It's hard to type right now.
I've been trying to convince myself for the last four days that this is not real, that I don't actually need to write these words. That there is no way that you're really gone and I won't ever have the pleasure of hearing any more of your music again.
Your art has been living close to my heart for almost a decade now. A decade… man, so much has happened in the past ten years, I can’t even begin to fathom. You were essentially what introduced me to hip hop — a genre so necessary in my life that eventually turned into a lifestyle.
Through you, I understood the beauty of wordplay; how to pour out my emotions and fight my inner demons with writing and how to train my self-drive to find answers by asking myself all the questions. You opened that door for me, Mac… and for that, I’ll never be thankful enough.
I just recently turned 25 in August, the day before you dropped Swimming, and it was honestly the best birthday present — I needed that more than ever. I've been listening to it non-stop ever since, the whole time blown away by how you keep growing and evolving musically, no matter where your personal life is headed. You’ve been on my mind more than usual lately and now I think it was the universe sending me a sign.
You were just one year older than me— a fact that makes the pain almost unbearable—and maybe the reason why I’ve always been so attached to your music.
I first found you when I was sixteen (you seventeen) and within these nine years, I've watched you go from a cheesy frat-rap-sensation to an unbelievably talented and skilled musician. The level of progress and growth in your career is both shocking and fascinating; you went from a stoner kid from Pittsburgh who could make some party rhymes to a powerfully candid lyricist, an eccentric rapper/producer and an one-of-a-kind artist who delivered eighteen sonically diverse projects — all within a decade.
I've realized that as you were aging, shifting, maturing and figuring out both your sound and your life, so was I. It literally feels like we grew up together in a way. You, Mac, has been one of my most loyal friends.
You understood it all — the changes, dreams, fears, the ambition, the temptations, the questionable decisions and the consequences of those decisions. You knew the heartbreaks, the pleasures, the impulsiveness, both the late nights followed by regretful mornings and the feeling of clarity. You gave voice to an entire generation because you not only understood our struggles and our glories, you were living and learning them too.
That’s why it’s so hard to not take your death personally. Just like me, you had a whole life ahead of you— with so much to live, discover, learn, teach. You had so much potential and your music was reaching such high horizons I can’t even begin to imagine what the next ten years would have been like for you.
You were so raw, real and rare, Mac. You weren’t afraid of trying new things, regardless if you failed or succeeded, and that reflected so naturally in your music. Your sound changed so much throughout the years yet always stayed true to your essence. It shapeshifted with you, going through the thick and thin, the ugly and the glamorous; through every single sorrow and morning after. Your music only got bigger and better as you grew older, wiser, thicker-skinned. But I guess so did your troubles.
It’s hard to lose people that we feel that understand us so well, even when you never met them before. It’s truly wild how it seems like you were living life right there with me this whole time. Seventeen-year-old-me needed that party-fueled, addictive, mischievous Macadelic mixtape just like 25-year-old-me needed the mature, reflective and epiphany-stacked Swimming. Somehow, you always gave my life the soundtrack it needed.
You simultaneously embodied the joy and innocence of a kid and the confusion and pain of an adult and it always felt like I was experiencing every phase with you. Your voice guided me through so much even though I knew you were struggling too, and although we are essentially so different, in such distinct paths, you always knew exactly what to say.
It always blew my mind how you could be such a playful and bubbly person and still be such a dark, deep and introspective artist. Your positive, free-spirited personality was always so clear in your music as was the internal battle in your mind. You made music that celebrated your victories as you also made music that made you take a minute to reflect. That was my favorite thing about you: you were never scared to try to understand yourself better. Your music touched so many lives because it was genuine; it came from a sensitive, soft spot as much as it came from an authentic, confident I-dont-give-a-fuck mentality.
Your music always gave me a sense of safety. Even when I started listening to so many other artists and genres, I’d always come back to you because your sounds always felt like home. It made me think of my childhood as it reminded me of my teenage years. It made me realize that just like you, I was also growing up, maturing, learning, and constantly on the hunt to find my purpose. Still, it always gave me hope for the future.
Im sorry the darkness inside of you took over the immense, bright light you had. Im sorry you wont be able to keep refining your amazing sounds by finding new feelings and fresh perspectives. Im so sorry you won’t have the chance to continue to show the world how unbelievably gifted, passionate and unique you are.
Your words and music will always be remembered along with your charisma and your courage to always stay true to yourself. But your passion, oh your passion, Mac… that is something larger than life.
We will, without a doubt, be kicking incredibly dope shit for you for the rest of our days. So thank you from the bottom of my heart and rest in power Mac, you’ve always been a legend.