Remembering Mac Miller

This past weekend marked the release of Mac Miller's final album. Pittsburgh remembers the impact the hometown rapper had and the legacy he left behind.

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Reese Marsalis, Staff Writer

On September 7, 2018, I had just finished getting dressed for a North Allegheny football game. While waiting for my ride, I opened Twitter. Immediately, my heart skipped a beat. I frantically looked around as if someone could verify what I was seeing. I read, “Rapper Mac Miller found dead at the age of 26 from accidental overdose”. 

Now, I would not consider myself an avid rap music fanatic. When my friends play rap music, I can occasionally sing along, but I prefer any other type of music. Mac Miller’s songs are the exception. 

A Pittsburgh native, Miller was born Malcom James McCormick in 1992. He began his music career at the mere age of fifteen. His first album, Blue Slide Park, rocketed to success, debuting on the Billboard 200 as the first independently distributed album since 1995. His music explored mental health, substance abuse and other topics that many artists shy away from. Miller pushed boundaries, he showed character, and he exemplified how to embrace yourself despite your flaws.

For millennials, Miller is nothing short of an icon. And when he died, it felt like the world glitched. It felt impossible that a man so full of life was instantly dead.

NASH senior Tim Ford still laments the loss.

“It is so sad to watch amazing talent die at such a young age,” Ford said.

The majority of the millennial generation mourned Miller’s passing. The artist had been open about his struggles with substance abuse in interviews, his social media, and his songs, and it was obvious that he did not want to die.

“It’s a shame that people don’t understand the importance of drug abuse,” Peter Lawless said. “He died because he never found a way out of addiction, and nobody seemed to care until he died.” 

A year and a half after Miller’s death, his family approved the release of posthumous album entitled Circles. Last Friday, millions listened to Miller’s voice once again. This album is a companion Swimming, which was released one month before his death.

An Instagram post shared by Miller’s family in regard to Circles states, “Two different styles complementing each other, completing a circle — Swimming and Circles was the concept.”

Miller had been working with musician and producer Jon Brion who, after the former’s passing, dedicated himself to finishing the album based on prior conversations with Miller. 

For Pittsburghers, Miller’s death hit close to home. On September 8 2018, an impromptu memorial service was held at the Blue Slide Playground in Frick Park. Senior Olivia Garber was present at the memorial.

“Nobody talked for the first hour of being there,” Garber said. “Once his grandparents came and spoke, music started playing and it felt so surreal seeing everyone bonding together. It felt like a big family there for Mac”

Now the park is known as “Blue Slide Park,” in honor of the artist. 

Not only was Circles released last weekend, but January 19th would have been Miller’s 28th birthday. Around Pittsburgh, local artists created murals and billboards, and the artist’s hometown took the time to remember Malcom James McCormick. 

Mac, if you are listening, we miss you down here. Thank you for completing the circle. #92tilinfinity