a tribute to mac miller

A year after his death, people everywhere are still mourning the loss of Malcom McCormick.

Mac Miller was one of those rappers who changed people’s lives. He certainly changed mine. My friends and I grew up on Mac Miller, and grew with him over the years. We rode with him since some of his first mixtapes, K.I.D.S. and Best Day Ever, to his album Blue Slide Park, which came out the year we graduated high school, to his last album, Swimming. His music accompanied us through our teenage years into our young adult lives, and even still as we reached the better half of our twenties towards thirty.

In the beginning, Malcom rapped about high school parties, smoking weed, and making bank. We played his music at our high school parties while we smoked weed and dreamed about being rich enough to quit our shitty minimum wage jobs. Frick Park Market, Kool-Aid and Frozen Pizza, Party on Fifth Ave., Wake Up, Donald Trump, Knock Knock — these are the songs that make me nostalgic for the days when everything was so easy. All we cared about was whose parties we were going to attend on the weekends. In a way, Mac Miller was the life of the party — he wasn’t in the room physically, but he was always there.

I got my first car, a black two door Cavalier, about a couple months before I got my license. I loved that car. That car resembled freedom. I would burn CDs that had Mac Miller and Kid Cudi tracks on them and I would sit in my car, parked in the garage, and listen while I patiently awaited the day when I could go to the License Bureau. Mac Miller has never stopped playing in my car, even as they upgraded over the years.

As we all grew up — we were the same age as Mac — we went through similar feelings of feeling lost, confused, and not knowing what we wanted out of life. We lost friends, we moved away, we ended the relationships we didn’t think were going to ever end. Mac’s lyrics turned darker over the years as he battled his own demons, just as we all did in our own ways.

Over the years we slowly found ourselves, we started to believe in something bigger than us, we blossomed into the people we were always meant to become. We found love, we found our own versions of happiness, and we found strength in our circle of friends. Swimming makes it seem as if Mac was on a similar journey.

I was drowning, but now I’m swimming.

Come Back to Earth

The day he overdosed was a hard day. I didn’t cry because it didn’t feel real. I sat on my couch and texted my friends there’s no way, he was on a better path, but truth is, you never know what someone is going through. Mac was someone who spread positivity and love — his legacy is the energy he put out into the world.

Get yourself some love in your life, whether that be another person, or just loving yourself, man. Love is good, spread love.

Mac Miller

I asked myself, What would I want to say to Mac Miller? just as his song 2009 came on shuffle, which was roughly when I started to listen to his music. It’s been a long, ten-year journey, and I’m grateful his music has been my life’s soundtrack as I navigate through each day. I want to say thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank you for being there during the fun times, the parties and road trips, those moments when we felt so young and free. Thank you for being there during the rough times, when I wasn’t so sure of myself and who I wanted to be. I knew you didn’t know the answers either, but we were figuring it out together.

I try to live my best life by spreading love and positive energy, and a part of who I am is because of him. There will never be a day when I stop listening to his music. Rest easy, Malcom. You are missed every single day.

*Photos on post by Christaan Felber for Vulture. Feature photo by Carl Timpone.