Gone Too Soon: Mac Miller, the Musician Who Never Stopped Evolving
by Kristine Sage
6 months ago
Last Friday (7th September), rapper and producer Mac Miller was found dead in his home in San Fernando Alley. TMZ broke the news about the 26-year-old artist, and everybody speculated that Mac Miller, who was very open about his struggles with addiction, had died of an accidental overdose.
Mac Miller had just recently released a new album “Swimming”, a existential-spirited album that addressed most of the troubles that he was going through or had gone through, including losing Ariana Grande, substance abuse, and being lost in all that. When he broke up with Ariana Grande, Miller lost a friend, a collaborator, and a muse. It’s creepy and ironic that in his last music video, “Self Care”, Miller is lying in his own coffin, puffing on a cigarette, and shortly after, he bursts out of it, and floats into the atmosphere.
During the past few months, Mac Miller had seemed quite alive. When he was usually low-key and stayed in the outskirts of the Hollywood radar, he was doing interviews, and promoting a supposed tour in October.
“I was known as being this little white kid who could rap,” Miller told The Fader in a cover story from 2013. “When I was fifteen I used to walk my a*s to East Liberty and be in ciphers with motherf**kers twice my age.” At the age of 15, he formed a duo called The I11 Spoken with his friend Brian Benjamin Green, also known as Beedie. He idolized hip-hop classicists like Big L and A Tribe Called Quest, and it reflected a lot in his music.
He was an aspiring lyrical mastermind, and it was evident in his early mixtapes. He sold music out of his trunk when he was in high school, and in 2010, he managed to net a few viral hits and signed with Rostrum Records. He struggled at first, being labelled as a “frat rapper” due to his easy marketability and whiteness, as well as ‘juvenilia’. But he outgrew it, as he expended his lyrical pool and honed his producer’s touch. His home soon became a hangout spot for his peers, and fellow gifted rappers, including Anderson .Paak, Earl Sweatshirt, and Thundercat.
His latest album “Swimming” was released on the same day as Travis Scott’s “Astroworld”, and of course, most of the world slept on Mac Miller’s album. But fans persisted, and even new listeners were impressed with the songcraft he had been able to achieve here. The album was heartfelt, with a warm funk and soul that fits Miller. Listeners believed that he was going to change and move forward.
In June of last year, Jay-Z tweeted a list of the M.C.s, who had left a mark on him in some way, and he named Mac Miller. Miller had the tweet framed in his house. He was known to fans, friends, and loved ones, to always have an honest and kind heart, secretly footing bills, granting interview requests generously, and more. It’s a shame that we won’t get to see him keep growing.
Rest in peace, Mac Miller.