“Slow it down, we goin’ out with a bang. Are you ready for the fireworks?” Mac Miller asks on his 2014 track “Grand Finale.” After 7 years, Miller’s widely acclaimed 2014 mixtape, “Faces,” landed on all streaming platforms for the first time on Oct. 15.
The mixtape, which wasn't previously available for streaming due to sample clearance issues, was originally released for free online without any help from major record labels, and quickly became a fan-favorite. Now, its reemergence lends a hand from above to Miller’s fans who have been waiting for the chance to add it to their Spotify and Apple Music playlists and bask in the familiar voice of the late rapper.
As the follow-up to his sophomore studio album, “Watching Movies with the Sound Off,” Miller produced the 19-track project himself, under his producer alias “Larry Fisherman.” His artistic production was a transitory period in his discography. A sort of death of the artist he was previously and a rebirth into the artist he became for the rest of his career.
“Colors and Shapes” is accompanied by a music video directed by Sam Mason and is a childlike scene with objects from Miller’s childhood, and depicts the heartwarming, yet heartbreaking, image of growing up.
“Faces” was the most pivotal moment in the trajectory of Miller’s life and career, and its availability on streaming services offers a window of nostalgia for his long-time fans, and one of newfound perspective and connection to the rapper for others. It is one of the most introspective, vulnerable and dark bodies of work from the late rapper.
In this project, the then-22-year-old portrays heightened self-awareness as he openly discussed his battle with drugs, broken relationships and handling the devastating reality that fame was not what he had hoped it would be. Above all else, the lyrics and concepts are chilling in hindsight after his accidental drug overdose that caused his death in 2018.
The mixtape’s opening line begins with Miller rapping, “I shoulda died already/Came in, I was high already/E'rybody trippin' that my mind ain't steady/For my sin, shoulda been crucified already.”
Miller’s legacy has continued to remain prominent in the music industry and he has been solidified as an important and beloved cultural figure. In fact, when Young Thug’s “Punk” was released on the same day “Faces” hit streaming platforms, fans were over the moon to see Miller featured on the album, giving a day for all Miller fans, old and new, to reminisce in the artist’s sound, old and new.
Young Thug later revealed that their track “Day Before” was actually recorded the day before Miller’s death. “I think deep on that, because it’s like, is that a sign? At some point you want to know. At some point it’s like, have you ever just wished God could really just talk to you?” Young Thug said.
Miller grew exponentially as an artist with each project he released until the time of his death, and there's no telling the ceilings he may have shattered if he had more time. His final album before his death, “Swimming,” was granted his first Grammy Awards nomination in 2019 for Best Rap Album, and his posthumous record “Circles” is critically acclaimed as some of his best work.
While “Faces” is not new, the late artist is putting on a final firework show for his fans, and he truly did go out with a bang.