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Karl Ferguson

Mac Miller Talks Former Lean Addiction In VIBE Interview Before Death

In this 2013 interview with VIBE, the rapper shared his battle with lean and the making of his sophomore album, Watching Movies with the Sound Off.

Editor's Note: The following interview was published on June 17, 2013, just 24 hours before the release of Miller's stellar sophomore album, Watching Movies with the Sound Off. The rapper-songwriter was on top of the world with hit singles like "Donald Trump" and "S.D.E." In between the success of his debut album Blue Slide Park, the rapper's battle with depression and substance abuse became public. Centered and refocused, the then 21-year-old spoke with VIBE's former Senior Music Editor Mikey Fresh about his path. 

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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 my boy Jimmy finally decided to watch it and it just synced up perfectly.

Weren’t the scenes 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 on 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 away 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 are 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 (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.

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Netflix Pledges To Invest $100 Million Into Black Owned-Banks And Black Communities

As part of their “commitment to racial equality,” Netflix has pledged to invest $100 million into Black communities to help build economic opportunity.

"Going forward, Netflix is going to allocate two percent of our cash holdings - initially up to $100 million - into financial institutions and organizations that directly support Black communities in the U.S.,” Aaron Mitchell, director of talent and acquisition,  and Shannon Alwyn, treasury director, announced in a blog post on Tuesday (June 30).

The company will move $25 million into a newly established Black Economic Development Initiative managed by Local Initiative Support Corporation, a nonprofit community development financial organization that assists underserved communities. LISC will invest the money into “Black financial institutions serving low and moderate-income communities and Black community development corporations in the U.S.”

Additionally, Netflix plans to make a $10 million “transformational deposit” into Hope Credit Union to help boost “economic opportunity” in Black communities in the Deep South.

“This capital will fuel social mobility and opportunity in the low- and moderate-income communities these groups serve,” the company added. “We plan to redirect even more of our cash to Black-led and focused institutions as we grow, and we hope others will do the same.”

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August Alsina Stands By Comments About Jada Pinkett Smith

August Alsina isn’t done speaking up. The singer took to Instagram on Friday (July 3) to clarify a few things about his bombshell interview with Angela Yee.

“The journey to freedom is a deeply complex, tricky, and turbulent road to tow; yet very necessary,” begins the lengthy post.

The 27-year-old New Orleans native also spoke about oppression, and affirms his commitment to “transparency” and “truth,” no matter how hard things get. “Truth & Transparency makes us uncomfortable, yes, but I can’t apologize for that. A tower of truth can never fall, only a tower of lies can do that. My truth is MY truth, & [it's] mine to own. There is no right or wrong here, it simply just IS.”

Towards the end of the post, Alsina appears to directly address Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith. “My heart has no malice or hate toward anyone on this planet. I just simply want the chains off & I’m willing to DIE getting there. The gift of freedom is yours to have, God promises us that, but only if you’re willing & God is not a man that HE should lie.. & I’m His SON, so neither would I.

“With that being said,” he continued. “I should also say that, no one was side swiped by any conversation, everyone got courtesy calls time in advance. Wishing Everyone Big Love!”

The Smiths have denied Alsina’s claims that he had an affair with Jada with Will's permission. On Thursday (July 2), Jada announced that she will be booking herself on Red Table Talk, presumably to address the rumors.

Read Alsina's full Instagram post below.

 

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God said, We may grow weary and tired fighting in the fire, but we shall NOT be burned! The journey to freedom is a deeply complex, tricky, and turbulent road to tow; yet very necessary. Oppression comes in so many forms these days, beginning w/ physical slavery and bondage to the white man, then passed down generational programming that manifest into mental enslavement. Slaves to an idea, slaves to an image, slaves to a code of conduct, slaves to a picture you’ve created in your mind.. even if it contains many falsities.. & anything that differentiates from your “idea” & “image” feels like an attack. & I get it; not only do i get it but I’m also sorry you feel that way, BUT, The only attack here is against the invisible walls of silent societal construct and “code” we place upon each other & upon ourselves hidden behind the desires of others approval & acceptance; another form of slavery & bondage that blocks one’s truest self from showing & spirit flow. Be blocked and stuck for what? Live silent, pressed down crippled in fear for who ? Adversary is but a gift given to you to flourish. We are surround by so much disharmony in this external world, so it is my forever job to do whatever’s necessary to reach the gift of harmony within myself. Truth & Transparency makes us uncomfortable, yes, but i can’t apologize for that. A tower of truth can never fall, only a tower of lies can do that. My truth is MY truth, & its mine to own. There is no right or wrong here, it simply just IS. & I make room and have acceptance for your thoughts and opinions, regardless if I agree or not, you have that freedom to feel WHATEVER it is u feel because when you’re at TRUE peace, all of the noise and chatter becomes that of a whisper. My heart has no malice or hate toward anyone on this planet. I just simply want the chains off & I’m willing to DIE getting there. The gift of freedom is yours to have, God promises us that, but only if you’re willing. &God is not a man that HE should lie.. & I’m His SON, so neither would I. 🙏🏽 W/ that being said i should also say that, no one was side swiped by any conversation, everyone got courtesy calls time in advance. Wishing Everyone Big Love!

A post shared by Yungin' (@augustalsina) on Jul 3, 2020 at 1:12pm PDT

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Jay Z’s Team Roc Demands Arrest Of Milwaukee Cop Who Killed 3 People

Team Roc, the social justice sector under Jay Z’s Roc Nation imprint, is demanding the arrest and prosecution of a Milwaukee cop who shot and killed three people of color, including a Black teenage boy, over the last five years.

The organization took out a full-page ad in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Thursday (July 2), calling for the arrest of Officer Joseph Mensah. “Let us start off with a simple question,” reads the letter addressed to Milwaukee County D.A. John Chisolm.“How many more people must die at the hands of Officer Joseph Mensah? Since joining the Wauwatosa Police Department in 2015, Mensah has shot and killed three men of color — Alvin Cole, Antonio Gonzales and Jay Anderson — with an excessive total of NINETEEN fired shots. His actions demonstrate an utter disregard for the lives of these young men.”

The letter goes on to state that the police department’s failure to enforce body cameras, and “failure to preserve video evidence” has impeded numerous investigations. “We are calling for your office to prosecute Mensah to ensure that he never kills anyone again, and to immediately outfit all of our police officers with body cameras. It is your responsibility to do the right thing, hold Mensah accountable for his actions and protect Wauwatosa citizens from further tragedy.”

Cole, the youngest of the shooting victims, was killed in February. Wauwatosa Police Chief Barry Weber claims that the 17 year old fired a gun at officers “before the police officer fired theirs.”

Gonzales, 29, was killed in July 2015, because he refused to drop a sword. At the time, police were responding to a 911 call placed by a homeowner who claimed Gonzales was intoxicated and behaving erratically.

Anderson, a 25-year-old father, was shot and killed while sitting in his car at about 3 a.m. on June 23, 2016. Mensah claimed that Anderson reached for a gun as he approached the vehicle. Prosecutors decided that Mensah acted in self defense, but have since agreed to review the case.

“I would like to see him do some time for the killings he has done,” Anderson's mother said of Mensah. “It is not norma to kill three people. He is a murderer."

Read Team Roc's full letter below.

JAY-Z's Team Roc calls for the prosecution of police officer who has killed 3 men of color

The social justice sector of Roc Nation wrote an open letter in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel to Milwaukee DA @DAJohnChisholm,calling for the firing & prosecution of officer Joseph Mensah pic.twitter.com/RvDfh7jSCV

— JAY-Z Daily (@JAY_Z_Daily) July 2, 2020

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