Last night he posted a video of his Hotel Cafe show that we were at. That was his last performance.
He died of an apparent drug overdose.
I’ve personally never been affected by a “celebrity” death in this way before. Maybe it’s because I just saw him a month ago, at what is now being referred to as his final performance, or maybe it’s because I grew up with him, watching him grow and progress as my own life did as well. In part, I feel selfish grieving for someone I’ve never personally met. “This isn’t about me, I’m just a fan” I keep telling myself. But the truth is that I am heavily affected by this. I don’t want to be but I am. He was a part of my every day life. It was just last night that he released the Hotel Cafe video and I watched every second of it with an eagle eye looking to spot myself — and I did. At the time, I was excited, “Woah! You can see me in the audience!” I remember exclaiming excitedly to my friends.
Now it seems pointless.
The first time I ever saw Mac was when YouTube recommended I watch his “Nikes On My Feet” video. I clicked and found some young white kid trying to rap. Hoping to one day be a musician, my 13-year-old self related with him and his “frat boy raps” immediately. From there I quickly jumped on to “Best Day Ever” and “Senior Skip Day” before watching him blow up with “Donald Trump”. I can’t think of a more fitting way to truly describe just how much times really have changed than to just say the title of the song that put Mac on the map. Then, after his debut album Blue Slide Park was panned by critics, Mac began a transition in his career which I followed closely. He dropped the more artistic Watching Movies With The Sound Off and the culmination of his drug addiction, the Faces mixtape. I have long regarded Faces as the best work Mac has ever done. Looking back, it’s probably the darkest period of his short life, and that fucks me up too.
Over the recent years it seemed that he got better. He was dropping music on an annual basis, at one point hinting that he was sitting on five different albums, eventually choosing to release one of my personal favorites, GOOD A:M. But whether or not his music progressed beyond covering his addiction it seemed that Mac was still struggling behind the scenes. Fast forward another two albums and a tumultuous relationship and we’re left with the events of today. The part that really hits me though is how active he was on social media ever since the breakup a few months ago. He was posting every day, frequently going live on Instagram, and just starting the album promotion process — he seemed happy, at least I thought he was. I felt like maybe he didn’t know me but I certainly knew him. I felt like he was an actual part of my life, especially after waiting in line for 3 hours and being one of only 100 people to see him at the Hotel Cafe for his album release. I befriended many people waiting in line that day. We bonded over nothing other than our mutual love for Mac Miller, and some of those same people texted me today telling me to stay strong and keep swimming.
It’s all too surreal. It just doesn’t seem like it actually happened. Simply put, he’s the first artist who I have been able to watch and grow with that has died in my lifetime. I’ve been listening to Mac Miller for ten years, and I’ll keep on listening until my day comes. Love you Mac. Keep swimming.