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VIBE Interview: Mac Miller On His New Album 'Watching Movies': 'I Just Did What I Wanted'

Mac Miller is 21-years-old, rich and currently calls the Hollywood Hills home. His debut album Blue Slide Park, which was released in 2011, became the first independent album to debut at the top of the Billboard charts since Snoop Dogg’s Doggystyle. On top of that, his first reality show, Mac Miller and The Most Dope Family, became the highest rated original debut series on MTV2 and is coming back for a second season.

“I want to take it to the next level,” Mac tells VIBE about reality TV. “I want to get it weirder, and now that we had the number one show, I think we have some pull. I think MTV trusts me now. I actually first told them I wanted to do a countdown show that plays music videos. Imagine what I would have played.”

In reality, though, it’s just about the music for the PA native. On the last Friday afternoon before his album officially hits iTunes and retailers, Mac is holed up in a suite at the Gansevoort Hotel in Manhattan. He’s finishing up a long week of press before the release, and asks if we can conduct the interview while he gets a fresh cut to save time. This project is Mac’s most experimental yet. He shied away from the radio friendly tracks and party jams that littered his debut. Even the title, Watching Movies With The Sound Off, initially left fans scratching their heads. Did Mac lose his mind? Is he on drugs? Maybe. But his goal is to expand his musical palette with this project. The formula for another trip to number one was right there in front of him, but the kid wasn’t trying to hear that either. Forget everything you thought you knew about Mac Miller.

When you played the album at your New York listening session, you had the “Turtle” movie playing along with it (Watch it here). We honestly didn’t know what to think at first. How the hell did you find that movie?
The turtle taught me so much [Laughs]. Well, Clockwork (Mac’s DJ) did shrooms… and told me about this movie. At first I just kind of brushed it off. At the time I was searching for the perfect movie to play with the sound off with the album. The day before the listening session in New York I was still looking for the perfect one. Originally, I was just going to chop up a bunch of different movie parts. But me and and my boy Jimmy finally decided to watch it and it just synced up perfectly.

The scenes weren’t cut or edited?
Nope, it was scary how perfect it synced up. How crazy is it that the scenes from the movie switch when the songs switch? When Loaded Lux was dissing me, the waves were crashing. And then I started rapping after that the sunlight was coming up. When Jay Electronica was rapping there was chaos everywhere. It was crazy as hell. The movie is called Turtle: The Incredible Journey. I just clicked to a random part and started watching it, and it worked perfectly. It was kind of creepy. Jimmy almost cried like four times.

During the listening you also said that Tyler, the Creator told you that the album was too dark. Sonically, it's pretty much a complete 360 from Blue Slide Park.
It’s just that the whole album was made in this closed off environment with the doors shut. No natural light. All the lights in the studio were red. It looked like an opium den. I had a certain way of life during the beginning, but at a certain point I finally opened the door and let natural light in, and I started working in the day. And the album needed those speckles of light. The album process was grueling but I wanted it to be like that. I wanted to go insane over it.

I remember hearing you say that you barely left your new house in L.A. during the recording process. Did you purposely lock yourself way from everyone for this album?
Pretty much. I just hung out with whoever would come through to the studio. That’s all I did. If you wanted to see me in the last 9 months, you came to the studio and I was probably a little zombified. You probably wouldn’t get a lot of eye contact, and you would be like ‘what the fuck is going on?’ But I had it together [Laughs].

You threw people a curveball when you dropped those jazzy Larry Lovestein records and random instrumentals. I think you had certain fans thinking ‘Is he depressed, heartbroken? What’s going on?’
I think I just stopped caring about how things were perceived. I just did what I wanted and didn’t care if people didn’t understand. This is what I want to make right now.

Was there anything going on in your life? J. Cole was just saying how he was depressed at certain points during the last year and wrote himself out of it with his Born Sinner album.
I definitely had my bad days, but everyone goes through depressed days. It’s common. My thing is to not run from it. When you feel sad it’s okay. It’s not the end of the world. Everyone has those days when you doubt yourself, and when you feel like everything you do sucks, but then there’s those days when you feel like Superman. It’s just the balance of the world. I just write to feel better.

I wanted to ask you about your battle with Promethazine (aka Lean). I think a lot of your younger fans probably don’t understand how powerful opiate addiction is.
It’s rough. I went through depression and all that, but I was straight. I mean you can ask the people on my team, and they’ll tell you it was serious… but you’re talking to the person that was doing the drugs, so of course I’ll be like ‘it wasn’t that serious.’ I know that I have an addictive personality, and it’s not always a substance. I’m addicted to something at all times. Like it’s always music but maybe sometimes it’s a pair of pants or something else. That’s just how my personality works. When I kicked Lean, I was always thirsty. Not like for pussy, but I just wanted something to drink all the times that would make me feel good. So for a while I just started drinking heavy liquor but I wasn’t going to become an alcoholic. It was just for the transition. It’s different for everyone, but I didn’t have this fuckin’ crazy battle to get off it. I just didn’t feel like sippin’ anymore.

