Mac Miller called it The Sanctuary.
It was his home studio located in the lower-level, windowless room next to his swimming pool at his upscale pad in Los Angeles. Flash wasn’t the point of the utilitarian space: one chair for whoever was manning the computer, bean bags on the floor for everyone else, a bathroom, and for some reason, all red lighting. The dingy space served as a safe haven for collaborative creativity during a pivotal time in the young rapper’s career.
Within its walls, Miller and his friends recorded constantly, amassing the material for many projects from many artists, including Faces, the late rapper’s 2014 mixtape, released on Mother’s Day. Five years after its release, and eight months after Miller's untimely death at the age of 26, the project and the energy surrounding it, transmitted through MCs like Vince Staples, SZA and Ab-Soul for their own work, gives us an unguarded point of entry into Miller’s life. The one project that Miller dropped in the interim between his tenure with Rostrum Records and Warner Bros. Records, it was created during a special period of freedom and possibility, allowing him to make visible the entirety of his headspace for the listener. For a release that focuses on the masks we wear on a daily basis, Faces offers a vivid X-ray of what was buried behind Mac’s.