Remembering Mac Miller

Death hurts. Everything about the concept of grieving and loss is something that humans were never meant to take lightly, we don’t fully understand what happens after we pass away so we can never really fully come to peace with the proposition of letting go of the ones we loved the most. We are essentially watching our heroes and family and friends slip away into an unidentified void for which none of us mortal beings have any experience with exploring. The other aspect that makes death so bleak is that we have to deal with the fact that we will never see those people again, that any impact they could have made on the world is no longer possible, their life’s work is left in the cold, to be picked up by others, or disappear.

On September 7th, 2018, Mac Miller, full name Malcolm James McCormick, passed away from an overdose at his California home. He was 26 years old.

Mac had always been one of those all around beloved characters in Hip-Hop, never described as anything other than a caring, lighthearted soul. He was your favorite rapper’s best friend. In addition to his endearing persona, Mac was also a musical juggernaut, deftly handling the boards and the microphone and crafting an underrated discography of wide-ranging rap and R&B ballads that endeared him to very different fanbases.

But there’s one certain thing that defined Mac Miller’s career that I will personally remember long into the future: his growth. When Mac began he was a Frat Rapping, shallow intentioned lyricist who existed solely for parties and stoners, which in itself is perfectly respectable, but you always felt he had more to give, that there were multiple facets to his character. Mac was a student of the rap game, he respected it as an art form, and respected the time it took to perfect a sound and a track that would move people to feel all different types of ways. He practiced rap in it’s purest form. He grew from something of a niche into an artist who collaborated with some of the greats while simultaneously being respected by virtually every rapper in the game. He truly was your favorite rapper’s best friend. No one ever had a bad word to say about Mac Miller, and whether or not you enjoyed his music, whether or not you ever even heard it, just understand that he did it the right way, he did it his way.

Musicians live longer than most. Their life’s work truly does outlive them, providing those they leave behind with a time capsule of their thoughts and feelings at the time of their death. Mac’s last release “Swimming” came just mere weeks before his untimely death, and examining it now provides a chilling and saddening summation of what were some of his final thoughts. “Swimming” deals with many heavy themes, heartbreak, suicide, mental illness and more are all put on display as Mac pours out his soul for what tragically would be his last time. It is a sad and heartbreaking way to be remembered.

Except this isn’t how Mac will be remembered. Mac was so much more than his mistakes, he was so much more than his problems, even so much more than the addiction that ultimately consumed him. Mac was example to many that growth is possible, and that your art does not have to be confined to the boundaries of your previous works, that you can have hurdles and issues but still be a successful, humble, and caring human being regardless. That is what Mac will be, along with the wonderful art he painstakingly created over his long career. “Swimming” is #1 on iTunes as of today, and while it is sad that Mac isn’t here to enjoy his success, ultimately I think that’s what Mac would want you to do. Listen to his stuff if you haven’t previously, keep his memory alive for as long as humanly possible.

Long live Mac Miller, and may he rest in peace.

Malcolm James McCormick: 1992–2018
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