If You Go
What: Mac Miller “The Incredibly Dope Tour”
Where: Arcata Vets Hall 1425 J St., Arcata
When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday
Admission: $18 pre-sale, $20 door
Jewish teen rapper Mac Miller brings hip-hop to all-ages crowd in Arcata
Hip-hop artist Mac Miller turns 19 on Tuesday and has already accomplished more in the music industry than many people twice his age.
The Pittsburgh Jewish-American Miller, who was born Malcolm McCormick, has been writing and performing music since he was 15 and this week, makes his California debut with the ‘Incredibly Dope’ tour.
Miller spoke via telephone with the Tri-City Weekly while taking a break from recording tracks in a New York studio.
There’s excitement in his voice talking about his music. He sprinkles his conversation with expletives and pays respect to those who came before him. He laughs when he starts talking about “the old days” before he got started in rap music — about three years ago.
Miller’s current two-month tour is his longest run so far and his first performing on the West Coast.
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He makes a stop in Arcata on Thursday to perform an all-ages show with openers Swisher Streets from San Diego at the Arcata Veteran’s Hall.
Things have been happening quickly for Miller, who signed with Rostrum Records in August 2010 and released his popular Internet mixtape, “K.I.D.S.” Songs like “Kool Aid and Frozen Pizza,” and “Knock Knock” have contributed to Miller’s music videos garnering more than 10 million hits on YouTube. His newest album, “Best Day Ever,” is due out this year.
The hip-hop star said he has his own “crib” in Pittsburgh with some “homies.” He said being younger than most artists has not deterred him from working in the music business. He cites Wiz Khalifa, a Rostrum Records labelmate, as a hip-hop mentor and homie.
”I wouldn’t like to call myself mature, but all my homies have been older than me my whole life. I kinda am that little ass annoying kid. At the same time I chill and make music. I’ve had to bust it out to be accepted.”
Miller’s lyrics relay stories of him growing up in Pittsburgh, making mischief with friends and selling marijuana.
”Now, I don’t sell weed anymore, I sell music,” Miller said. “At a time, hell yeah — me and my homies were some idiots. That’s not the way you have to go to be cool. Everything is more positive with music. Being able to have music as my career is the best thing that’s ever happened to me.”
Although legally Miller isn’t of age to walk into a bar and get a drink, he has performed for many 21-and-up venues in Pittsburgh. He said most clubs would tell him to get in, perform his songs and get out.
So far, Miller said he has taken the challenges he faces in the music industry as positive learning experiences.
”Driving with my homies in the car for two weeks (on tour) and not killing each other was a challenge,” he said. “I’ve been real lucky though, working hard — a lot of stuff doesn’t get me down.”
Miller said his parents have always been supportive of him pursuing his passion, but they didn’t understand how much he wanted music as a career. His grades weren’t the best and he used to get called out of class every day for writing music instead of taking notes. He said he hasn’t ruled out college and he might pursue it in the future.
”I would love to go to college and study something that I know I am really interested in — maybe later in life. For now, there’s nothing in the world that can take me away from my dedication to music.”