“I can’t help myself, I think I need some help.” These words are the only lyrical contribution that the now deceased Mac Miller gave on the Ab-soul song D.R.U.G.S. As the song goes on, Miller reappears, only stating this line.
In the case of Mac Miller, who died at the age of 26 on Sept. 7th of an apparent drug overdose, his line in the song seemed to really be a call for help. This song was released in 2016.
Fast forward two more years to Miller’s last album Swimming, which was released just over a month ago on Aug. 3rd. On the opening track of the album titled “Come Back to Earth,” Mac sings one of the most notable lines in the first few seconds of the song saying, “I’ll do anything for a way out of my head.”
If we look at Mac Miller as an artist, which he is, we can say that art is a reflection of an artists own reality. By listening to Miller’s music, especially of late, we can see that something has been amiss in his life. From drugs, to relationship trauma, to the trials of fame, Miller was never one to hide his struggles via his music.
In 2011, a rather unknown scrawny 19-year old white kid from Pittsburgh released a rap project titled “Blue Slide Park”. It was Miller’s first major release, and it was the first “independently distributed debut album” to top the Billboard 200 album since Tha Dogg Pound’s 1995 album “Dogg Food”.
On the album Blue Slide Park, which is inspired by an actual a park in Miller’s hometown of Pittsburgh, PA, we see a jubilant, hedonistic, care-free and braggadocious fresh-faced rapper who wrote uplifting songs about partying and living the rockstar life.
On one of the album’s most popular songs, “Donald Trump,” we see Miller kind of predict the future with his line rapping, “Take over the world when I’m on my Donald Trump Sh*t.” Little did we all know that five years later, Donald Trump would become the leader of the free world.
As many know, Miller was involved in a high-profile celebrity relationship with pop-singer Ariana Grande for roughly two years. The two split up in early 2018, and not too long after, Grande became engaged to young comedian Pete Davidson. In the months following the break up, Miller wrapped his car around a tree, a car accident in which he was charged with a DUI.
Over the course of Miller’s career there are particular themes that are reoccuring in his music. From partying and hedonism to love and romance, the one thing that became more prevalent as time went on was his struggle with his substance abuse. There are lines that, now that he is gone, are chilling due to their potency, relevance and otherworldly ability to become real.
On Miller’s song “Perfect Circle/God Speed” he raps extensively about his substance abuse. This song might detail to the fullest extent how Miller really felt about his struggles. He goes on to say that “They don’t want me to OD and have to talk to my mother/tell her they could have done more to help me./ Admit it’s a problem I need a wake up/Before one morning I don’t wake up.”
Miller was a true artist. He developed over the years, changed his style, experimented and contributed to Hip/Hop culture and beyond. He paved his own path of artistry, collabing with music’s biggest names such as Kendrick Lamar and Vince Staples. Many other big names have paid homage to Miller’s legacy including Kendrick Lamar, Drake, Travis Scott, Ariana Grande, Childish Gambino, J. Cole and more.
In spite of Miller’s career now being marred by a drug overdose, in both his actions and his music, Miller will be remembered by his happy-go-lucky demeanor. As Miller once said in regards to his view of life while living, “Wherever life takes me, find me with a smile.”
Categories: Arts & Entertainment