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My Five: Ranking Mac Miller's Top Five Projects

Joe DelloStritto
Clarke Tolton via Rolling Stone

Fans who loved Mac Miller grew up simultaneously with the Pittsburgh rapper. In his early mixtapes like The High Life and K.I.D.S., Mac was carefree. By his posthumous album, though, Mac Miller was vulnerable and wise. Nowadays, Mac’s discography spans every mood in the book— each album representing a different time in his fan’s lives. Join me as I rank Mac Miller’s top five albums in order.

5. Blue Slide Park (2011)

Mac Miller - Blue Slide Park

Mac’s 2011 release, Blue Slide Park served as his debut studio album. This project quickly became the first independently distributed debut project to ever crack the Billboard 200. Mac chef’d up a couple fan favorites on this album, ordering a turkey sandwich in his intro to “Frick Park Market,” and dressing up as an old man in his music video for “Party on Fifth Ave.” At this point in his career, Mac was still happy-go-lucky, and delivered groovy infectious verses stamped with a thumbs up and genuine smile. Some songs that reflect this vibe were “Under the Weather” and “Up All Night.” It’s only right that Mac’s first studio album was called Blue Slide Park, which is an ode to his humble beginnings. When the late rapper died, fans gathered at the real Blue Slide Park, paying respects to Mac with candles and flowers, and even renaming the park "Mac Miller's Blue Slide Park." Forever a classic, Blue Slide Park slides in at the number 5 spot.

4. The Divine Feminine (2016)

Mac Miller - The Divine Feminine

The Divine Feminine was our first serious look into Mac’s love life, and marked a major switch in his musical career and personal life. At the time of it’s release, Mac Miller had fallen for Arianna Grande, and wrote this entire album with her in mind. Everyone remembers “Dang!” with Anderson .Paak, as this song had catapulted up the charts. In what would later become classic Mac fashion, he used a funky instrumental type-beat to flow smoothly and patiently through his verses in the track. Mac also had help from his lover at the time, featuring Arianna Grande in “My Favorite Part,” and the music video served as a coming out party for the celebrity couple. This album showed a different side of the rapper we all had become accustomed to, and developed a more intimate relationship with his fans. He even inserts a recording of his mother telling the story of how she fell in love with his father at the end of “God is Fair, Sexy Nasty” featuring Kendrick Lamar. A timeless display of lust and love, The Divine Feminine comes in at #4.

3. K.I.D.S. (2010)

K.I.D.S. - Mac Miller

K.I.D.S. was Mac’s coming out party. When this iconic mixtape finally was released on all platforms in 2020, it was a victory for the entire Mac community. Who could forget tracks like “Nikes On My Feet,” “The Spins,” “Knock Knock,” “Kool Aid and Frozen Pizza,” “Senior Skip Day,” etc.? At the time, Mac’s music felt light as a feather. He had one goal: to kick incredibly dope shit. Only a senior in high school at the time, Mac Miller watched his dreams catapult into reality, gaining respect from his peers and record labels alike. Simple music videos, clever rhyme schemes, and an infections personality – Mac Miller had arrived. In 16 songs and 47 minutes, Mac Miller solidified his spot in the rap game, and this is why K.I.D.S. gets a bronze medal.

2. Swimming (2018)

Swimming - Mac Miller

It pains me to write about Swimming, since I had tickets to see Mac on his Swimming tour just before his passing. There was something so wise, and a perspective so vast buried within Swimming that was unprecedented for Mac in his previous projects. After a sobering breakup with Arianna Grande, Mac took a deep look inside, and delivered his most vulnerable project yet. Equal parts depressing and hopeful, Mac released classics like “Self Care,” “2009,” “What’s the Use,” and “Small Worlds.” Each and every track on the 13 song album is methodical, vague, and calming. While the rapper is clearly beaten down, he seems to adopt an “it is what it is” attitude that carries his confidence through the entire project. “Self Care” still sits atop Mac’s most popular songs on Spotify, with over 300 million streams to date. In his final living project, Mac crafted a masterpiece different than any of his previous work. Comparing Swimming to K.I.D.S. is almost like comparing two totally different artists, but that’s why we love Mac. A well-deserved silver metal goes to his 2018 release, Swimming.

1. GO:OD AM (2015)

GO:OD AM - Mac Miller

Coming in at the top spot is Mac’s most complete album: GO:OD AM. From rap slappers, to love ballads, to wake-up calls, this 17-song project has something for everyone. Tracks like “Weekend” and “100 Grandkids” surely steal the albums’ attention, but there is not a single song worth a skip in GO:OD AM. With minimal features, Mac puts on a show of versatility, providing his listeners with different sounds that characterize the hectic world Mac was living. Some of my favorite songs from this album are “ROS,” “Break The Law,” and “Brand Name,” but the list goes on and on. Right smack in the middle of his career, some argue that Mac was hitting his prime when he released this project. While maintaining a seamless project, Mac Miller hits every emotion in this one, from happy to sad to hopeful to nostalgic. Forever one of my favorite albums by any artist, GO:OD AM takes #1 in Mac Miller’s "MY FIVE." Hit me up if you think my order is wrong, I love to argue.

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