In early 2012, Mac Miller began working with super-producer Pharrell Williams on a joint-EP the two began referring to in interviews as Pink Slime. As Miller told Rolling Stone shortly thereafter, they planned to release their collaboration later that year. But busy work schedules for both artists and most prominently, Williams' mega 2013, caused the project to be put on hold.
Miller now reveals the Mac-Pharrell project is back on. "We actually just talked a couple days ago," he tells Rolling Stone. "I'm going to go see him [in Miami] and we're going to finish it and put it out. Because the shit's ill and people want it. We both had pretty wild years. We gotta do it!"
The rapper anticipates Pink Slime will drop by the end of 2014. "All we gotta do it sit down for a few days and knock out songs," he says. Recording at Williams' studio in Miami, he adds, is a reward in itself. "It's refreshing," Miller explains. "[In L.A.] I'm in this dungeon, my little cave that's this weird-ass looking place that I just live in. And then to go to Miami, it's just so nice to see natural light and a pool and happy things. It's good."
Miller is embracing collaboration in all forms: his forthcoming debut live album, Live From Space, recorded during this past summer's Space Migration Tour and due on December 17th, finds the Pittsburgh rapper performing nearly all of this year's Watching Movies With The Sound Off with backing accompaniment from L.A. funk duo the Internet.
"My dream has been to play with a band," he says. "Me and those dudes took the songs and recreated how they worked for a band. We didn't play with a backing track – we just made new songs."
Miller first bonded with the twosome – which includes Odd Future members Syd Tha Kyd and Matt Martians – when working on a track off this year's Feel Good LP. "We definitely just hit it off," he says. "There are not a lot of young people in bands – everybody is a rapper. It's all electronic and shit. Which is great. That's the sound of the future. It's just dope though to have young people that love to play music live."
The live album features nine live cuts as well as five previously unreleased songs, including the Pink Floyd-inspired "Black Bush" the Thundercat-featuring "In The Morning" and "Earth," which finds the traditionally Auto-Tuned rapper Future in more raw form.
"Future murders that shit!" Miller says. "He sounds comfortable and at home on that track. It's great to hear."
The 21-year-old Miller is equally comfortable with his current status in the rap game: After his chart-topping debut album, Blue Slide Park, received mixed reviews, the rapper says it was a welcome change to see Watching Movies almost universally praised.
"Of course I notice it," he says, when asked if he's felt a change in how critics view him his as an MC. "It was real confusing to me: how that shit works. To me, I was like, 'I'm not the person everyone thinks I am.' But the realization I've had is that no one is going to fully understand you. You have to give people time. No one hears everything I've made. They may go off of however they've been introduced to me."
"So you can't be mad at it," he adds. "You just gotta be patient and wait until people get it. I have time. Sooner or later, everyone will get it."