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KIDS 10 Years Later: Mac Miller & Larry Clarke - What It Means To Be A "Kid"



Throughout the years there has always been an idea that kids will be kids, but prior to the universal shrug kids were supposed to be seen as saints. They were tried to be raised as such, but not everyone turns out how you perceive. With Larry Clark’s KIDS and Mac Miller’s K.I.D.S. in the fold they both expressed similar ideas through various mediums of what it is to be a kid…. It is to have fun and enjoy your adolescence.



Kids reached a landmark this year as it celebrated 25 years of existence, 2 weeks prior to Mac Miller's mixtape 10 year anniversary. Kids was unlike many at the time because it perpetuated what we believed were saints into these vile villains that we knew they could be. Telly, the worst offender, was a vile sixteen year old who made it his goal to only fuck virgins and with the films opening scene it hammers it home. Telly is in a bed shirtless trying to convince a 12 year old to let him take her virginity. Though the sequential sex is never shown, but expressed in through Telly recounting it to his friends… the pussy that is.

Kids always had this spirit about the world sheltering its evils from the “good” people. The story transitions between two groups, the boys and the girls. Neither are perfect examples of who parents hope their kids become in their own way. The girls aren’t as edgy as the boys who get violent and drugged out for fun. Though the girls, led by Jennie and Ruby are young teens who have had sex and see the thrill of doing drugs and going to clubs. But they act as mothers to the younger girls and make sure Telly doesn’t touch them. So as you see the slight transitions to adulthood they


Kids tackled issues of unprotected sex, STDs, drug use, adolescence amongst more themes. But it was compacted smoothly, like Mac Miller’s mixtape. Though not every subject matter in the mixtape is completely similar to what film tackles. It was expressing what it can mean to be a kid for those who grow up in different environments. Like the psychological theory of Nature vs Nurture. Being a kid will always mean something different for some. There are the athletes and the geeks or whatever label who do different things, still we are kids.

Mac Miller was just expressing his daily aspirations, successes, and of course the fun lines about smoking good weed, drinking cold 45s, and pussy. He spoke about what that cash flow could do to a “kid”, like spend it on expensive things and more fun stuff. But that’s what you did when your parents gave you an allowance or your job paid you as you live rent and bill free in your home. “Outside,” exuberates the essence of all that. It’s melancholic bliss moves with a smooth upheaval in hi-hats that come at you like a MSG with a silencer.

Maybe what he did was far different than what most kids did at the time. To people who loved his music for the music itself knew his life was more unorthodox than many, but he was still a kid and champion for the many. Look at his music video “La La La,” where he raps on a porch smoking cigarettes, colt 45 by him and he raps to the camera from various angles. Some of us never lived or experienced life like that so young.


But Mac Miller wasn’t without his demons too. He’s been through the ringer since his youth and he doesn’t shy away from it in his music. His opening track, “Kickin’ Incredibly Dope Shit,” eloquently samples the final soliloquy from Telly about what he loves and lives for. Mac flips “pussy,” into “music,” obviously, but the impact still carries on. It told us that despite the problems Mac’s hustle is showing us the steps he is rising, while enjoying youth.


“Being young so fun, I don't ever want to age

Haven't came down in the past five days

Just trying to tell it like it is, we the shit

You now dealing with some motherfuckin' kids”


  • “Kickin’ Incredibly Dope Shit” - Mac Miller


And that is not the only time he samples the film, using some of the score as transitional ends to a song like “Senior Skip Day.” That’s not where all the samples end. He samples various instrumental melodies and percussion from music he grew up with.


The flip of “The World Is Yours,” by Nas on “Nikes On My Feet.” elevated the anthem for sneaker and hip hop fans. Turning a statement that may have been a highlight back then, but he took it to new heights.


“Ayy, lace 'em up, lace 'em up, lace 'em up, lace 'em

Blue suede shoes stay crispy like bacon

Nikes on my feet make my cypher complete.”


  • “Nikes On My Feet” - Mac Miller


For a lot of the people in the 18 - 35 demographic, however, Mac Miller was an artist we grew up with that gave us something relatable. He was a sneaker head and close to the age that everyone could relate in various ways.


He had a carefree nature about academics and put effort into what he loves, but also fucked around doing drugs and having fun. From teachers who needed him to his grades up to music critics who had slight distaste for the simplicity that is Frat-Rap. They saw it as nothing truly visionary and taint on music because it dissuades people from the complexities found in other music.


He fell under a category that sold solid numbers, but not many amassed the level of hype Mac Miller brought. Others were just knocking off Asher Roth and eventually knocking Mac’s low tempoed and slowed down flow. It allowed for many “rappers,” to try and make it into the fold. Not many have made it out of the college world like Sammy Adams. And those who did, had a solid career. Mac Miller’s career grew to be uncanny and vibrant. He was growing and unfortunately we weren’t able to see/hear him in his final form.


But as K.I.D.S. turns 10 years, there is one constant reminder left from the artist. Be a kid and enjoy the chances we are given to explore and grow. It may not be through music. Just never doubt yourself and live on.


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