Lesson 1: You don't have to sign a deal with the biggest rapper on the planet in order to get enough buzz to release an album.
We get why a lot of young rappers do what they do. And we get why they'd want to get Kanye West or Jay-Z or one of the other big-name rappers out there to sign them to their label. That cosign immediately gives them a leg up on their competition. In theory, at least. But the truth is that a cosign like that often forces people to place unfair expectations on artists. As a result, many of them fail to live up to their hype. Mac Miller did just the opposite. He very easily could have clung to his fellow Pittsburgh MC Wiz Khalifa or some other big artist. But instead, he ventured out, built up his buzz, and ultimately, got to do things his way. That's the advantage you have when you do things on your own.