Pittsburgh rapper goes hip hop noir with latest alter ego.
Pittsburgh rapper, Mac Miller has come to be the Sybil of rap. For those too young to remember, Sybil was the "true-ish" story of a lady (played by Sally Field) that had Multiple Personality Disorder and was juggling a collection of different people inside her head.
One thing Mac's personalities all have in common: They're lyrically proficient and visually descriptive. On his latest mixtape/persona, Delusional Thomas, Mac switches from substance-laced tales of everyday living on previous works to Horrorcore-tinged recollections of being ill for the sake of ill. Production-wise, the methodical madman took beats that favored earlier works like Watching Movies With the Sound Off, stripped them down and added a slight maniacal twist to them. Mac's voice is pitched (for lack of a better description) chipmunk-style for the whole thing.
Delusional Thomas starts out with slow-pounding keys and the eery sound of a morning dove, setting the backdrop for a morbid take on Mac's other alter ego, Larry Fisherman, titled "Larry." Mac gets super lyrical, at one point spitting, "It's best to know your enemies better than they know themselves/Read the bible overwhelmed knowing I'ma go to hell/Chivalry, same conversation with the ministry/Tell God the road He gifted me is full of misery/These short needles in the veins of dark people, that's the harsh evil/All these snakes, rats and weasels, who are waitin' for us all to die/Just to see who qualifies to watch the choir harmonize."
Mac winds up using the piano on a number of tracks to give the beats a suspenseful twist. Songs like the [fittingly] Earl Sweatshirt-assisted "Bill" and "Halo" utilize the same slow pound, giving the mixtape a feel that's halfway between Tyler, The Creator's Goblin and Eminem's The Slim Shady LP.
The Blue Slide Park MC continues his lyrical reign of terror on "72," which uses the simple addition of a xylophone to accompany the subtlety of the drums to allow his sociopathic rhymes like, "Face disfigured, yeah my thoughts are numb/Stick out like a sore thumb/Not as dumb as all these people think/My mom said I need a shrink."
"Dr. Thomas" stood out most on the mixtape thanks to the incorporation of a pronounced snare, which gave the song a refreshing dynamic.
Delusional Thomas tones down coming closer to Mac's usual graphic tales of a conflicted rising star trying to figure out if the material goods and women really afford happiness on tracks like "Melvin," "The Jesuits" and "Grandpa Used to Carry a Flask," which features the real Mac Miller going back and forth with the high pitched Thomas. Unsurprisingly, both are equally dope with the verse. "As I'm pacing back and forth/Waiting 'til they pass the torch/Life a b---h about 40 in a sad divorce/Voice is hoarse, gettin' harder to speak/Remarkable themes talkin' mark of the beast/I saw them caught on a leash, we walk in common asleep/And coffins talking to Stephen Hawking, even we see it often/So we close our eyes, hoping we forgot to die/S--t it must have slipped my mind."
Just like you probably wouldn't watch a sci-fi thriller during the day, Delusional Thomas is probably something that fits perfectly into a nighttime drive.
Regardless of who he is in any given moment, Mac Miller is one of the most lyrically gifted MCs in hip hop. He continues to add something new and different. Delusional Thomas' only drawback is that every song has a similar sound, but for the tatted up rhymer's true fans, it won't matter.
This mixtape is not for the squeamish and definitely is not for those that only like Top 40 rap. For everyone else, it's hip hop noir at it's finest. With only ten short songs, it's just the right amount of time to keep the listener fully engaged.
(Photo: Courtesy of Rostrum Records)