Mac Miller: NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert

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Aug. 6, 2018 | Bobby Carter -- There was a shift in Mac Miller's boisterous demeanor as he started the third of his three-song Tiny Desk set. It's the first time he's performed tracks from his new album, Swimming, in front of an audience. On "2009," he rubbed his chin with clinched eyes, looking like a young man who's beginning to crack the code. Backed by a piano loop and a string quartet, he reflected on his journey's peaks and valleys thus far. I ain't asking why no more I know I'll take it if it's mine I don't stay inside the lines It ain't 2009 no more Yeah, I know what's behind that door With nearly a decade under his belt at 26 years old, these words ring like an artist twice his age. We were introduced to Mac Miller via 2011's XXL Freshman Class, which featured a special crop of MCs such as Kendrick Lamar, Meek Mill and YG, all of whom are now considered in the upper echelon of hip-hop. After his big splash, he's been able to find a groove and consistently release quality rap records, ultimately keeping his name in the conversation with the other young greats. His 2011 album, Blue Slide Park, reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200, the first independently distributed debut album to do so since 1995's Dogg Food by Tha Dogg Pound. These consecutive triumphs amassed plenty of fame, fortune and insurmountable obstacles, causing a stumble here and there. Throughout the years, however, Mac has brushed himself off and put it in the music. For this performance, Mac Miller invited frequent collaborator Thundercat, who graced the Tiny Desk last year and will join Mac on tour this fall. Thundercat put on a dazzling shaker routine and played the deep centerpiece bass line on "What's The Use?" These Swimming iterations don't veer far away from the recorded versions, but here, his lyrics seem easier to interpret under live instrumentation. Set List "Small Worlds" "What's the Use? (Feat. Thundercat)" "2009" Musicians Mac Miller (Vocals), Thundercat (Bass), Justus West (Guitar), Klynik (Keys), Joe Cleveland (Bass), Kendall Lewis (Drums), Robin Fay-Massie (Violin), YaShauna Swan (2nd Violin), Lelia Walker (Viola), Melanie Hsu (Cello) Credits Producers: Bobby Carter, Morgan Noelle Smith; Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Morgan Noelle Smith, CJ Riculan, Beck Harlan, Khun Minn Ohn; Production Assistants: Catherine Zhang, Téa Mottolese; Photo: Eslah Attar/NPR.

Comments from Youtube

HaikesXO : Is it normal to watch this everyday ?

Chloe Price : Came here after witnessing Mac getting robbed of 'best rap album', as disappointing as it was to see, Swimming is a piece of art and we never needed a dumb award to know that. Mac truly cared about his music, and I'm sure he would feel the same. RIP Mac x

Mike Druce : Kinda weird how this kinda reminds me of Kurt's MTV unplugged show before his death. RIP mac.

Chris Schmitt : "Wish i took a simpler route. Instead of demons thats as big as my house." That one little verse means so much. Doesnt matter how big the house is. How much drugs you have. How many people around you. Doesn't matter how broke or rich you are, we all deal with depression and demons of all shapes and sizes. The kindest people always fighting the worst demons. RIP man.... Hope you never suffer again...

John G : This has to be one of my favorite musical performances.

Saralton Moore : Damn bruh this feels like I lost one of my friends that I grew up with

Kylie Shippee : when 2009 started playing, I started crying

Navraj Gill : this thundercat guy's pretty good on that shaker. he should get into music

Anthony A : At 9:40 the keyboardist hears Thundercat’s incredible ad-libbed riff and just rolls his eyes at how good Thundercat is. Replayed that reaction 10 times.

Ted Morgan : The way Mac acts makes everybody around him seem like a little kid too, the man was pure happiness.

Connor Reid : I was 11 in 2009. My dad had just come out as gay n I was in year 6 at school. The kids werent nice before then but everything changed that year, I told my best friend about what was going on at home and she told everyone else in an attempt to make fun of me n get more recognition from the rest of the kids. The next three years were hell. Getting physically fucked up for what my dad liked, getting interrogated about my sexuality in English class, and spending my lunches and recess' just wandering alone listening to mac and just trying to avoid the kids who made my life shit. But to this day I look back on those years as what shaped me into the man I am today and I can't thank you enough for that mac. You'll be in my ears and heart forever. Much love. Rip mac. It definetly ain't 2009 no more.

Emil Gjertsen : 0:00 Small worlds 5:42 Whats the use? 11:41 2009 rip mac :(

# 63G774298 : This video was in my recommended list. I heard of Mac Miller but never heard him. I thought i remember hearing about him passing. I clicked on the video. It felt like we were having a conversation, just us. By the end, i wanted more. I'm sad that i missed his star fly by.