How do you think it affected your music?
My music was getting to the point where you couldn’t even understand what I was saying on records anymore. I was just like mumbling. I loved it but then I was like ‘Oh, having energy is cool.’ I remember my homies would come up to me after I got off and they’d be like ‘I know you don’t want to hear this, but you can perform again.’ So it affects you… but I don’t really know how serious it was. The people around me probably do…

CLICK HERE TO READ PAGE 2 OF MAC'S INTERVIEW

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HBO Wants Court To Dismiss $100 Million Lawsuit Filed By Michael Jackson’s Estate

HBO wants a California court to toss a $100 million lawsuit brought on by Michael Jackson’s estate over the Leaving Neverland documentary. In a motion for dismissal filed Friday (Aug. 16), the cable network alleged that the estate's lawsuit violates the First Amendment.

“Plaintiffs’ claims fail because they violate the First Amendment, Due Process Clause and public policy, and in any event, the contract on which they are based is inapplicable and expired,” the motion states.

“California’s Anti-SLAPP law empowers—indeed requires—this Court to put an end to this litigation now,” the document continues.  “Accordingly, the Court should strike Plaintiffs’ Petition and claims with prejudice, and award attorneys’ fees and costs to HBO pursuant to the anti-SLAPP law’s mandatory attorneys’ fees clause for prevailing defendants.”

The Jackson Estate sued HBO in February, ahead of Leaving Neverland’s March premiere. In the Emmy-nominated documentary, accusers Wade Robson and James Safechuck, claim Jackson sexually abused them when they were boys.  The estate argues that the documentary breached a 1992 non-disparagement agreement between the network and Jackson, who died in 2009.

HBO’s motion maintains that the “only possible reason why Plaintiffs filed their Petition in court was to attract maximum attention to their public relations campaign against Leaving Neverland and the documentary subjects.”

In a statement to Deadline, a rep for Jackson’s estate slammed the network’s allegations. “There is no expiration term in the contract, nor does it terminate as a matter of law. Likewise, the First Amendment does not protect HBO from willfully and blatantly violating its contractual obligations, as it did here. The Estate of Michael Jackson is confident that HBO’s latest attempt to avoid its contractual obligations will fail.”

A hearing in the case is scheduled for Sept. 19.

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California Woman Claims School Bully Left Son With Permanent Brain Damage

A Southern California mom says her son suffered permanent brain damage after a violent run-in with a bully, CBS Los Angeles reports.  The woman, identified only as “Sarah” to protect her and her son’s identity, is suing Animo Westside Charter Middle School in Playa Vista, California, over a 2018 altercation in which her son was attacked by a bully and placed in the school office for several minutes before paramedics were called.

Footage of the altercation was caught on the school’s surveillance cameras and appears to show her 12-year-old son getting off the bus before being approached by a larger student. The apparent bully punched her son and put him in a chokehold.

Ben Meiselas, a lawyer representing the family, claims the bully did a YouTube search for “the most painful pressure points on the neck” prior to altercation. A school staff member can also be seen walking by as the boy is being attacked. The boy is eventually brought inside the school.

Staff members realize that the boy is hurt and take him into the school’s main office to lay him on the floor. The boy suffered a seizure in the office, and lost consciousness twice, the lawsuit states. School officials are also accused of failing to call paramedics for several minutes.

“By the time I get there, I’m thinking paramedics [arrived] and he’s going to have help,” said the boy’s mother. “My son is literally laying there still in the middle of the office floor completely black and blue.”

Despite viewing video of the altercation, the school district has yet to apologize to the victim and his mother, Meiselas said. “The fact that they can watch that video and not so much offer an apology is really, really, really disgusting.”

See more in the video below.

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Jay-Z To Reportedly Become Part Owner Of NFL Team

It’s been a whirlwind few days for Jay-Z and the NFL, and it seems that the relationship could run deeper than their recently announced partnership. According to TMZ Sports, Jay is in line to own a “significant” portion of an NFL team.

Although it's unclear which team he plans to purchase, a source told the website that the deal is expected to be secured in the “near future.” The Brooklyn native allegedly wants to buy into a team because he’s a “huge fan” of the league, and already works in the business by way of his Roc Nation Sports imprint.

The source added that Hov “wants to continue to be a change agent for the NFL,” and that the deal doesn't conflict with him owning a sports agency because he's not involved in the “operations of NFL players” on the Roc Nation roster.

Jay previously owned a small stake in the Brooklyn Nets, which he sold in 2013. The timing of the potential team purchase comes as Jay continues to receive backlash after formally announcing his collaboration with the league. The decision to partner with the NFL was “partially motivated” by Jay’s desire to own a team, according to Bleacher Report.

During a press conference alongside NFL commissioner Roger Goodell earlier in the week, Jay was asked if Colin Kapernick (who remains without a job in the NFL after launching a protest against police brutality) knew about the partnership. Jay initially told reporters that he spoke with Kapernick about working with the NFL but the athlete's girlfriend, radio personality Nessa, denied that the conversation took place. She also expressed her disappointment with how the partnership is being promoted.

“The disappointment in Jay-Z isn’t in the partnership. The disappointment is wrapping it in social justice,” Nessa told Hot 97 Wednesday (Aug. 14). “I don’t mind you doing a business deal, but I do mind you wrapping it in social justice when you’re working with an organization that denies someone an opportunity.”

 

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