Remember him for his hits, not his misses…Mac Miller dead at 26

I’m not going to lie to you. I’ve been sitting in front of my laptop with a blank page for about an hour and a half. Since the breaking news that 26-year-old Pittsburgh musician, producer, and rapper Mac Miller died of an apparent drug overdose, I knew that I was going to have to write something about it.


I stepped off of a train in Chicago, arriving a day early for the Fall Out Boy concert at Wrigley Field. As soon as my foot hit the Chicago cement, I got the Google Alert that Mac Miller had passed away. My stomach dropped down to my feet, and I urgently got on Twitter to verify that this alert was accurate.

It was.

Mac Miller has a long, and very publicized relationship with drugs. All of his recordings reference drug use in theme, he’s released two mixtapes, Macadelic and Faces, that, as a whole, highlight his relationship with drug use.

If you listen to Mac’s music, you can see and feel a progression away from the frat-rap persona that the rapper had built for himself with releases like K.I.D.S or Blueslide Park into a completely rounded musician that was self-aware, vulnerable, and transparent with his words. His latter studio albums Watching Movies with the Sound Off, GOOD:AM, The Divine Feminine, and especially Swimming, highlighted an individual that had not only grown musically, but personally.

After Swimming was released, Mac Miller performed three tracks from the record (“Small Worlds,” “Whats the Use?,” and “2009”) in an incredible episode of NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert series. The performance shows just how important these three songs were to the performer, and how cathartic and therapeutic the creation of the record had to be on a human being that has had a rough couple years.

The performance of “2009” with live strings is hauntingly beautiful.

Prior to the release of Swimming, Mac sat down with Zane Lowe of Beats One for an incredibly insightful conversation detailing the last couple years of his life, his breakup with Ariana Grande, his arrest for DUI in May, the creation of his last ever release, and how happy he was becoming. Lowe even points out in various places how different Mac had seemed, compared to past interviews the two have had.

There is so much that I could get into while talking about Mac Miller, his music, or even his death. But, all I really want to say is that this one hurts like losing an actual friend. As we’ve seen across the entire music scene, we are losing incredibly talented human beings at an alarming rate. Deaths the likes of Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington, the recent overdose of Demi Lovato, and Kyle Pavone, let’s us know that drug use, and it’s consequences affect even the lives of people who are “on top of the world.”

We have to do better. If these problems are happening at the “top” of the heap, then can you just imagine what is happening down here upon the regular people of the world? If you have a friend, an acquaintance, a family member, a co-worker, that you know has a problem, then you need to say something. Minding your business is no longer acceptable when it comes to people dying at the hands of drugs.

The day before Mac Miller’s death, Sept. 6, an incredible profile published by Vulture was released, titled The Perfectionist. 

I highly recommend reading it.

The world lost an incredible musician, yes. But more importantly, the world lost an even more incredible person. Someone who is brave enough to put his entire life in front of people, being completely transparent and honest with his art, just for the hopes that someone would relate to it, is remarkable. Put aside all of his flaws, his mistakes, his addictions; because we all have our flaws, our mistakes, our addictions. Remember this man for this hits, his accomplishments, his art, and his electric personality; and not for his misses.


Rest in Peace, Mac Miller.

Robert J. Sherman

Founder of Resurget Magazine.