Mac Miller was far and beyond ahead of the curve during the early stages of his career. Not just when it came to his musical skill, but the way he chose to rollout and his release his music, taking advantage of a still adolescent YouTube platform in the early 2010s. After gaining the world’s attention with his breakout mixtape K.I.D.S. (which is now available for streaming), all eyes were on him, a goofy, white, teenage rapper from Pittsburgh with something to prove.
Mac knew exactly how to connect with a whole wide range of kids. If you were in school around the same time these tapes were coming out, you know exactly what I mean. Everyone was either listening to, hearing of, or (let’s be real) hating on Mac Miller. He was the buzz, and this led the follow up to K.I.D.S. to be one of the most hyped projects of his whole career, even today.
Shortly after being featured on XXL’s ultra-coveted Freshman Class issue in early 2011, Mac Miller dropped “Donald Trump.” This tune alone would end up being a massive milestone. Not only would it be his debut on the US Billboard Hot 100—an achievement in its own right—but it would go on to be his first ever platinum record, achieving official RIAA certification on March 19, 2013. A week after the release of “Donald Trump,” Mac would deliver Best Day Ever, a 16-track mixtape that would truly solidify his meteoric rise into the hip-hop limelight. Once it became available on (the now archaic mixtape site) DatPiff, fans literally crashed the site trying to get their free download.
There were a few particularly special moments on this project that really helped boost his legitimacy. Before Mac had even dropped K.I.D.S., he was signed to Rostrum Records, a breeding ground for hip-hop stardom in Pittsburgh, championed by Wiz Khalifa. At the time, Wiz had already secured his legacy with projects that dated back to 2006. Even though they had similar fan bases, it wasn’t until Best Day Ever that Mac officially received the co-sign from his label mate in the form of a guest verse on “Keep Floatin’,” an aptly written weed-smoking ballad. This was perfectly timed, as Wiz, just two weeks later, would go on to drop his most successful album at the time, Rolling Papers.
While most of Best Day Ever was similar to K.I.D.S. in a few different ways, it was impossible to deny the increase in maturity in Mac’s songwriting. This is perhaps most evident in one of the most cherished songs on the mixtape, and still a favorite after so many years, “BDE Bonus.” Just when you think the project is concludes with the fading out of “Keep Floatin’,” small, synthesizer blips reel you back in for a laidback reprise of the opening title track, “Best Day Ever.” Even though it features the same lyrics, the reflections of his success hit differently here, given that the weight of the project is now off of his shoulders. Big props to ID Labs here (the main producer on the album), who managed to create two entirely different feelings out of the same track.
Looking back, Best Day Ever was ultimately an extension of the carefree, teenage, party lifestyle that Mac illustrated on K.I.D.S. in 2010. Today, it’s something fans can revisit when they’re looking for a heavy dose of nostalgia. It’s more than just that for Mac Miller, though. This was a highly scrutinized, young artist taking on the world of hip-hop at the age of 19 and delivering a project that millions of people connected with, and still do to this day.
Mac Miller – Best Day Ever