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Nicole Byer, Comedic Queen of Cakes, Charms Crowds

Nicole Byer, Comedic Queen of Cakes, Charms Crowds

by Randee Neumeyer Nicole Byer is a busy person. Her Netflix special was released last month as part of the…

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Friday 06th, September 2013 / 19:09



From the outset of the Pittsburgh native’s sophomore record, syllabic pairings like “Häagen-Dazs” and “Holocaust” in a delivery that is both calculated and lackadaisical reveal the influence of Miller’s contemporary, Earl Sweatshirt. The Odd Future rapper partially crafts the sound of opening track, “The Star Room,” and spits his own on “I’m Not Real,” further garnering production credits on this cut under his alias, “RandomBlackDude.” Ab-Soul appears on the incendiary “Matches” and ScHoolboy Q on “Gees.” If Earl and half of Black Hippy make for an under-attended party, though, Clams Casino crafts “Youforia” and “Bird Call” — a partnership continuing from the ethereal psychedelics he gave to “Angels (When She Shuts Her Eyes)” off of 2012’s Macadelic.

If you’ve seen the MTV reality show, Mac Miller and the Most Dope Family, you’ll know that the dark recording studio draped in tapestries and shrouded in candle smoke is located in the same house where people are pushed into the pool with their clothes on and TVs are smashed on the patio for fun. Miller’s mind is like this house: he channels different thought spaces, trying them on like printed button-ups, forgetting and remembering the Abercrombie tees he used to wear in high school at the same time. This is the source of his charm, though, and the avenue by which more than one 14-year-old listened to a Flying Lotus track for the first time (“S.D.S.”). His embarrassingly obvious immaturity and try-hard artistry is also his greatest asset as a hip hop persona — his ability to navigate the world as both a budding sonic Rembrandt and an impish kid with too much money in the Hollywood Hills.

Watching Movies with the Sound Off is no lunch-room mixtape, but the 21-year-old’s usual stamp of borderline precious hood-rat antics is here in neon ink — and he brought his friends, too. I’m down.

By Andrea Rojas