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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released August 3, 2018 | Warner Bros.

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released September 16, 2016 | Warner Bros.

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released August 3, 2018 | Warner Bros.

Following 2016's ode to love The Divine Feminine, Pittsburgh rapper Mac Miller avoids treading water and continues his artistic maturation on his fifth full-length, Swimming. As flowing as the title suggests, Swimming undulates with laid-back slacker soul and hypnotic production, like a lava lamp bobbing along calm waves. Inspired by events preceding the album's release, Miller's moody and introspective lyrics hint at the post-breakup black cloud hovering above his head, while also addressing his struggles with maintaining sobriety. Coupled with his soulful sing-rapping and input from producer Jon Brion, Swimming is one of Miller's more enjoyable and cohesive visions. Throughout, there's an emo-R&B vibe that strongly recalls Frank Ocean, just with less eloquent or evocative lyrics. Highlights include the popping, Pharrell-assisted "Hurt Feelings," the synth-funk bounce of the Snoop Dogg and Thundercat collaboration "What's the Use?," and "Self Care," a narcotic cloud rap gem that benefits from co-writers Dev Hynes and J.I.D. The woozy production and marble-mouthed delivery can sometimes be a slog (similar to one of Drake's or Post Malone's overly long albums), but every now and then there's something -- be it the surprise jazz piano on "Small Worlds" or the orchestral sweep of "2009" -- that pulls everything back into focus. Licking his wounds after a rough first half of 2018, Miller realizes "You could have the world in the palm of your hands/You still might drop it" on closer "So It Goes." With an eye on the future, Swimming is ample evidence that Miller can pick up the pieces and continue evolving, his grasp on thoughtful, introspective hip-hop getting stronger by the album. ~ Neil Z. Yeung
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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released September 18, 2015 | Warner Bros.

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Mac Miller proved he had swagger with his 2011 debut Blue Slide Park, and then offered some artistic depth with his adventurous, reckless, and overly wandering sophomore release Watching Movies with the Sound Off. Learning from previous mistakes while retaining all that was good about his second LP, this third dispatch from the heart of Pittsburgh adds a slurry and mush-mouthed style that sounds like the confident Miller is now so laid-back, the words leaving his mouth are quite tired from their uphill climb. The great single "100 Grandkids" suggests it is actually a post-junkie style as "I swear to God, I put the 'hero' in heroin" blasts out loud and proud, although there's no doubting the wiser moments on this third album are all post-rehab and even prouder, as the quest for clarity is the rapper's current vice. Big baller "Brand Name" looks to beat the odds with "To everyone who sells me drugs, don't mix it with that bullshit/I'm tryin' not to join the 27 club" as it does the "American Ninja to these obstacles" with one of the numerous beats from the production team ID Labs, who have a newfound love of luminous soul music. Miller is still digging on the dreamy sound of cloud rap and brings in producers Drew Byrd and Thundercat for the heavenly "Break the Law" ("I killed it like Jeffrey Dahmer killed the '80s"), which features Lil B as guest rapper and motivational speaker. Vinylz is the beatmaker for "Cut the Check" where Chief Keef joins for a stoned mix of trap and dub, plus the cut is dropped in the fourth quarter of an album that has no problem reaching 17 tracks. Getting sober and ridding himself of depression are topics that GO:OD AM touches upon, but rather than his past, the "show and prove" Miller is driven by his rebirth on an interesting and infectious LP that's also his strongest to date. ~ David Jeffries
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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released July 28, 2016 | Warner Bros.

Rap/Hip-Hop - Released September 9, 2016 | Warner Bros.

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released June 1, 2010 | Rostrum Records

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released October 28, 2016 | Warner Bros.

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released September 15, 2016 | Warner Bros.

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released May 17, 2011 | Rostrum Records

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released September 16, 2016 | Warner Bros.

Rap/Hip-Hop - Released June 30, 2014 | Rostrum Records

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released June 18, 2013 | Rostrum Records

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released July 23, 2018 | Warner Bros.

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released September 18, 2015 | Warner Bros.

Rap/Hip-Hop - Released November 15, 2011 | Rostrum Records

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released May 30, 2018 | Warner Bros.

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released April 12, 2012 | Rostrum Records

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released July 13, 2018 | Warner Bros.

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released March 26, 2013 | Rostrum Records