B-side records that stand out the most. I’m gonna be real though, as I made this list, I really took in that everything after “Blue Slide Park” in Mac Miller’s discography is lowkey some depressing ass music…but it’s fire. You wouldn’t expect the content or his delivery to be as good as it was when you’re just looking at a picture of him but the man was really talented. All these B-side records really highlight the extent of the demons he was fighting and how he tended to cope with them. There are a lot more layers to his music than I think people give him credit for and without further delay, I’d like to unpack some of those layers (from a fan perspective).

Ave Maria

I’m going to be completely transparent here, this song sounds like the after-effects of someone that took acid and went on a wild trip. “Ave Maria” is supposed to be a prayer to the Virgin Mary that is often sung at funerals (or in some Italian mobster movies) but Mac had his version sounding like an episode of Euphoria. Everything about this song makes you think you’re high when you’re sober. You’re basically listening to Mac Miller tell you as the listener that he doesn’t have a drug problem all the while making references to his drug problem and how unstable he actually feels inside.

This song always stands out to me because it’s the first time I can remember him using the term “swimming” which later became the title for one of his albums later on in his career. Mac Miller was trying to just stay afloat as he tried to navigate this confusing world. His means of doing that might differ from mine but I can understand how he got there.

“And sinners stay still, but the merry go round
And round
It all just keeps spinnin’
Gotta keep swimmin’ (Keep swimmin’), yeah (Keep swimmin’)
Eat, drink and let the merry go round”

Brand Name

To me, this song has profound social commentary but it’s done in an enjoyable musical way. If you’re just listening to the beat and the melodies, you would think this is a feel-good song. It’s really a song that at its core is saying that everything we enjoy regarding the “lifestyle of the rich and famous”, appearance, wealth and social status is really just manufactured in a way to make us think we need these things. Truth be told, most of us don’t even have these high-priced luxuries so how do we actually know if we truly like them?

“Everything we think we love
It ain’t nothin’ but a brand name
To everyone but us (Every motherfucker but us)
It ain’t nothin’ but a brand name, nothin’ but a brand name
Yeah
Ask her what she wearin’, say it’s nothin’ but a brand name
Baby, this right here is handmade” 

Jet Fuel

Following a similar theme to his other music, I’ve always thought of “jet fuel” as a reference to the drugs that he would take to keep himself going. His body’s like a plane and he needs the “jet fuel” to take off and be safe amongst the clouds. Away from all the madness that’s happening below. Mac just wanted to escape and I think this is one of the reasons why his music connected with so many people.

The Question feat. Lil Wayne

This song is like the soundtrack to an existential crisis. It’s one of my favourite Mac Miller songs because at one point or another in your life, you can relate to it. We’ve all gone through a moment where you’re just like “wtf is even going on right now?” It’s a time when you can’t make sense of your life or why things are the way they are but you figure it out. One way or another, you figure it out.

“I hope I do what I was meant to do
‘Cause I’ve been searchin’ for that answer, I just hope I get it now
Please, let me find euphoria
When you up above the clouds, like, “Who gon’ touch me now?”
And do we ever get to know the truth?
‘Cause everybody seems to have it, but to me it seems they lack it”

Perfect Circle/God Speed

I’m gonna be real, from a content perspective, this is arguably Mac Miller’s best song (fight me about it). It is so intense from start to finish. You end up listening to the musical memoir of somebody who despite all odds is still fighting for the top spot in their respective field, all the while battling their drug addictions. That’s what makes the title of the first half of the song so clever. Mac isn’t a perfect circle, he continued to make the same mistakes and would reuse excuses for them again and again.

In the second half of the record, Mac uses a snippet of a call from his brother who’s reaching out to him worried about the dark space he was in at one point in his life. From there the song carries on to talk about how Mac is moving at a rapid pace and that those around him want him to go to rehab. Through all his accolades and celebrity life, Mac struggled with everyday life like the rest of us.

“I thought I’d have it in the bag by now
I thought that we’d be kickin’ back by now
I know that life is a bitch
I know that life is a bitch, I thought we’d put her in a cab by now”

I think Mac Miller’s legacy is how his music was able to help people understand each other more. You don’t have to be depressed or struggling with substance abuse to feel the music. The production and the content take you to this place of understanding and arguably help bridge the gap between those going through things at the moment, and those that aren’t. The part that’s twisted here is that artists make some of their best music when they’re sad or absolutely devastated. It’s a messed up concept but if you listen with that in mind, you’ll realize Mac Miller has a lot of hidden gems in his discography. R.I.P. to Mac man, may his music and memory continue to live on. 

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