Alternative | Hip-Hop | R&B | Rap
Now this is arguably the most unique reviews I’ve done, as the circumstances behind the release of the Mac Miller mixtape titled Faces, is a little all-over-the-place.
I was one of those who were unfortunate enough to only really discover Pittsburgh rap artist Mac Miller shortly before his passing in 2018. In roughly a tear and a half following this, fans received one of the most impactful posthumous albums to ever be released; that of course being 2020’s Circles.
Fast forward to 2021, and we get what seemed like Mac Miller’s second posthumous project. And on the initial viewing, given the lengthy duration of over 90 minutes, a tracklist of 25 songs, and the fact that it was seemingly the second posthumous project, I felt somewhat skeptical that Faces would be as much of a genuine homage to Mac Miller as the likes of Circles. But before I went ahead and made any assumptions about this mixtape, I wanted to do some research first.
What I ended up finding surprised me. It turned out that Faces was actually independently released as a free download way back in 2014. Released on the 11th May (the American date for Mother’s Day), this mixtape reflected Miller’s relationship with his own mother, as well as the rappers battle with drug addiction. It was only now, in late 2021, that the mixtape was re-released on streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music.
So if this is technically no a new release, you may be asking yourself why I would be writing a review about Faces at all. There are two reasons; the first is that I personally hadn’t heard this project before, so its new to me. The second reason, however, is the most important; given that Faces has been re-released following Mac Miller’s passing, it adds a whole new, albeit a heartbreaking new layer to the mixtape.
What was once lyrics that reflected Mac Miller’s drug addiction and the fears surrounding his mental health, now stand as a haunting realisation that those same feelings, and said addiction, had actually taken hold. And given the very hefty tracklist that this mixtape provides, there’s certainly a lot to unpack.
Lyrics such as “I should’ve died already” on the opening track “Inside Outside”, or “it’s the last day of my life” on the track “Funeral” really strike a nerve, given the newfound context behind this mixtape, and whilst the more intentional nature behind an album like circles packs a greater punch, Faces still serves as a slow-burning homage to the life of Mac Miller; one that fans miss dearly.
On the surface, this mixtape serves as a quantity over quality situation. Given how it was released prior, I feel like Faces could’ve had a few songs cut out here and there. But the more I get to discover about this incredible artist, the better. And with that, Faces packs enough impact to make it seem like an intentionally and genuinely posthumous release through and through.
Favourite Tracks: Angel Dust | Funeral | Insomniak | Thumbalina
Least Favourite Track: San Francisco
McCormick Family Trust | Warner Records
Enjoyment: 7/10 | Memorability: 8/10 | Atmosphere: 9/10
Uniqueness: 8/10 | Satisfaction: 7/10 | Narrative: 9/10