On a rare free afternoon, Mac Miller is making a late breakfast in his Brooklyn apartment. This morning’s menu consisted of light fare: tuna fish and coffee. “I’m just trying to hit all the food groups,” he says, laughing. “You know—protein, carbs.” A tuna sandwich with a cup of coffee is a Jewish deli staple, so it’s fitting choice for the newfound Brooklynite who moved to New York from Los Angeles last year.
Nothing satisfies quite like returning from a long trip and getting to sleep in your own bed, eat comfort food prepared the way you like it, and listen to the songs that help you unwind. After dropping his third studio album, GOOD:AM, the Pittsburgh-born rapper and producer spent almost three months on the road. He clocked an astounding 70 shows in 90 days. “When I get back from performing all the time, it’s nice to just have some music that is relaxing, and more thought-provoking than the turn up,” says Miller. For him, that means soul, jazz, funk, and hip-hop: Miles Davis, Stevie Wonder, A Tribe Called Quest, and D’Angelo.
“My favorite music is music that I can enjoy listening to. If it can put my mind at ease enough to fall asleep, that’s music I love,” he explains. As a kid, his parents kept music playing in the house often, and his dad played guitar. Their record collection provided Miller with the first music library at hand to explore, and like many younger siblings of the ’90s era, he looked to his older brother and MTV for additional guidance. “All the music that I like that’s coming out recently, I feel like it has influence from stuff I liked growing up.”
You can trace a similarly rich emotional palette through his current selects like the Internet, King Krule, and Frank Ocean. For Miller, hearing an artist put a new spin on an old sound is especially exciting. It’s what he likes most about Kanye’s self-described gospel album TLOP.
“I love the Kanye album. It feels good. He didn’t revert back to making something that sounds old. It’s still progressive. You can never be prepared for a Kanye album. They’re always something new, always something different.”
There’s also something to be said for the people that put him on to unexpected picks. He counts on friends from his former days living in L.A. to do that. “FlyLo and Thundercat happen to be friends of mine, but I always thought that ‘Heartbreaks + Setbacks’ could have been the biggest song in any country and could still be. It should be just huge. Lotus and Thundercat helped introduce me to a lot of really good musicians.” And new favorites don’t necessarily have to be new themselves. Miller explains that his manager Chris Clancy put him on to Billy Joel. “He told me to listen to ‘Vienna.’ He said that song is like therapy in a song. He’s definitely correct.”
Check out Mac Miller’s Post-Tour Homecoming Playlist below.
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