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Written Before Review

Faces is now on streaming services. With that being said, ive only listened to this album once in my life. I loved it and I don’t understand why I never came back to it. I am coming back to it now and listening to it multiple times for this review. Mac Miller is an artist who I’ve always enjoyed, but never loved anything from him. That is until his posthumous album Circles came out. That thing was a great blend of soul, hip hop, R&B and psychedelia. When I listened to Faces, I really liked it but I dont remember much of it, so im coming into this mixtape with pre-made high expectations.


There are some production guests on this mixtape like Earl Sweatshirt, Thundercat and 9th Wonder, but Mac Miller controls most of the production and god damn. This is some of the best production to ever appear on a Mac Miller project. Mac Miller samples a lot of jazz and jazz fusion to create somewhat of a delusional soundscape throughout this project. On “Angel Dust”, we get this very surreal piano sample chopped to sound even more fantasizing. “Diablo” is one of the most memorable beat of recent time due to it’s sampling of a classic jazz song as well as its Boom Bap drum pattern. The double bass and trippy drum pattern on “San Francisco” is nothing more than hypnotic and “Grand Finale” is a exactly what the title is. The beats that Mac Miller doesn’t produce are also above level too. “Here We Go” is very triumphant with a very victorious jazz sample and celebratory drums. “Therapy” is a jazzy trap song that could appear on a Yung Gravy mixtape and “Happy Birthday” a couple of tracks later is very atmospheric and cloudy like something off of Funk Flex’s Serato. “Insomniak” uses this really atmospheric and nocturnal sample which makes it perfect to make a trap banger of. All of those beats are great in their own right, but “Rain” might be the cherry on top. The jazzy sample, the straightforward drum pattern and chipmunk one shots are just psychedelic bliss. Matter of fact, I didn’t even have ti be descriptive, this mixtape includes some amazing beats.


“San Francisco”’s opening line says it perfectly. “Welcome to the dark side of my bizarre mind.” The intro of the entire mixtape is him refraining that he “should’ve died already”. “Friends” is really the first track that sets the darker tones of this album as Mac Miller describes his drugged up life and his drugged up friends. “Angel Dust” and “Malibu” go even more in depth on Mac Millers drug addiction and how bad its gotten. “Happy Birthday”, “Wedding” and “Funeral” is how dark life can be when into drugs. “Happy Birthday” is Mac Miller sitting in his room while everyone else is celebrating his birthday. “Wedding” is warning his significant other that he “is the worst”. “Funeral” is when Mac finally battles with death due to his drug addiction. The last leg of the mixtape is mainly during the trip. The effects that can permanently affect someone. The tracks that follow are the results and consequences of the trips. The anxiety and insomnia on “Insomniak” and The bad people in your life on “Uber”. “Apparition” and “Thumbnail” discusses the inability to escape these bad situations and “Grand Finale”….well thats his death….yeah its dark. Its even darker that Mac Miller passed away only 4 years later.


Alongside the themes of drugs, death, depression, existentialism, self hatred and suicide, it would be hard to brighten up something like this. Mac Miller does the impossible. Between the concept, there are tracks with some amazing one liners, flows and rhyme schemes. Mac Miller’s flow is some of the best. I will still stand with the fact that rapping is Mac’s strongest attribute. Just pay attention to the lyrics of “Here We Go”, “Diablo” and “San Francisco” to hear my evidence. I dont even need to explain.

Artistic Evolution

We shouldn’t forget…that Mac Miller was not always taken seriously. When he appeared in the rap game in 2010, He released KIDS which was basically taking hip hop cliches to the extreme where hip hop heads got frustrated with him, despite his skill. I personally enjoyed KIDS, but when his proceeding projects came, it was getting predictable and corny. That was until ‘Macadelic’ came out. It didnt really deliver as strong as KIDS, but it did showcase his versatility that would make ‘Watching Movies With The Sound Off’ the project it was. It was nearly a complete escape to his pop rap music as he made more abstract beats and got production credits from heavyweights like Flying Lotus and The Alchemist. It not only was his best project yet, but he was now being taken serious. He even said it on “Here We Go”. That project lead us here. Don’t get me wrong, I loved ‘Circles’ and I think ‘Swimming’ is nearly up to par too, but in my opinion, he never reached the strength of Faces again. Unfortunately, I think he had the potential to as well but due to his untimely death, we never got to see it.


Honestly, the only thing that kind of brings this mixtape down is the 86 minute length. I admit, that some people could pull of the length to make a perfect album, but those are some of the greatest artists of all time. Mac Miller doesn’t have the same artistic caliber as The Beatles and Stevie Wonder to make 20+ tracks that sum up to 80 minutes to create a 10/10. Thats about it. Im not even here to critique this project. Im just here to revisit one of the best mixtapes of all time.


What an amazing mixtape, and what an amazing way to depict such a dark topic such as addiction and surely this isn’t the only project to do so, but alongside projects like Atrocity Exhibition, this has to be one of the strongest projects to do this. I’m so glad this wound up on streaming services.



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