The Pittsburgh rapper’s untimely death left a catalogue of songs that shows his journey from college-kid rapper to artist.
By Cesar Martinez, Staff Writer
On Friday afternoon, Sept. 7, when the news broke that rapper Mac Miller died of a drug overdose in Studio City, many people of his generation were saddened.
The 26-year-old rapper recently released his latest record, “Swimming,” to add to his discography, showing his growth from college-rap-kid on “Best Day Ever” to full-blown artist. Unafraid of openly exploring the struggles of depression and substance abuse through his introspective lyrics.
Miller’s peers expressed their grief and sent condolences towards the artist and Miller’s loved ones, which is a testimony to the impact Miller and his music.
Malcolm James McCormick, known as Mac Miller, was born on Jan. 19, 1992, and grew up with an ear for music, and learned how to play piano at six. Later moving on to other instruments before choosing rap at 14. He eventually found his way, along with fellow Pittsburgh native Wiz Khalifa to the indie label Rostrum Records. Producing mixtapes, Miller gained mainstream success in 2011 with a No. 1 Billboard hit with his debut album, “Blue Slide Park.”
“Wiz has been a big brother to me with this music thing so far,” said Miller in an interview from 2010. “Our relationship is beyond music. He really is just my homie, whether I will be making music or not.”
Miller’s second album, “Watching Movies with the Sound Off,” struck a different tone from the juvenile motifs of house parties and debauchery. It experimented with the ideas of reflection through songs like “I am Who I Am (Killin’ Time)” and “Objects in the Mirror.” The album featured accompaniments by fellow up-and-coming rappers, Earl Sweatshirt, Ab Soul and Action Bronson, and more.
The year 2013 found Miller creating his own record label, REMember Music, where he began to produce under the moniker, Larry Fisherman, for himself and fellow emcees. Within a year, Miller’s tenth mixtape, “Faces,” captured the state of his struggle with substance abuse and his inevitable death with such in the songs “Funeral,” “Rain” featuring Vince Staples and “New Faces v2” with Earl and Da$h.
“If I jump let me fall,” said a lyric in Miller’s “Colors and Shapes.” Although revered as a successful mixtape producer among peers, and critics, Miller reflected that this point in his career coincided as a pivotal point with his addiction, “This could be my last breath/ Ima take my time.”
“Swimming” appears to be the denouement of a conflicted person’s struggle and conclusion with many magnified troubles of mortality. “Self Care,” “Small Worlds” and “Come Back to Earth” stand as influential pieces for anyone struggling with life’s tribulations. Mac Miller transformed his music from the simple catchy generic raps to the personal, relatable pressures and joys of life, sharing it with other rappers to be a part of for us to listen to.