At the time of this reading, it’s been a little over a month since Mac Miller passed, but it definitely still feels fresh. Death is inevitable, and we all have a date waiting for us when the time comes. That still doesn’t mean that we can’t be sad when an ‘untimely death’ occurs, especially when it’s someone that has been looked up to and respected while still ascending in their career. My relationship with Mac Miller’s music didn’t really begin until 2013 when I heard Watching Movies with the Sound Off. I was hesitant, because my first time hearing him was Best Day Ever, and I thought it was the worst thing I ever heard. I didn’t listen to all of Macadelic, but heard some good things on it. I don’t know what prompted me to give his 2nd album a shot – maybe because J.Cole (Born Sinner) and Kanye West (Yeezus) both released, so it was part of the wave of curiosity.
Production was his strength, and I’d had a taste of that through his work as Larry Fisherman when he produced for Vince Staples (I hadn’t got into Vince heavily yet, but I was familiar) and also Earl Sweatshirt. It was dark & gloomy, but there was just gritty substance that was captivating. Perhaps, it was because he was a White rapper and they have their reputation of being double-time spitters while walking on the edge of Punk Rock & Hip Hop (unless you’re Macklemore, then you’re just confused as to what you want to be) that I didn’t take him seriously. I’m glad I finally opened up my ears to hear what he brought to the table, because since Watching Movies, he hadn’t missed on any project, and I was definitely a fan moving forward.
It’s hard to disassociate the artist and the person, and a lot of people feel as though they’re one in the same, but for the most part, the artist is for entertainment. That’s their source of income, and that’s how they make their living. Who they are as people can be vastly different from how their stage personas take shape, but since his passing, many artists (some who you wouldn’t have thought he had a connection with at all) have come out to speak about the generosity he had when giving others a shot to have their own platforms. He was truly for the artists, and for the people of not only his community, but the Hip Hop community – most importantly, who the Hip Hop community represents. It’s easy to look at the substance abuse history and mental instability as reasons why there was a downfall, but when you see on the surface level that someone is doing their best to improve themselves, we never realize what demons they’re likely still going through. After the break up (I won’t bring her name up, because she’s taken far too many inappropriate comments for no reason whatsoever), there was a spiral, but he had enough support to really want to get his life around. And that’s what we thought was happening. But we can only assume, as consumers, and here we are. It’s sad. It’s a shock, and for some, it’s still taking time to process.
I know that life is a bitch, I know that life is a bitch
I thought we’d put her in a cab by now
But I’m stressing, I can’t relax
I swallow my pride and I’m hiding what’s making me mad
Everybody saying I need rehab
‘Cause I’m speedin’ with a blindfold on and won’t be long
Until they watching me crash
And they don’t wanna see that
They don’t want me to OD and have to talk to my mother
Tell her they could have done more to help me
And she’d be crying saying that she’d do anything to have me back
– Perfect Circle/God Speed
It’s always eerie to go back into lyrics and find words that have the connection to one’s passing, or when a cryptic Instagram picture or video has foreshadowing, but that’s not always the case, and obviously for self-care purposes, it’s therapy for some artists to get their innermost feelings out there in a public platform. J. Cole’s most recent album, KOD, has three definitions for the abbreviation, and one of them is ‘Killing Our Demons.’ It’s not a new thing for Rappers to talk about the state of their mental health, because as stated before, it is therapeutic for most, but in terms of promoting it for the general audience to seek out professional help and saying “meditate, don’t medicate,” that’s new. At least on a mainstream level.
In the social media highlight reel lifestyle that we live in, more times than not, we just see the good things and assume that all is well on the surface level, but it’s not a true reflection of what’s going on. That just adds to the indescribable feeling of bewilderment when it comes to Mac’s passing, because we assumed that everything was going well, and for good reason. Having lost a loved one this year that came as a great shock, I do think about death a lot, as much as I think about my life. There are things that I do wish were different, but I’m still grateful to have life. I don’t know how long I’ll be here, or how long the ones I love will be here, so I’m just appreciative of the time I have to experience the moments and really feel present.
“A life ain’t a life ’til you live it
I was diggin’ me a hole big enough to bury my soul
Weight of the world, I gotta carry my own
My own, with these songs I can carry you home
I’m right here when you’re scared and alone
And I ain’t never in a hurry
You don’t ever gotta worry
Even when it’s 7:30 and the time is runnin’ low
When your heart get cold
See what’s behind all them unturned stones
And I’m a pro when it comes to my job
But really I’m just tryna start believin’ in God
Now when it gets hard
I don’t panic, I don’t sound the alarm”
There are a lot of people who still haven’t come to terms with his passing, and it’s definitely a weird feeling when someone so young & talented passes away due to their battle with their demons failing them, but with time and the process of grief that comes with it, to be fortunate enough to experience the time where he was alive and sharing his gift with the world and being so generous at heart, we’ll forever be grateful.
Rest East, Malcolm.
That’s My Word & It STiXX