From Bob Dylan to Prince: Mac Miller’s 25 favourite albums
The late, great Mac Miller was one of the finest wordsmiths of his generation, and his innovative approach to rap music is one that remains sorely missed since he tragically passed away in 2018. Miller’s music incorporated many different influences under the umbrella of hip-hop and helped him become a mercurial talent. His list of favourite albums from 2013 signifies his eclectic taste and shows myriad influences that went into his style.
Mac Miller aka Malcolm James McCormick was born on January 19th, 1992, and was a music-obsessed kid whose passion never waned, as he became one of the most adored hip-hop artists on the planet. He was a self-taught musician, who remarkably learned how to play the piano, guitar, drums, and bass before he had turned six.
While playing instruments was his gateway into music, it wasn’t until he first started rapping at the age of fourteen that he discovered his best talent. Before his first dabbling with rap, Mac had aspirations to be a singer-songwriter, but that got ditched after being hooked on hip-hop. He later remembered, “Once I hit 15, I got real serious about it and it changed my life completely. I used to be into sports, play all the sports, go to all the high school parties. But once I found out hip-hop is almost like a job, that’s all I did.”
His first hip-hop moniker was Easy Mac, and under this name, he released his debut mixtape But My Mackin’ Ain’t Easy in 2007, he was just fifteen and had only been rapping for twelve months. A couple of years later he settled on the name, Mac Miller and released his first two mixtapes, The Jukebox: Prelude to Class Clown and The High Life. Both these releases saw him receive widespread recognition and truly start his career. Throughout his all-too-short-career, he released four-full length studio albums during his life and the posthumous, Circles, which was greeted with glee by his mourning fans in 2020.
Whilst his records prove that Mac Miller was a man who had a wide range of tastes, an interview he gave in 2013 with Complex saw him provide a detailed look at his record collection and the 25 albums that mean the most to him, which is as expensive as one would have expected.
The first record that Miller mentioned was Bob Dylan’s seminal, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, from 1963, noting: “I love that record. I love that cover art. I really love Bob Dylan. My brother is so into Bob Dylan. I saw Dylan perform live one time. Front row. In Pittsburgh. General admission. I was like 10 or 12 and I just pushed my way up to the front by myself because there was no seats or anything. He was like old though, might’ve been one of his last tours.”
The next record up is The Beatles’ psychedelic-filled extravaganza, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Miller commented: “I got a John Lennon tattoo dude. [Laughs.] I love what they represent. I love all the shit when they started getting really weird. I kind of identify with them, not with like in massiveness, but like in their journey.
“I’m a huge Beatles fan, from when I was a little kid. [Asking how you got into the Beatles is] like asking, ‘How did you get into Jesus?’ [Laughs.] I’m just saying, it just exists. How did you get into sandwiches? I found [out about them myself], I was very independent. I taught myself how to tie my shoe and how to write. I was reading by four. [Laughs.] I was a prodigy.”
Mac was also full of superlatives for Prince’s 1981 record, Controversy, saying: “Prince is my idol, that’s who I aspire to be like. Prince invited me to a show. I couldn’t believe it, I cried. But I couldn’t go because I was shooting a video. I can’t believe he gave Gotye an award. I would do anything to do [a song with Prince].”
There was also plenty of room for hip-hop greats that made his list such as the likes of Wu-Tang Clan, Kanye West and Schoolboy Q. There’s also room on the list for the recently departed MF Doom and his 2004 album, Mm.. Food. “I just like love the texture of his voice against the beats, like, it’s very ‘Fuck you’, Miller commented. “He kind of throws it down there, but it’s very purposeful. It sounds effortless, but everything is purposeful. I’ve never talked to him about it, or talk to him in general so I wouldn’t know, but records like ‘Vomitspit’ are the fucking shit. It’s great music for like anything in life. You can play it anytime, it’s good.”
The list also features the likes of King Krule, Radiohead and Flying Lotus. You can view the full list and listen to the playlist, below.
Mac Miller’s 25 favourite albums of all time
Bob Dylan – The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan
The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band