Twenty-two-year-old Pittsburgh MC Mac Miller boasts impressive collaborations with artists such as Pharrell Williams, Wiz Khalifa and Ariana Grande, as well as multiple mixtapes, EPs and an album. I sat down with Miller in Portugal at Rock in Rio (which will come to Vegas in May 2015), and during our interview, he discovered he was playing the Cosmopolitan on July 24. What ensued is this conversation … and the creeping fear that one of us—not me—was probably lying. A lot.
What’s your upcoming schedule look like?
Gotta go see my mom and dad and grandmother for two days. Then I got a show with Kanye for the X Games, which is dope ’cause I just want to hang out with Kanye so bad, I only book tour dates with Kanye.
Were you invited to the wedding?
No. Dude, I bet it was awesome. I really am a huge fan, thus the only booking shows that have him on it.
Have you played in Vegas?
Yeah, dude. We did House of Blues.
Haven’t played the Cosmo yet?
[Woman’s voice in background: “No, we’re playing there July 24 at the pool.”]
Do you like Vegas?
Fuck, yeah, I do!
Is it a trouble zone for you?
What do you mean a trouble …?
Well, usually when you ask artists about Vegas there is always a trouble spot.
I don’t do fuckin’ blackjack because that was the first thing I gambled. Quickest $20 I ever lost in my fuckin’ life. So I do poker and craps. On my birthday, I won $15,000 in, like, 15 minutes [playing craps], and then just lost it all. Gambling under the influence. Like, “Oh, my God, I’m winning! Where did my chips go?” … My parents actually conceived me in Vegas.
They did? Mine, too!
I was joking.
I was conceived in Vegas. My dad won a bunch of money on a nickel slot and next thing you know …
They didn’t even have sex. He just won the money. “I WON! HOLY SHIT YOU’RE PREGNANT! How’d that happen?”
[Surveying the dressing room.] You’ve got a nice fruit tray, and at least they’re American Spirits. What’s your preshow routine?
I try to relax, and we do a prayer. Everyone is of different religious backgrounds. I lead the prayer, so it doesn’t go too far into Scientology—that will only work for the three or four of us who are Scientologists. … See, now you’re like, “What can I believe?”
I see your Star of David tattoo. Are you a Jewish Scientologist?
I am a raised Jew. … I still get the bubble guts before I go onstage. Just a nervous thing, and that’s good. And here’s an answer to a question you didn’t ask: I’ve become friends with surfer Laird Hamilton, and I asked him about always being scared and letting fear guide you. He said every single time he surfs he is terrified, and if you’re not terrified you should not be doing it. Every person should be nervous.
The Boulevard Pool at the Cosmopolitan, 8 p.m. July 24, $30, CosmopolitanLasVegas.com.