Mac Miller: NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert

  • Published on Aug 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.
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Comments • 27 616

  • NPR Music
    NPR Music  Year ago +5099

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

  • Shannon McDonough
    Shannon McDonough 12 minutes ago

    Mac better than meek mill and all Dem cats who came out same year as Mac

  • Shannon McDonough
    Shannon McDonough 13 minutes ago

    Happy Belated Birthday Mac Man

  • Fernando Iturburu
    Fernando Iturburu Hour ago +1

    this is art!

  • Enzo Morawski
    Enzo Morawski 2 hours ago

    Music is a beautiful thing!

  • Jean Freitas III
    Jean Freitas III 3 hours ago

    Rip Mac

  • Gabe Copley
    Gabe Copley 5 hours ago +1

    He's got a pain in his eyes you can see it mac been A1 since day one with you you're gone but never forgotten

  • david ruiz
    david ruiz 5 hours ago


  • NotM1K3
    NotM1K3 5 hours ago

    I was never really even a mac miller fan but this made me feel some type of way

  • Italo Vincenzo Scarafone Leon

    Come here today, the feeling is the same as the first time I saw this vid

  • Julio Cascavita
    Julio Cascavita 7 hours ago

    I miss u

  • Whoops
    Whoops 8 hours ago

    This version of 2009 is one of the most beautiful things i've ever heard.

  • Oof
    Oof 10 hours ago

    That chord progression at 9:46 was smooth af

  • Luciano Barreira
    Luciano Barreira 11 hours ago

    use drugs with moderation, kids. We don't want to miss you

  • Snoi
    Snoi 12 hours ago

    Mac, we miss you. Share a drink with Eyedea for us. We all miss you both dearly...

  • Kmel Beatz
    Kmel Beatz 15 hours ago +1

    That last song was touchin 💪🏾

  • Missa E.
    Missa E. 16 hours ago

    00:00 Small World
    5:40 What’s the use
    11:37 2009

  • DPC
    DPC 18 hours ago

    Aww he paraplegic?

  • Ceese 908
    Ceese 908 18 hours ago +1

    Every time 2009 starts the tears don’t stop

  • tia muller
    tia muller 20 hours ago

    if only Mac miller and Amy Winehouse still alive and do duets together..

  • Una Sebastian
    Una Sebastian 21 hour ago

  • christian
    christian Day ago +3

    imagine if mac had the chance to come back to perform some singles off circles

  • trevor woodhead
    trevor woodhead Day ago

    9:41 that face when thundercat hits the hard bass part

  • SweFalcon
    SweFalcon Day ago +1

    Thanks from Sweden, hope you take care up there!

  • Dominic Weston
    Dominic Weston Day ago

    First time I have listened to this since Mac passed, I'm a grown man in Norfolk, England with tears streaming down my eyes. Even now his music is incredibly difficult to listen to, I guess that was the thing with Mac Miller's music, its powerful and far reaching. His music was touching enough that he's the best friend you've never met, probably sounds weird. Almost a year and a half passes and it still doesn't feel real, rest easy Mac

  • Great Iron Fist
    Great Iron Fist Day ago +1

    Dayum the bar is low. Never heard of him.

  • Flipindistical Pictures

    Flipindistical stuff, great musicianship and the kid has charisma something fierce and great lyrics too

  • venomTang
    venomTang Day ago

    Good news is all they wanna hear

  • djRustyB
    djRustyB Day ago

    Everyone needs a smiling Thundercat behind them

  • Fernando Spada
    Fernando Spada Day ago

    hahahhahahha 10,000 dislikes .........this guy was so popular hahahahahh ..........lest face it....... this guy talks he cant

    • YaYa
      YaYa Day ago +3

      Fernando Spada you sound miserable and

  • Human Being
    Human Being Day ago

    I didn’t discover his music until his latest album that I cannot stop playing every single day. Now I’m going to listen to the rest of his albums because Circles is a gift that I never knew I needed in my life. Thank you, Bro.

