The Lasting Impact of Mac Miller

On September 7, 2018, the music and entertainment worlds lost a music legend. Mac Miller, a ground-breaking rapper from Pittsburgh, PA, died from a accidental drug overdose. Though he has been gone for some months now, his legacy will forever live on in the hearts of his family, friends, and fans across the world.

I don’t remember the exact moment that I first listened to Mac Miller, but I do recall that first encounter with his music taking place in my freshman year of high school. When I started high school, I was always uptight—I took everything too seriously and didn’t know how to relax—but Mac’s music was instrumental to my growth as it pertained to letting loose and being less cynical and self-righteous. Mac Miller taught me how to have fun while still taking care of business, whether it was schoolwork, relationships, or self-development. Mac’s entire discography is a gold mine, but I was officially drawn in by the release of Macadelic in March of 2012. From that point on, I was hooked.

Macadelic came into my life around the first time that I ever experienced true depression. I didn’t have the knowledge to properly dissect my feelings and figure out where they were coming from, and I didn’t have the tools to figure out what to do with those feelings. Oftentimes, I felt alone in my struggle. However, Mac Miller’s candid, and often raw, discussion of his mental health via his music made me realize that I wasn’t the only one feeling like this—I wasn’t on my own. It was incredible to see someone hardly five years older than me baring his soul and expressing such gut-wrenching emotions in his songs while maintaining a level of artistry and musicianship that made his music so enjoyable. Curious about the paradox that was Mac Miller, I began to study him and his music. I realized that although there was often pain behind his lyrics, there also existed a distinct aura of authenticity, and that aura glowed around every word he said.

Mac Miller was genuine and honest, and I think that was why he meant so much to me. In the middle of his career, from 2012 to 2014, he was a considerably private person, in regards to doing interviews and engaging in public media events. The only way I could hear what he had to say was by listening to his music. In those two short years, he released seven projects. That was the defining moment of my relationship with his music. From there, my love for his music, and for him as a person, grew astronomically. Mac’s music touched upon a number of topics, but the main ones were love, fame, and the anguish they tend to cause. For a long time, Mac Miller’s discography was the only thing that spoke to me musically. No matter what he talked about, he always found a way to sprinkle self-confidence into his lyrics—a self-confidence that he maintained throughout his career—which made me feel like everything was going to be alright. That was the thing about Mac Miller: despite all the pain he encountered in his life, he always appeared to have his situation under control. That’s a lesson that has stuck with me since the first time I listened to him.

Faces is another project that holds a special place in my heart. Throughout the entire mixtape, we listen to Mac explore the duality of life—he took us through intense highs and invited us to feel his extreme low points. Through it all, though, he always found a way to lean towards the silver lining. Inside Out, the opening track on Faces, may sound lighthearted upon the first listen, but when you sit with it for a few listens, you will come to realize that it has a much deeper meaning behind it. On the track, he seemed to be on an emotional rollercoaster ride. For example, the line, “It could all end right now, I never been so ready,” says, to me, one of two things: consuming it literally, one may say that he was foreshadowing his death and expressing his preparedness, but he could also have meant that he understands that good times eventually come to an end. What Mac may have forgotten to mention is that those ever-so-fleeting good times often come with long-lasting positive effects on those who are fortunate enough to experience them. Mac Miller is a prime example: we may have lost an artist who was a light for many lovers of music and hurting souls, but in his time here, he lit the path for other artists to follow in his example and now lead the way in his honor.

Artwork by Hamda Wasarme.

Chioma NwanaComment