Mac Miller’s Legacy

Not all of us love listening to rap, but most of us can appreciate an artist who dedicates his or her life to their craft. Mac Miller was one such artist. September 9 marked the end of his life but not the end of his legacy. No longer with us physically, his impact on the music industry and the way we listen to each other will live on for years to come.

What made Mac Miller’s art unique? At only 26 years old, he had a youthful energy and a ground level perspective on the mental processing of young people. His vivacity and determination to attack injustices inspired his followers to tackle those worldly issues too. Constantly transitioning, Miller made it a point to refuse the categorization that brings so many stars fame. He never wanted to be put in a box, so he continued trying on several genres of music, styles of lyricism.

His most recent album, released this year, projects a beautiful freedom mixed with a depth in the lyrics that simultaneously encourages and presses into wonder. He tackles modern issues and current events, as he did most famously earlier with his release of his song “Donald Trump.” The rhythms of his songs are alive and smooth, one note carrying us effortlessly to the next.

mac miller performance

David Wolff-Patrick/Redferns

Starting his rap career at the young age of 14, Mac Miller always believed in his art. As he grew, he experimented regardless of his popularity and what the public expected from him. Since his death, his ex girlfriend Ariana Grande has expressed deep grief, stating that Miller had been struggling for a long time, that she couldn’t be his girlfriend and his rehabilitation coach.

I respect Miller for never neglecting or hiding his mental health difficulties. Listeners related with his thoughtful perceptions of mental health and his openness inspired openness for others. His death announcement in Rolling Stone cited him as saying, “I don’t want to be depressed. I want to be able to have good days and bad days.” This highlights a desire anyone who has struggled mentally or emotionally can relate to. Where is the balance between light and dark in the mind? How do we stay afloat with all of the overwhelming pain and destruction surrounding us in our world?

A quick search of the merchandise Miller offered his fans on his website reveals colorful shirts and quirky fonts all over a variety of clothing items. What struck me, though, was the shirt with the giant green letters “self care.” It made my heart ache because of how we as a culture have discredited the idea of taking care of ourselves. We have devalued the concept of being kind to our own thoughts and our own desires. May our memories of Mac Miller inspire us to be inventive, to try things no one else expects. May he remind us to take care of ourselves, to spend time with those we love, to treat every moment with respect and anticipation. When the dark days inevitably come, we will hold onto each other with the ferocity he held onto his craft until the end.