Recording information: Ameraycan Recording Studios, North Hollywood, CA; ID Labs, Pittsburgh, PA; Mac's Crib, Los Angels, CA; The Sanctuary, Studio City, CA; Village Studios, Los Angels, CA.
Mac Miller proved he had swagger with his 2011 debut Blue Slide Park, and then offered some artistic depth with his adventurous, reckless, and overly wandering sophomore release Watching Movies with the Sound Off. Learning from previous mistakes while retaining all that was good about his second LP, this third dispatch from the heart of Pittsburgh adds a slurry and mush-mouthed style that sounds like the confident Miller is now so laid-back, the words leaving his mouth are quite tired from their uphill climb. The great single "100 Grandkids" suggests it is actually a post-junkie style as "I swear to God, I put the 'hero' in heroin" blasts out loud and proud, although there's no doubting the wiser moments on this third album are all post-rehab and even prouder, as the quest for clarity is the rapper's current vice. Big baller "Brand Name" looks to beat the odds with "To everyone who sells me drugs, don't mix it with that bullshit/I'm tryin' not to join the 27 club" as it does the "American Ninja to these obstacles" with one of the numerous beats from the production team ID Labs, who have a newfound love of luminous soul music. Miller is still digging on the dreamy sound of cloud rap and brings in producers Drew Byrd and Thundercat for the heavenly "Break the Law" ("I killed it like Jeffrey Dahmer killed the '80s"), which features Lil B as guest rapper and motivational speaker. Vinylz is the beatmaker for "Cut the Check" where Chief Keef joins for a stoned mix of trap and dub, plus the cut is dropped in the fourth quarter of an album that has no problem reaching 17 tracks. Getting sober and ridding himself of depression are topics that GO:OD AM touches upon, but rather than his past, the "show and prove" Miller is driven by his rebirth on an interesting and infectious LP that's also his strongest to date. ~ David Jeffries