  • Emma Pituch
    Emma Pituch Day ago

    Can hardly watch this without balling my eyes out

  • Adam Fraga
    Adam Fraga Day ago +1

    What’s the use is my favorite song from that album? Anyone else?

  • Incoming Hit da dirt

    12:08 looks like a real cool scene.

  • дима canarhy


  • Nathan Kintzer
    Nathan Kintzer Day ago

    He made music and is no longer alive. Such music and alive. Musician, music. Soul.

  • Erica Dozier
    Erica Dozier Day ago

    Why does this song make me feel so saddened 😔 my heart hurts.....

  • Marley And maggie
    Marley And maggie Day ago +1

    His hat says don’t trip do y’all remember that song off his album where it kept saying don’t trip i forgot the name

  • Avi Lurie
    Avi Lurie Day ago

    That deep breath before 2009. I felt every second of that change is Macs head. You can see his whole life come into this song. Beautiful .

  • Cuddle LarryFisherman

    Been listening to Mac for like 10 days straight🥺, miss you bro ❤

  • Gaby
    Gaby Day ago

    I have to come back here every once in awhile. Malcolm I know you’re in eternal bliss now

  • Kelsey
    Kelsey Day ago +1

    When he passed it felt like a high school friend passed. He got me through a lot of my adolescent. Sweet soul taken too soon.

  • Scout Mason
    Scout Mason Day ago +1

    Hey buddy. Been listening to your new album. It’s amazing. From production to your amazing vocals. You are somehow able to capture pain and sorrow in your voice that helps me realize that I’m not out here struggling alone. I know you experienced much pain and sorrow and I’m sorry that you had to go through that but thank you for being here for me and many others. You will live on forever. Love you Mac. Rest easy.

  • Fallen World
    Fallen World Day ago

    Mac should've done Objects in the Mirror. It would be perfect for the setting.

  • Tom Erickson
    Tom Erickson Day ago +1

    dang, this version of what's the use is really really good... RIP

  • bluetoe69
    bluetoe69 Day ago +1

    This young Kat was so talented !!

  • david pena
    david pena Day ago +2

    Mac Miller Legend

  • chad burgess
    chad burgess Day ago +1

    One of his best performances

  • Oldysrv
    Oldysrv 2 days ago +1

    still unreal

  • Ben Godfrey
    Ben Godfrey 2 days ago +2

    You can see the depression in his eyes. RIP Malcolm.

  • Flat Plane Snake
    Flat Plane Snake 2 days ago

    Mac was the first concert I ever attended. Almost didn’t go, so glad I went and I’ll never forget it... first and undoubtedly the best concert I’ve been to

  • Stephen Robinson
    Stephen Robinson 2 days ago +1

    Strings + macs smooth voice = tears

  • Apotey
    Apotey 2 days ago

    Still coming back here all the time. Love you Mac, rest easy

  • Hanif D Navaz
    Hanif D Navaz 2 days ago

    sad more than anything that he made so little of this stage of awesomemess and pure flow of such sensitive melodies !! Thank god and his family for circles!! yet there are so few other songs/musicians coming close to what he was doing with 2009.. Dunno and now with so many beautiful ones on circle... Rest in Peace & ♡ brother Mac

  • Geron Holmes
    Geron Holmes 2 days ago +2

    Man. This brings you up and brings you down song after song. All moods in 17 minutes.
    Most dope 👍

  • Lyric
    Lyric 2 days ago

    Being still isn't an option when jamming to "What's the use?" .... Just saying😎

  • J J
    J J 2 days ago +1

    I’m so glad this video exists

  • Feux
    Feux 2 days ago +1

    who’s here in 2020? miss this guy man...

  • Flik
    Flik 2 days ago +2

    Coming back to this video quite often lately. I had never heard of Mac when he died. Now I wish I knew of him when he was still around.

    Thank you Mac.