According to his social media comments earlier in 2015, Mac Miller had to scrap a total of nine albums worth of content in order to arrive at his third studio album, GO:OD AM. Given the Pittsburgh-based emcee’s penchant for alter egos, from the jazz-influenced Larry Lovestein & the Velvet Revival; to the horrorcore of Delusional Thomas, this prolificacy isn’t surprising. But it also might mean that instead of veering off arbitrarily into experimental genres, Mac took longer to find a sound that worked for him.
Where Faces reflected a mostly gloomy, psychedelic tone on Mac’s drug-tainted, often isolated life in Los Angeles, GO:OD AM makes it seem as though the rapper is coming to terms with himself and the reality of stardom. The first track starts off not with rapping but with singing, “I’ve been through all the highs / I’ve seen all the lows / Lost track of time, I’m coming home”, before launching into a creative, soul-inspired beat on “Brand Name.”
A constant hallmark of Mac’s music is a focus on drug use and the introspection that ensues, but here he finally seems to be coming into the light instead of tangled in some oppressive jungle of questionable drug consumption. On the mellow track “Weekend”, for instance, Mac says he’s “Wondering what’s the thing that keeps me breathing / Is it money, fame or neither”, before a smooth, catchy hook that features vocals from R&B star Miguel.
Standouts from the album include “In The Bag”, which unapologetically showcases every rap and Mac Miller trope, from the hard-hitting, trap-inspired beats to the goofy, quintessentially Mac skits on the front and back end. The most impressive element here isn’t a single track, however, but a newfound self-assuredness and confidence. At 23 years old, Mac is trying to clean his life up, and it shows in his music.