Mac Miller: NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert

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  • Published on:  Wednesday, August 8, 2018
  • Watch Mac Miller play "Small Worlds", "What's the Use? (Feat. Thundercat)" and "2009" at the Tiny Desk.

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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)"

    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)

    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.


  • NPR Music
    NPR Music  a years ago +3868

    Read our Mac Miller remembrance, which includes illustrations from the Tiny Desk, here:

  • Joaco Drumms
    Joaco Drumms  an hour ago

    I want to know the name of the second song at 6:00

  • David Atwell
    David Atwell  an hour ago

    Why was this guy famous?

  • skinny buns
    skinny buns  2 hours ago


  • Mark Faaita
    Mark Faaita  3 hours ago

    It's so wild rewatching this after watching the tribute.

  • Chelsey
    Chelsey  4 hours ago

    the world is so smalllllllllllllllllllllllllll til it aint

  • Luca D
    Luca D  5 hours ago +1

    Honestly I still can’t believe he’s gone. RIP Malcom - a special soul❤️

  • Caio Zanin
    Caio Zanin  5 hours ago


  • Dylan Hagsauce
    Dylan Hagsauce  7 hours ago

    guy is awesome

  • i like you
    i like you  7 hours ago

    RIP:( Wish I listened to your music earlier

  • Yaret Agnel
    Yaret Agnel  8 hours ago

    and a month later he was gone, damn

  • JayAskingQuestions
    JayAskingQuestions  9 hours ago +1

    It’s always good to visit this particular video 😊

  • Clash Com Asafe
    Clash Com Asafe  11 hours ago

    Rip Mac miller

  • Reese
    Reese  11 hours ago

    Just checking in to chill with you Mac 🖤 hope you’re minding yourself up there, Live Free.

  • Mongro Harris
    Mongro Harris  12 hours ago +1

    What a fucking privilege it must have been to see this live I have never related to a rapper as much as I have mac Miller he kept it real unlike most other rappers nower days rip mac your truly missed by millions of people

  • Jimmy Tango
    Jimmy Tango  12 hours ago

    This is barely mediocre. Even for hip-hop. Paid professionals working their a%%%s off to make this junky bleating sound like music - and it still can't be done. "When I', movin' I don't got a spare second" - some deep wisdom right there. I don't care if he died twice - this is garbage.

  • Paritossh Sukumar
    Paritossh Sukumar  12 hours ago

    I'm like the guy on the Keys in the back, between @2:30 and 2:40 EVERY.TIME.I.SEE.THIS.VIDEO

  • jpnatnight
    jpnatnight  15 hours ago

    why thundercat look like a gta online character 😭

  • Chris Graham
    Chris Graham  15 hours ago

    Soulful music just know you touched so many of us #LONGLIVEMACMILLER

  • mike harrington
    mike harrington  21 hours ago

    makes me happy every time i listen to this.. rip