I grew up listening to hip-hop. Some of my earliest memories are being in the backseat of my moms car and listening to “The Eminem Show”. She grew up with hip-hop. The golden age of hip-hop to be honest. I don’t have to list everyone to explain the significance of 90’s hip-hop. But I’ve taken that love and passion for rap along with me the older I’ve grown.
Even showed my mom rappers I loved. Like J Cole or Kendrick Lamar. My freshman year of high school is when I discovered J. Cole. I was really taking my own time to look into any new rappers I could find. And I remember coming across a rapper named Mac Miller. He had a hit called “Donald Trump” out. I remember it being super catchy and just fun. But, I never went further than that.
Mac had a show on Mtv I would occasionally watch. But again, I never went any deeper than that. I was just a super casual viewer/listener. It was just a rapper that I never made a connection with.
On September 7th, 2018, hip-hop artist Mac Miller passed away. The day news of Macs passing was reported, I was on my way to J. Coles KOD concert. Cole is my favorite rapper I have a deep connection with. Coles latest album KOD had three meanings.
Kill Our Demonz
Kids on Drugs
His overall message of the album and theme was to ‘choose wisely‘. The album dives into the demons that come with drugs, money, and temptation and how NOT to deal with the pain. Here I was, reading this news report on a young, talented rapper, overdose at the age of 26. It was literally what Cole was talking about. Cole dedicated the whole concert to Mac. He also dedicated the song “Love Yourz” to Mac. At one point, Cole walked off stage and came back with eyes glossy and filling with tears. He apologized and started to perform again.
Prior to the tragic news, I had no clue Mac released a new album. He released his 5th studio album “Swimming” on August 3rd, 2018. Completely flew under my radar. And to be quite honest, I don’t know if I would’ve previewed it even if I knew it was out. It’s not that I didn’t like him, he was just never someone I connected with (at the time).
The day of his passing is when I found out about the album. So, I listened to it. And I’ve been in love with it ever since.
(It becomes this weird thing though. Would I be as in love with it had he not passed? Why is it that lyrics, beats, messages, and overall music make more of an impact when some passes? Shit’s sad.)
The beats and melody’s on every single track are mesmerizing. It’s simply beautiful. Each song, you can hear his pain. You can hear that he is actually trying to get clean. But he can’t. Song’s like “Wings” and “Come Down to Earth” are sad to listen to. The chorus of “Come Down to Earth” being Mac singing,
My regrets look just like text I shouldn’t send
And I got neighbors, they’re more like strangers
We could be friends
I just need a way out of my head
I’ll do anything for a way out
Of my head
The song “2009” has one of the most beautiful intros to a song I think I’ve ever heard. The coupled piano and strings transitioning to a hip-hop beat captivate you and pull you into the world Mac is painting. So many emotions flow from the lyrics. Pain, relief, sympathy, and love.
“So It Goes” has been on constant repeat. The simplicity of the lyrics followed by a beautiful, fluid, chorus, and instrumental was a perfect close to this deep, personal album. The tempo of the beat making a slow, powerful rise giving the feeling of relief and happiness. It felt like Mac was finally letting go of the demons and was back. He was gone, but he was finally back.
Well, everybody gather ’round
I’m still standing, sit down
And I know been out (and I know I been out)
Now I’m back in town (now I’m back in town) so I
Show you the ropes
So it goes, so it goes, so it goes
I could easily write a paragraph on each song, but I can’t. I can’t recommend this album enough. I wish I would’ve written this article a month ago. Music this great shouldn’t have to be noticed by something so tragic. I never spent time with Mac’s music, and I regret it. But maybe everything does happen for a reason. Maybe someone out there is able to pick this album up and find a piece of them that’s missing. So far, that’s what it’s doing for me. Rest easy Mac.
Here are some gems