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Culture Shock

Who's 2015's Mac Daddy of Music?



The second half of 2015 has brought listeners a slew of new music from many established and up-and-coming artists, but among the most notable releases are Mac DeMarco, Mac Miller, and Macklemore. This brings up an interesting question to ponder: out of these three men sharing the same root name, who is the “Mac Daddy” of music?

I decided to take on this tedious task and make the decision myself. Using a very complicated algorithm (5 categories that I chose myself with a winner that I also chose myself based solely on internet research and personal opinion), I spent weeks (maybe partially due to procrastination) calculating who would win the grand title of 2015’s “Mac Daddy of Music”. See below who won when I put these three artists head to head to head in five crucial categories.


Fan Interactions

None of these artists are on an untouchable level like Kanye or Elton John, so the way they interact with their fans is still a make or break part of their career. I really delved into the internet trying to find fan experiences with all of these artists, but there really was not much on the web about fans getting to meet Macklemore or Mac Miller beyond selfies posted and super fansites talking about touching their hands during shows. However, Mac DeMarco has a much different tale to tell. At the end of his new album, he rattled off his address and told fans to come see him at his house for a cup of coffee. This is pretty cool, but it’s even better when he actually made good on his offer. DeMarco has described up to 60 kids coming to his house in a day, and he always makes coffee for them if he is home. DeMarco also has fans over for BBQs at his home, and once a male fan even jumped on stage and kissed DeMarco while he was singing, and he had no problem reciprocating the kiss.

Mac DeMarco grilling some dogs for adoring fans in Brooklyn this summer

Winner: Mac Demarco – There’s truly not much better than inviting fans to your house for a cup of coffee and locking lips with male fans on stage.

Critical Acclaim

As much as I want to act like it does not matter what awards you have, or what Rolling Stone writes about you, success often lies in the hands of the critics. Mac DeMarco has received praise from Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, and many other media outlets and had an album reach the top ¼ of the Billboard Hot 100, but has yet to win any notable awards. Mac Miller falls along the same lines. While he has had several Billboard ranked albums and singles, and won a couple of MTV Woodies, there’s still someone who is surprisingly levels above him: Macklemore. Any causal hip hop fan remembers the time that Mackemore went on to win 4 out of his 7 Grammy nominations beating out Kendrick Lamar in perhaps the most upsetting award win of the year. Macklemore saw great success in the light of “The Heist” by finding nominations at the Kid’s Choice Awards, AMAs, and even winning a BET Award.

Winner: Macklemore- It pains my bones to write that sentence, but being the only one of the three to win a Grammy, I have to give it to the man.

Mainstream Relevance

College radio is not the mainstream, so I am going to have to step out of our little box for a second and let my personal bias against overplayed Top 40 Hits go for a minute. Macklemore has seen extreme mainstream success. There was an entire summer where you were genuinely afraid to turn on the radio and hear him rapping about discount clothes that smell like R. Kelly’s piss. Macklemore won huge music industry awards and is still one of the most overplayed artists on the radio with that damn “Downtown” song. Mac Miller has also seen quite a bit of mainstream success. Beyond being played from time to time on your local hip hop station, Mac Miller found his niche in an MTV show. Mac DeMarco has seen little to no mainstream success beyond appearing on late night TV, as the other two competitors also have, and drawing crowds to his shows, like the others as well.

Winner: TIE- Macklemore & Mac Miller- Both have seen their time in the limelight through TV appearances, TV shows, and award show appearances along with consistently selling out venues and their music seeing mainstream radio airplay.


If there’s one thing I admire in a man, it’s his personal style and there’s only one Mac that I think actually brings this to the table. You may think Macklemore brought the pompadour haircut back into style, but let’s all just look at any high fashion ads of the past 10 years before we jump to that conclusion because that hairstyle never stopped being cool. Mac Miller has absolutely no personal style and dresses like every kid you went to high school with that drooled all year over the Wiz Khalifa concert that was without a doubt coming to town in the summer. Mac DeMarco: now that’s a man with some personal style. Aside from constantly looking like he just crawled out of a trash can, the dude has got some hats, button downs, and Simpsons tee shirts to be envious of. His greasy hair, cuffed jeans, and gap teeth that are often utilized for holding lit cigarettes, in place of his hands, have become such a trademark of who he is.

Winner: Mac DeMarco- The garbage king of fashion is the only one with a signature style (and the only one who can put a cigarette between his front teeth and smoke it which is pretty cool, if you ask me)

Live Performance

No matter how good, or even how bad, an album is, live performances can be the opposite and make an impression on the audience if you have good stage presence. Out of the three, I have only seen Mac DeMarco live so I’m basing the rest on videos and stories I have heard from friends. Both times I saw DeMarco were in festival settings: once at WIUX’s very own Culture Shock and once at Bonnaroo. Though the size for the two shows were extremely different, DeMarco made it an intimate experience both times. His sound quality and entertainment value are to be envied and among the best I have seen. Macklemore appears to be a giant waste of money. Every concert video I saw looked like a bunch of spring breakers who dragged themselves down to the local venue just to bounce around to “Thrift Shop” for three minutes and then be bored to death for the remaining hour. The quality and energy of the band was just not there for me either. Mac Miller’s live performances seem to be quite an experience, if you’re into that whole scene. Fans are treated to surprise performances from other artists and Miller always gets the crowd hyped up to the level he desires and makes sure they have a good time.


Winner: TIE- Mac Miller & Mac DeMarco- I couldn’t really make the decision because while Mac DeMarco puts on an entertaining show with incredible sound quality, the videos of Mac Miller’s shows are wild and out.


Official Mac Daddy of Music 2015: Mac DeMarco

Despite his lack of mainstream relevance and accolades from critics, Mac DeMarco unsurprisingly wins the title of Mac Daddy of Music 2015. Style, unique interactions with fans, and not to mention the best release of the year from the three, bring him straight to the top.


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