It’s kinda wild how as time goes on the words and music of Mac Miller continue to dig deeper into my heart, after his spirit has left his body. Much like 2pac, Prince, and I’m sure CharlestheFirst will.
Every time I listen, his work speaks to that time in my life when I was abusing substances to cope with the hardship. It reminds me every time I that no matter how on top of the world someone may seem, they can have this kind of danger happening beneath the surface.
There is a reason why he hit like he did in the culture. He spoke like, and lived like, and eventually died like so many of our millennial family. His flow was at times like Doom and Kendrick, but the kid loved to sing the ballad like Frank and Al Green. And as someone who enjoys imitating voices, I’ve noticed that his rasp is essentially impossible to match.
But here we are in 2022, four years after his death due to oxys that were actually fentanyl, watching Euphoria, and trying to hide that lifelong fear we all have that one of our friends or family might go down on the same sudden bullshit. “Everbody’s got dead homies.”
I remember how long I thought that the Trainspotting or Requiem for a Dream kind of addiction would be the worst of it for the society. Instead, we are trapped in this reality where our “rich” society can’t even figure out how to create a new normal of harm reduction, drug decriminalization, and free addiction services.
As my friend, DJ/producer dela Moon reminded me, there is more than just the War on Drugs to blame for this persisting addiction trouble that our culture is seemingly almost numb to. As she says, “It is in many ways the emptiness that comes from consumer culture, cynicism, and a lack of spiritual fulfillment.” There is a certain kind of work that we all must do to maintain the spirit needed to endure all of the darkness and loss that this world presents to us in a certain unprecedented digitized prevalence. For many of us, we desperately need love, support, and understanding from another human, if not hopefully a community, just to even begin to do that work.
Mac’s rhymes are timelessly fly and clever. The features and beats are fucking epic and innovative. However, it’s the more significant message of his troubled life and the tragedy of his death that will serve as an example of what this Drug War has cost us. Way too much every day, with no end in sight. And yet, “somehow we’ve got to find a way, no matter how many miles it takes.”
Mental health difficulties and addiction are within all of us. Normalizing that and building up resources that can save lives is the work. Be aware, third eye stare, never fear. Big love to Mac and those who feel it a little, feel it a lot.