One night in 2010, in a fit of mainstream musical boredom with everything i’d been hearing on the radio, I decided to rummage through the abundance of mixtapes on Datpiff’s ‘newest’ page. Doing the exact opposite of what we’re all taught as kids, judging each mixtape by it’s cover. That’s when Mac Miller’s “Best Day Ever” caught my eye. A name so boring & undeniably white was bound to be laughably whack, right? Wrong.
From the lullaby-ish intro of the title track, “Best Day Ever”, to the alternate version of the same song 16 tracks later, I was hooked on Mac’s every word. Was he the most impressive wordsmith i’d ever heard? No. Was he the second-coming of Eminem? Not even close. But he was unapologetically himself. Charismatic, funny, at times depressed, self-deprivating & self-aware. All, traits of my favorite rappers, such as Eminem & Kanye West. After growing an appreciation for Mac’s story & musical style, I delved even deeper into his origins, going backwards through his mixtape history. Listening to his experiences on each mixtape helped me navigate the scary & confusing times transitioning from being a senior in high school to early adulthood. As I grew & matured, so did he & his music. I saw him navigate fame similar to how I navigated my struggle with social scenarios & “popularity”, from being in the mainstream’s focus with his MTV2 show “Mac Miller & The Most Dope Family”, to basically getting his dream girl, going off the grid & focusing on himself, while facing his own demons. Obviously Mac Miller, as he’d said in countless interviews struggled with depression, drugs & suicidal thoughts at times, but even going through those struggles, he had enough mental clarity & sanity to know his limits. He knew balancing his personal battles with fame were heavy & unbearable & seemed to choose focusing on the former over mainstream stardom.
I feel as if at one point in my early adulthood I was concerned about staying at the top of a social ladder & remaining relevant by attending every single event I was invited to, or even by initiating events to stay in the public’s eye & grow my popularity. I put value on quantity of friends, girls & connections over quality & ultimately it came back to bite me in the ass. I trusted the wrong “friends” & wasted time on the wrong girls. I struggled with learning my limits of alcohol & drugs as an underage young adult, balancing a life of selfishness & popularity with failure to properly & wholeheartedly care for girls I was in a relationship with, connecting with my family & denial of the decline of my mental health. I learned that life is a balancing-act…You can only pile on so much, before it all comes crashing down. Yes, you’ll still hold some things, but everything else will be damaged, some things completely unsalvageable.
Mac Miller’s music, life & untimely passing taught me to truly evaluate a few key things that are important in life & to build upon those things with everything I have in me. Self-care/mental health, family, real friends & quality connections. Here, lately I've shifted my perspective from others being here solely to bless me, to trying my hardest to help bless others in whatever way I can be of service, without compromising my own morals, well-being, or mental health. I’ve traded quantity for quality in every aspect of life. It feels amazing. It’s a sort of freedom that felt foreign for so long. Stories like his also helped me get help. I went from feeling moments of depression to living in a constant state of depression. It’s like seeing someone driving 90mph in the rain with no seat-belt on, crash & burn. Would you copy them & do the exact same or adjust your methods, buckle up & cruise at 55mph? Yes crashing & burning could be looked at as epic in some cases, but when it’s foreshadowed in cases, such as Mac’s, especially when so many people tried their hardest to to no avail to help him, it’s tragic, heartbreaking & Earth-stopping. I don’t want to do that to my friends or family. If children are in my life’s deck of cards, they’ll bury me, not my parents. I’ve realized happiness & overall good mental health aren’t destinations, it’s a state of being you have to consistently work to stay in & it isn’t always easy. You need the support of friends, family & others who genuinely care for you & want you to succeed in life to help you stay in that state more often. I listen to the music of Mac’s I was already hip to, which was mostly his mixtapes, I can’t bring myself to listen to some of the albums of his I never gave the time of day, the thought of learning more about his struggles makes me tear up. Once a week “Dang!” comes on one of the many playlists I added it to on Spotify & I get misty-eyed while singing “I can’t keep on losing you over complications.” Even in passing, he continues to teach me & although I wish he were still with us, he & the life he led have been some of the most effective teaching tools that’ve gotten through to me.
Gone too soon…Dang!
STORY BY: Trevor Thompson (@interwebTREV)