When the news of Mac Miller’s death broke Friday afternoon, I didn’t know how to react.
Mac was 26 years old. He had just dropped an album and was about to go on tour. In many of his recent interviews, he seemed genuinely happy, excited and ready for the future ahead. It just didn’t seem real.
For some reason, this death touched me in ways that other celebrity deaths previously hadn’t. I felt like I lost a close friend, despite not knowing him personally.
I grew up with his music and watched him mature from the age of 19, just as I was beginning to mature. He caught my attention as a young kid with his “frat rap” days, and he held it all the way through his career. I assumed I had more time to continue growing up with his music like I had been for the past 10 years.
With each album, you could tell the mental state that Mac was in. He was always open about his struggles, successes and life experiences. He helped me deal with darker times that I had gone through, growing up. He taught me to be kind, accepting and open-minded.
But most importantly, he helped me discover myself and the person I aspire to be. No other artist has touched me that deeply before.
Mac grew up fast, and every album reflected his growth as a person and a musician — from corny verses for young teenagers to ones that addressed his struggles with fame and drugs. He reinvented himself on every album, allowing his audience to get an honest, inside view of his current perspective on life.
With his last two albums, Mac seemed to have finally discovered the sound he had been searching for throughout his career. Knowing that we won’t get to hear him expand on his exponential growth as a musician will never sit well with me.
I was fortunate enough to see Mac perform seven times and to meet him once. The short, 30-second conversation we had has been stuck in the back of my head since the day I met him in 2013. I couldn’t tell you the words we exchanged or the topic of our conversation, but it’s still one of the happiest days of my life. Mac’s positive, kind and genuine nature toward me that day solidified every post I’ve seen over the past weekend from his peers, fans and the music industry.
In an interview with Fader magazine in 2016, Mac expanded upon his problems with addiction.
“I’d rather be the corny white rapper than the drugged-out mess who can’t even get out of his house,” Mac said. “Overdosing is just not cool. There’s no legendary romance. You don’t go down in history because you overdose. You just die.”
Little did he know the true impact his music had on the world. Mac will go down in history as one of the greatest artists of our generation: a trendsetter that influenced more people than he ever could have imagined, a pioneer in the new generation of rappers and a hip-hop legend. His passion, enthusiasm and spirit will forever be unmatched.
Thank you for music that inspired a generation of kids to enjoy the rollercoaster of life. You were a voice of our generation that evolved just as we did. We grew up with you, and moving forward without you feels like something is missing. There will never be another artist like you. There will never be another person like you.
I hope you find peace — your peace of mind.
R.I.P. Malcolm James McCormick. Jan. 19, 1992 – Sept. 7, 2018.