This past week, especially due to the nature of New Paltz as a college campus and a college town, we’ve all been feeling the profound loss that comes with the death of a person so young and vibrant. Mac Miller’s tragic death encapsulates a somber moment in time, a time where many bright lights amongst us are snuffed out by the perils of drug addiction.
Here at The Oracle, we’d like to memorialize a musician whose songs and style we’ve been influenced by since high school. For many, his songs represent that most formative of times.
Miller’s songs cover numerous themes, but are punctuated by fond sentiments of delinquency, accompanied by uplifting messages about trying one’s best and being thankful for life even when faced with adversity. His music revolves around gratitude for all.
Miller began rapping at age 14 under the moniker “EZ Mac.” He entered the public consciousness around 2011 with debut album Blue Slide Park, initially identifying with the frat-rap scene of his hometown, Pittsburgh. Miller’s popularity skyrocketed following his signing with Rostam Records, but he was quick to shun fame and success. His kind-hearted nature and benevolent wordplay remained constant, even as his music darkened in tone with subsequent albums such as Watching Movies with the Sound Off and The Divine Feminine.
These albums solidified Miller’s status as a prolific musical collaborator. His prematurely final album, Swimming, was released last month, and features brilliant collaborations with other talented musicians such as Anderson Paak and Thundercat.
Those who know Mac Miller’s music know of his turbulent relationship with substance abuse. It’s not a new story– greeted with success, a talented artist falls into a cycle of intoxication. Despite Miller’s ongoing struggles with his mental and physical health, he continued to crank out music and art focused on finding the beauty in life– something we could all learn from.
Perhaps one of the most tragic aspects surrounding Miller’s passing is the willingness of some lecherous human beings to poke their heads out from the depths of the internet and point fingers at Ariana Grande, Miller’s former girlfriend. Grande likely feels his death in ways that we can never understand, and it’s majorly disheartening that internet trolls… exist? And feed off of others’ pain? It’s astounding.
So, what can we take away from this?
Of course, there are many things to be said about mental illness, drug addiction and the stigmatization of both. We’re young, we’re smart, we know. Let’s just grieve together.
Some will say that little could have been done to prevent Miller’s death. We’ll never know, and it isn’t our business. Regardless, now is a time to hug your friends, take time for yourself, and remember to not do pills.