Born in Pittsburgh in 1992, Malcolm James McCormick grew up with nothing but aspirations of becoming a musician. His love of The Beastie Boys, OutKast and A Tribe Called Quest later became evident in his own music career; which began in 2007 at the age of just 15, spanning and developing right up until his very recent tragic passing on September 7th 2018. It is still raw and painful to think about, but this is a post to honour and celebrate the life and career of Mac Miller. Thank you for everything Mac, you’ll never be forgotten.
A self-taught pianist, drummer and guitarist, Malcolm McCormick always showed musical pedigree and interest, but it wasn’t until high school when he decided to focus his efforts on hip-hop. “Once I hit 15, I got real serious about it and it changed my life completely.” His early rap career started with the stage name EZ Mac as he released a mixtape titled But My Mackin’ Ain’t Easy in 2007, but it wasn’t until 2009 when Mac got noticed; as part of a Pittsburgh-based rap group called The Ill Spoken. Rostrum Records signed Mac in early 2010 as a solo artist and his name change to Mac Miller came with an influx of success.
Selling out a nationwide US tour at 18 years old, it was obvious that Mac Miller was destined for great things off the back of mixtape K.I.D.S. and he gained critical acclaim his musical maturity despite being such a young age. Best Day Ever soon followed and Mac was beginning to blow up, thanks to hit singles Donald Trump and All Around The World. 2011 would soon become the biggest year in Mac’s career.
March 2011 saw the release of On and On and Beyond, a six-track EP produced by his label before announcing a debut studio album, which we now know as the infamous Blue Slide Park, would be dropping later that year. Before that, Mac’s stock was rising by the day with the release of another mixtape (I Love Life, Thank You) and a feature on the remix of Maroon 5’s mega smash hit Moves Like Jagger. Blue Slide Park was released in November of 2011 and debuted at number one on the Billboard charts. It had sold 144,000 first week copies and was the first independently distributed debut to top the charts in 16 years. 2011 was also the year where Mac was announced on the annual XXL Freshman List for up and coming rappers, appearing on the cover alongside the likes of YG, Meek Mill, and a certain Kendrick Lamar.
The early 2010’s saw a number of mixtape releases from Mac including a collab project with Long Beach rapper Vince Staples. There was a constant flow of new music from Mac around these times which included his second studio album, Watching Movies With The Sound Off. This was a special album to me, it was expertly produced and Mac wore his heart on his sleeve throughout as he was stunningly honest to his audience. It was the best Mac Miller project for me, it’s the album I’ll remember him by.
Faces was a 24 song mixtape release in 2014, it’s arguably Mac’s greatest mixtape to carry on his incline to the top of rap. Unfortunately numbers wise Mac’s later albums suffered but the content was still always there. GO:OD AM, was a 2015 album which showed more than one side of Mac, it was full of raw emotions, whether that be his new found positive energy or some of his darker thoughts, there were beautiful melodies and straight bars, something for everyone.
A year later in 2016 Mac would release his fourth studio album, The Divine Feminine, accompanied by one of his greatest singles ever, Dang! It was no surprise that Mac had again shifted his musical focus as his IQ seemed to flourish under this new genre of jazz rap that made this album so enjoyable. It was also released towards a similar time to when he first began dating Ariana Grande. His most recent album, Swimming, happened to be released not long after Mac’s relationship with Ariana Grande ended which made for a different theme of his album. Swimming was masterfully produced and was all in all a brilliant record when you look at how self critical Mac was, brutal honesty can be the most endearing thing about music at times.
It was clear Mac always had his problems, we know this through his music. He’s often spoke about his past and present addictions as well as his mental health. He seemed to be on a positive path upon the shocking and devastating news of his death. Mac Miller passed away on September 7th 2018 from what appears to be a suspected drug overdose which has unfortunately become a common theme, a theme we as a team of 7 billion people should attempt to stop as quick as we can. Mac’s life and untimely death should be a sign to not just rappers, but all humans alike. We should talk more and help each other as much as we possibly can.
Rest in peace Mac and thanks for all the amazing music.