BY ANNIE MAY
On Sept. 7, 2018, Mac Miller, popular rapper and producer, was found dead of an apparent drug overdose at only 26 years old.
Born Jan. 19, 1992, in Pittsburgh, PA, Malcolm James McCormick, known later by the stage name “Mac Miller,” knew he had a passion for music.
From a young age, he began teaching himself how to play instruments such as piano, drums, bass and guitar. He started rapping at the age of 14.
While he was still in school, he released his first mixtape, titled “But My Mackin’ Aint Easy.” With this mixtape, at just 14 years old, he gained popularity and joined the rap group “The Ill Spoken,” where his career took off.
Miller signed onto Rostrum records as a solo artist in 2010 and embarked on his first tour later that year. Miller’s first hit single, “Knock Knock,” went viral on YouTube, which helped him gain some significant initial recognition. As of this year, the video has over 29 million views.
Miller reached the Billboard Hot 100 chart eight times. According to a recent Billboard article mourning Miller’s death, his albums have sold 1.1 million copies.
One thing Miller was known for beside his musical skills was his transparency in his lyrics. In his song “What Do You Do” Miller says, “A drug habit like Philip Hoffman will probably put me in a coffin” (Philip Hoffman, American actor, died from drug intoxication in 2014).
Miller opened up in many interviews about how real his struggle with drugs was. In one interview with Billboard in Aug. 2015, he discussed his own fear of dying.
Miller said, “I was too worried about the legacy that I would leave behind – how I would be remembered if I died. That’s my whole thing. Like, you never know, man, so I’ve got to make sure I make all this music so when I die there’s albums and albums.”
Not only does his death bring sadness to fans worldwide, but it also leads to an interesting conversation on drug use and abuse, especially among younger generations.
Junior Kevin Gillotti has been listening to Mac Miller for years.
“When I started listening to Mac Miller, it influenced me by helping me find who I truly am. His attitude of not really caring what others thought of him made me realize that people’s opinions shouldn’t affect how I want to live my life either,” said Gillotti.
Many students were shocked when the news broke of Miller’s passing.
“I thought it was one of those celebrity hoax deaths. I was in total shock, as were my housemates,” said Gillotti. “I still can’t believe someone with so much talent has left us so young.”
The sadness was similarly echoed by senior Laura James. “It was definitely a sad moment realizing that we had lost another young artist this year. It was like Avicii, who died earlier this year, and it really seemed to make the community fall silent.”
Celebrities were just as shocked. Several took to social media to express their thoughts after finding out the news.
Rapper J.Cole was one of the many celebrities who tweeted about Miller’s passing: “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 an ear to vent to. If you uncomfortable talking to people around you. Please reach out to me.”
“In today’s world, we hear so much about drug abuse, and it’s all too common. It’s very sad,” said Gillotti.