Rap Song of the Week: Young Thug Remembers the “Day Before” with Mac Miller

Plus, hear essential tracks from Jesswarr, Su'Lan, and Big Scarr

mac miller young thug day before rap song of the week
Mac Miller, photo by Philip Cosores/Young Thug, photo by Jen Vesp)

    Every week, our new music feature Rap Song of the Week breaks down our favorite rap tracks of the week. Check out the full playlist here. Today, Young Thug shares his posthumous Mac Miller collaboration “Day Before.”

    Young Thug just released his second official studio album Punk today (October 15th), and like most major hip-hop releases, it’s chock full of features. Drake, J. Cole, Travis Scott, Future, and A$AP Rocky all drop off guest verses, but Mac Miller’s posthumous appearance on “Day Before” stands above the rest.

    Thugger kicks off the track with a shoutout to Snoop Dogg before going into tales of self-defense (“I ain’t tryna give him a chance to kill me or take the stand on me”) and a relationship gone bad (“I had feelings for this girl that barely owned a residence”). However, the song goes to another level when he hands over the reins to Miller.


    Sampling fuzzy acoustic guitars from “charlie brown” by Toronto bedroom pop singer Verzache, the “Day Before” production is reminiscent of Miller’s later work on Swimming and Circles. So it’s likely no coincidence that the Pittsburgh native’s verse includes a lyric about “swimmin’ in the linen like deep-end.” The rest of it almost makes listeners feel like Mac’s still here, as he raps about enjoying the simple things while also living life his own way.

    Miller’s 2014 mixtape Faces was just released on streaming services for the first time today, making it a special one for fans of the talented musician who we lost far too young. Long live Mac Miller.

    Honorable Mentions:

    Jesswar feat. Erica Banks – “BAD LIKE RIRI”

    Earlier this year, Fijian rapper Jesswar made waves with her excellent debut EP TROPIXX by combining trap beats with sharp rhymes extolling the empowerment of fellow marginalized people. “BAD LIKE RIRI” isn’t quite that deep, but still delivers a message of self-confidence while she boasts about her crew. Viral “Buss It” rapper Erica Banks comes along for the ride, delivering internal rhymes that show she can spit, too.

    Mega Ran – “Live 95 (Basketball Diaries)”

    On “Live 95,” Philly native Mega Ran dedicates his latest track to his hometown 76ers, dropping references to legends like Allen Iverson and Charles Barkley while rightfully dressing down a recent star for his playoff miscues: “Only cat in Philly that didn’t shoot was Ben Simmons.” The soulful track goes beyond the name-drops, though, drawing parallels between the 76ers’ rebuilding process and Mega Ran’s own rise.

    Su’Lan – “Blue Cheese”

    Rising Oakland duo Su’Lan’s first release of 2021 is a primer for rap fans who aren’t familiar with Saunsu and Emahalani. Rapping over a Drew Banga beat featuring stomping percussion, the MCs exude brash energy and aggression while empowering women to get money. With all their stick talk and casual references to stealing men, haters are well-advised to stay out of their way.


    Big Scarr – Freestyle (feat. Gucci Mane)

    Gucci Mane just dropped So Icy Boyz, his latest compilation spotlighting signees to the Zone 6 Berry Gordy’s label. Big Scarr is among the most talented of the bunch and on “Freestyle,” the Memphis rapper keeps up with his mentor by sneering at everyone who doubted him. “Told them I’ma make it out the hood/ They took me as a joke,” he remembers.

    Nicholas Craven feat. Roc Marciano – “1000 Mile Stare”

    Montreal producer Nicholas Craven (Freddie Gibbs, Griselda) reunites with Roc Marciano, lacing the Long Island rapper with a soul-sampling beat. Marci gets busy with ease, boasting about being “God tier” and “beyond the GOAT” as he lets loose rhymes like “I got the thousand mine stare/ You got a coward’s glare.”

    Best Rap Songs Playlist: