A Tribute to Mac Miller

Story posted September 14, 2018 in Arts & Entertainment, CommRadio by Zach Hall

A week after Mac Miller’s passing, and I still can’t believe it. It’s surreal.

Speaking as a fan of Mac’s music since his K.I.D.S mixtape days all the way through his latest album Swimming, his passing hit me hard. I remember seeing a TMZ article the morning of september 7 breaking the news. My immediate response was “No way, this has to be fake.” The more I scrolled through twitter, the more I realized the horrible truth. Now, a full week after his passing, I found the best way to honor this great soul is to listen to all of his music, and reflect what he meant to me.

I remember when Mac Miller burst into the mainstream with his debut studio album Blue Slide Park, fresh off of his 2011 XXL freshman freestyle. I couldn’t go a day without either listening to one of his songs or hearing someone else talking about him. Mac’s style and personality was undeniable from the start, and only grew from there.

Listening throughout Mac’s discography from start to finish will always blow my mind. From his first hits like “Donald Trump” and “Knock Knock,” all the way to songs like “Self Care” and “Dang,” shows an artist that never settled. It showed that no matter the success he had, Mac was always trying to better himself musically. I truly believe that Mac Miller is a once in a lifetime kind of artist, one that I will never see again.

Aside from his stellar artistry, the thing that really spoke to me about Mac’s music were his lyrics. Mac Miller was a troubled soul, dealing with depression, anxiety and substance abuse issues throughout his career. He reflected these issues through his music, and showed fans a deeper side to him that very few artists were doing at the time of his rise to fame, at least with the artists I was listening to.

Mac Miller's unrelenting humanity gave every lyric in every song such an impact. It’s heartbreaking to go back and listen to the last few lines of “God speed” -- “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 want me to OD and have to talk / to my mother / Tell her they could have done more to help / me / And she’s be crying saying that she’d do / anything to have me back.” 

All of his issues, his faults, were all worn on his sleeve. This, to me, made him one of the realest and most raw artists of my generation.

Upon the release of Mac’s last album Swimming, he seemed to be doing a lot better. The main theme of the album is recognizing his issues and trying to become a better person from it, and from all indications he was succeeding. I don’t believe Mac’s OD was out of sadness. I truly believe that every line from swimming came from a place of truth; I truly believe he really was doing better, which makes his passing so much harder to swallow.

Myself and many others thought they had a lot more time with him. Mac had so much untapped potential, so many things he was going to do. As a fan since day one, I will miss not only his incredible music, but him as a human being.

Mac Miller was a kind soul, wrought with demons that he battled throughout his entire career. It’s heartbreaking to see his life cut criminally short, especially following his bold statement of trying to be a better person. Mac Miller will forever live through his music, and I will never let him fade into obscurity.

Rest easy Mac. 



Zach Hall is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email zth5043@psu.edu.