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Mac Miller’s Final ‘Tiny Desk’ Live Performance Was A Cry For Help

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Mac Miller’s boisterous demeanor shifted to the innocent uncertainty of a little boy 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. Backed by a piano loop and a string quartet, he reflected on his journey’s peaks and valleys thus far.

Mac invited frequent collaborator Thundercat, for this performance who was set to join Mac on tour this fall. Thundercat puts on a mesmerizing performance of driving that deep centerpiece bass line on “What’s The Use?”

These live versions don’t stray too far away from the album’s versions, but here, with a live band, his lyrics seem easier to interpret backed by a full band. He truly was much more than a rapper; at his core. he was a musician-most at home and in love with playing with a live band. 

The transparency Mac expresses in his lyrics about his own awareness of needing better self-care, are gut-wrenching to hear.

9 times out of 10 I get it wrong/that’s why I wrote this song/to tell myself to hold on/
I can feel my fingers slippin’/In a mutha-fckn instant I’ll be gone
do you want it all/if it’s all mediocre?/

They’re a reminder that we can all do more to take better care of each other. 

Watch Mac Miller’s full Tiny Desk concert below.