Jeremy Joel : Still can't believe Cardi Won the Grammy over Mac... The disrespect.

Georg : I dreamt that I saw him live in a small venue last night. I love you Mac and I love whoever reads this! Have a good day please!

Mike Woodland : I'm a 42 year old man-never heard of this guy before, not usually my kind of music, but one of the kids where i work was listening to this in the parking lot. 2009 stuck in my head all day, so when i got home, i had to find out who this guy is. Broke my heart to hear that someone so young and unbelievably talented came to such a tragic end. My heart goes out to his family and friends, he seemed like a really good guy. Rest in peace.

Jesus Espinosa : vince staples played this video at the end of his setlist and there was not a dry eye in the whole venue. such an amazing tribute for such an amazing soul. RIP Mac.

Drew Birnbaum : I watch this at least once a week and 7:45 NEVER FAILS to give me chills. The incredible bass riff as well as Mac’s reaction just gets me every time. Rest Easy Malcolm. Everyone misses you.

Hernán Zarazua : To the one who spoke at 10:36 bless your soul.

surviver1175 : Mac Miller was a true poet in modern day. I just sit and absorb his lyrics and it opens up the craziest feelings in my head. Feelings of hope and wonder that it's hard for me to feel normally. Thank you Mac for everything you created.

Ben Ranney : I can't understate how much cooler live hip-hop is when they have an actual band with them

Steve stevenson : It's amazing to see during 2009 towards the last verse. Everyone just vibing. Knowing that at the moment nothing else mattered. The last chorus you there is a full screen shot and you you see everyone bobbing their heads and just feeling the music. Everyone was at a different place in 2009. Yet here they are playing a song they only rehearsed 20 minutes before. Beautiful. Rest In Peace Kid.

Prohdeen : SWIMMING is one of the most beautiful masterpieces i have came across. Makes me sad thinking there is no chance I can see him live. But still, Thank you Mac. RIP.

Andrew Know : Still today. Seeing everyone in the comments. The love shared. The stories told. Rest easy Mac, we miss you man.

Chase Fleming : Best NPR performance that will ever happen. Miss him everyday

ASAP Mangos : "no one ever told me being rich would be this lonely"

Khary Robertson : Everyone in this performance looked like they enjoyed it so much, that was a great second the the awesome set.

Viktor Kolev : Keep your eyes to the skies Never glued to your shoes...

Noharu Turner : Can someone explain that riff at 9:59, music theory wise. It sounds like a mode but I can't. It's so Thundercat

Kylie Shippee : 2009 gives me chills and tears awh mac :(

Chris Waterkotte : Hasn’t stopped raining in Pittsburgh since he passed...

Elton Gordon : I watch this whenever I’m having a bad day

Maria Emilia Castillo : He was smiling, that smile was beautiful, we miss you, rest in peace man.

vancity3030 : 2009 gets me every time. No shame in these tears.

MrSkinnyboy125 : It hits you again and again that this soul is no longer on this plane wishing him well wherever he is...

FaZe Teeqo : Every day. Every day I come here <3

bonifacio Marquez : I come here daily and listen to this masterpiece, I wish i would of known about him sooner, I literally just started listening to his music, wish i would of know about him sooner.

Zachary Barnes : So glad he opened with Small Worlds. Most underrated song on the album. The monologue at the end always hits me

Kyle Reith : What an artist. Miss you man. R.i.P cannot listen to 2009 without shedding a tear.

OBREY _ : I think Mac’s goal was to get people to celebrate life and not fear death.

Wobblez : It's your 27th birthday. I woke up this morning and came straight to this performance. Thank you for your positivity, talent, and introspectiveness. Rest easy King.

oxXBubbleXxo : it gets better and better with every time i listen to it one of the all time greatest

Lutz Teichmann : Dafuq how groovy is this. DAMN this song at 06:00, RIP legend.

CLenz95 : I've never been into rap, but I really thank you for leaving this piece of art with us man. See you sometime...

Victor Espinoza : I can't stay away from this performance, thank you Mac it always makes me feel happy 😎

Alan Macalma : Who else came here to pay their respects. Rest In Peace!

Connor Fratz : Swimming was a piece of art bruh. A classic no doubt. And not even because he died but he literally put his emotions into sound. Rest In Peace Mac❤

Pastello_666 : Don't really know why but since he died I wasn't able to listen to any song by him for more than like 5 seconds. It's like running away from it everytime. I guess i don't wanna agree with his passing. Makes me sad everytime. Can't really be happy listening anymore.

Miguel Dejesus : Vince Staples plays this video at the end of his show and it’s heartbreaking.