Mac Miller’s death was a sudden and shocking tragedy that left rap culture at a loss for words. Miller was a happy soul who invested himself into others. He helped artists at their most crucial beginnings. Sadly, with his death, his music endeavors were left unfinished.
The Mac Miller Estate has recently released a posthumous album titled “Circles” almost a year-and-a-half after his overdose Sept. 7, 2018.
This new album comes as a companion to his 2018 album “Swimming,” which dove into Miller’s mental health before his sudden death. “Circles” offers longtime fans a final goodbye and some resolution to Miller’s mental health.
Some of Miller’s early hits like “Party on Fifth Ave” and “Best Day Ever” labeled him as a middle-class white kid who could rap, party and pull women. This was his appeal to many of his fans. His music could make any moment feel like a party.
Miller’s musical influence came at a time when sagging jeans and wearing a snapback hat backward was cool. However, Miller had the charisma that matched the style.
Miller wanted to grow, not just as a person but also in his music. On his album “Watching Movies with The Sound Off,” he’s credited as producer under the name Larry Fisherman. He had the intention to distance himself from being the same mainstream rapper fans were used to.
Later work like “Macadelic,” “Delusional Thomas” and “Faces” showcased his most creative and original side. Miller didn’t want listeners to think he would ever go back to his catchy songs. In “Here we go” from the album “Faces,” Miller sings that he “ain’t little Malcolm with the babyface anymore.”
Miller showed that he could grow with his music. No single album of his is similar to the other.
His progression from having a mainstream appeal to abstract rap, and finally R&B-inspired music showed that he was extremely versatile.
To show how great Miller was, Jay-Z, arguably the biggest and most respected rapper ever, tweeted that he liked Miller in 2017. To receive approval from someone who is the greatest of all time is probably the greatest compliment a rapper could get.
Many people don’t know that Miller helped Vince Staples and Chance the Rapper early in their careers. He took them both on the road with him and even produced a mix-tape for Staples.
Like most celebrities, Miller had a dark side. He struggled with his fame and coped with drugs and alcohol.
Many rappers and celebrities get caught in this vicious cycle, but Miller had more going on that no one seemed to recognize as concerning or disturbing.
In March 2018, Miller and Ariana Grande broke up after dating for three years. Two months later, in May 2018, Miller was charged with a DUI after crashing his G-Wagon into a utility pole and blowing twice the legal limit.
Many media outlets attributed this accident to his spiral of depression. With his death in September 2018, people flocked to social media to unfairly and publicly blame Grande for leaving Miller to fight his demons by himself.
However, this side of Miller wasn’t new. In his 2014 mixtape, “Faces,” Miller was open about his struggles with drug addiction, depression and fame. In that mixtape, Miller alluded to his fear of joining the 27 club, which is widely known as an abstract list of musicians who died of at age 27, such as singer Amy Winehouse and Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain.
Miller likely wanted to address his problems through his music to give himself therapeutic relief.
The music video for “Self Care” shows Miller literally in a coffin as a metaphor for his struggle to free himself.
In his album “Circles,” Miller spoke about how he wanted to break free from this cycle. He expressed idealistic views that he would change his life and that this was the most important moment in his life.
Unfortunately, fate and the darkness that had left him a tortured soul, brought Miller’s life to a different end. By all appearances, Miller was successful, rich and talented. This goes to show that happiness isn’t in wealth and fame, but in heart and mind.
Mental health is an extremely important topic that is mentioned in mainstream music to a degree, however, the amount of people who still suffer silently is a reality that I hope to see decline. Asking for help should be advocated for in the music industry before it loses more talented artists in vain.