Lost in the process of distancing himself from the frat-rap haze of the early years of his career, Mac Miller wandered into becoming a hip-hop pioneer.
Finding his style in a dark, drug-induced stupor, Miller drove an entire era of the genre. His influence and personality helped make him such a beloved figure among his peers, the outpour of love only working to make his tragic overdose on Sept. 7, 2018, even more heartbreaking.
Miller’s estate announced on Sept. 15 that alongside a music video for the track “Colors and Shapes,” that the Grammy nominated rapper’s successful 2014 mixtape “Faces” would be rereleased.
Coming to streaming services and vinyl for the first time on Oct. 15, the mixtape features a previously unreleased song, simply titled “Yeah.” This follows the release of 2020’s wonderful posthumous album “Circles” and Miller’s breakthrough mixtape “K.I.D.S” rereleasing on its 10th anniversary.
For those who found the intimacy of “Circles” to be entrancing in the wake of the death of the “Good News” and “Weekend” rapper, “Faces” will be a similar experience.
Miller was gifted with complete openness that few artists have despite not possessing the technicality of Kendrick Lamar or the in-your-face aggressiveness as his close friend Earl Sweatshirt.
Never one to build walls between himself and his audience, “Faces” is an all-out barrage on the listener as Miller takes you into his coke-addled psyche. Known for making longer albums than your average rapper, “Faces” is Miller’s longest core project, with the extended rerelease sitting at 25 tracks and 90 minutes. Nonetheless, no moment is wasted.
There’s an eerie Cobainesque sense of impending mortality in “Faces.” “Funeral” and the closing “Grand Finale ” introduce an element of existential dread that, while mildly present in his earlier music, never left his system, even as the drugs did.
“It Just Doesn’t Matter” features some of the most brutally honest lyrics Miller wrote.
“I’m on drugs, all my new shit wack, remember that,” Miller said in his lyrics.
The gallows humor used as a way to express feelings on his followup “GO:OD AM” are not found here.
One of Miller’s many talents, he produces the majority of the album under his Larry Fisherman pseudonym. With full creative control, Miller uses it to create his exact vision of addiction, whether it be the out of control “Thumbalina,” the psychedelic “Colors and Shapes” or the isolation of “Happy Birthday.” He can create all of it.
“Faces” is a dark listen, but with its arrival to streaming platforms for the first time it brings the truest and most open listening experiences of one of the most beloved figures in modern music.