Is Mac Miller the future of secular Jewish culture?
The Pittsburgh-born 19-year-old rapper is regarded in the music world as something of a prodigy. Born to a Jewish mother and a Christian father, he was raised Jewish and had a bar mitzvah. At sixteen, he released The Jukebox, his first mixtape–an industry term for a free album posted to the Internet–and soon captured the attention of a rabid fan base (he has over a million Twitter followers), as well as high praise from established hip-hop heavyweights.
Miller isn’t usually considered a Jewish music act–he has no songs about menorahs or who would make a fine-lookin’ Jew. He’s more easily identified by his deft wordplay and frequent profanity. But he’s not shy about flaunting his ethnic identity: the video for “Senior Skip Day” shows Mac prowling through the kosher section of a supermarket, mugging for the camera with Manischewitz Matzo Meal. Every few songs, he’ll drop a reference to his Jewishness: “You can read about me in the Torah,” he boasts.
Much of his wordplay is crude, to say the least. But he’s still a nice Jewish boy at heart: “I’ll never quit,” he brags on the 2010 mixtape Kids, “I make my momma proud because all my clothes fit.”