Pittsburgh rapper Mac Miller died on Friday, September 7, 2018, at the young age of 26. According to several sources, including Variety, Miller died of an apparent drug overdose and was found dead around noon (local time) in his house in San Fernando Valley, California. Reportedly, a friend of the rapper called 911 after finding him in his bed unconscious. He was later pronounced dead at the scene.
Mac Miller, whose real name is Malcolm James McCormick, struggled with drug abuse for years but did not make a secret out of his problems with addiction. In 2013, he admitted that he was addicted to ‘purple drank’ – a combination of promethazine and codeine, which is also known as ‘lean’. During his 2012 Macadelic Tour in support of his mixtape of the same name, he used ‘lean’ for stress relieve, but was able to stop by the end of the same year.
In recent news, however, he began using alcohol and drugs again, and allegedly his drug use became worse after breaking up with singer Ariana Grande in May of this year, who he dated since 2016. His drug issues did not stop, and last May he destroyed his car by colliding his vehicle against a traffic signal while being intoxicated. Miller then fled but was arrested at his home. It was reported he had twice the amount of alcohol in his blood than permitted. According to Grande, who tweeted “pls take care of yourself” after his incident, his drug abuse was partly why she split up with Miller. Last month, The Los Angeles Attorney’s Office officially charged him with a DUI stemming from that accident in May.
Often times he mentioned drug abuse in his lyrics. Especially his 2014 mixtape ‘Faces’ discusses his battles openly. The album’s autobiographical content goes deep into his intoxicated mind. ‘Angel Dust’, one of the tracks of the album, tells messy stories about his drug addiction: “Woke up annihilated, lying on the pavement/Covered in items I regurgitated under a fire escape”.
In 2015 he discussed his drug habits on Larry King Live, revealing his abuse was linked to depression. As he believed it was his state of mind that caused the addiction, he recalled getting depressed starting with having success as a rapper: “It’s funny because you talk to people, when they say ‘what do you have to be depressed about, you have money and dadadadada […] 18,19 years old, going through this for the first time doing it very differently. And I think what is usually just that moment in someone’s life where they’re trying to figure out who they are, what their identity is. It just gets magnified, you know, and then becomes a bigger thing […] Fame is tricky because you’ve read what’s said about you, then you know what you know to be true, and the lines start to blur.”
Mac Miller started his rap career in 2007. Known as EZ Mac at that time, he released his mixtape ‘But My Mackin’ Ain’t Easy’ at the age of fourteen. His rap career took off in 2010 when he signed a record deal with independent record label Rostrum Records. His debut studio album ‘Blue Slide Park’, released in 2011, made it to the top of the Billboard Charts – the first indie album to debut at number one since 1995’s Tha Dogg Pound’s album ‘Dogg Food’. In 2013 he launched his own label imprint REMember Music and released his second indie album ‘Watching Movies With The Sound Off’ which reached number three on the album charts. In 2014 he signed a record deal with Warner Bros. Records, a ‘very independent-thinking company’ according to Miller, as he liked his independence. His third and fourth albums, ‘GO:OD AM’ and ‘The Divine Feminine’, both made it in the top 5. His fifth and final album ‘Swimming’ was released on August 3, 2018, another success that reached number three. The biggest hits of his career include ‘Frick Park Market’, ‘Party on Fifth Ave.’, ‘Smile Back’, and ‘Loud’. One of his first single-chart entries is a song named ‘Donald Trump’ which was released in 2011, and regained popularity during Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and eventually his election as president. It made it to #28 on the iTunes Charts in 2016. Miller stated the song was about becoming as wealthy and successful like him as a business magnate but he was not a Trump supporter himself. Miller’s biggest charting single, however, was a feature in Ariana Grandes 2013 single ‘The Way’ which charted at number 9. Last year he performed ‘The Way’ once again with Ariana Grande at her benefit concert ‘One Love Manchester’, for the victims of the terrorist bombing at Grande’s concert in Manchester two weeks before.
Mac Miller and Ariana Grande performing ‘The Way’ at benefit concert ‘One Love Manchester’ in 2017.
On the day of his death, he actually planned to film a music video, and a month later a tour was planned where he was very excited about. Many celebs reacted to the sudden death of Mac Miller via social media, including Chance The Rapper, Wiz Khalifa, Charlamagne Tha God, Lecrae, Jaden Smith, Victoria Justice, among many others. Rapper J. Cole wrote the following statement on Twitter: “This is a message for anybody in this game that’s going through something. If you don’t feel right, if you feel you have a substance problem, if you need a ear to vent to. If you uncomfortable talking to people around you. Please reach out to me.”
Mac Miller was unique in his rapping style, with fast and solid raps, often mixed with early 90s hip hop sounds. He was also a self-taught musician, could play piano, drums, guitar, and bass, while also being a singer, and produced his own records under the pseudonym Larry Fisherman. He truly will be missed.
Mac Miller’s debut single ‘Knock Knock’