Mac Miller’s music was there when I needed it. GO:OD AM came out while I was living in a foreign country, lonely, depressed, and crammed into a two-bedroom apartment with six other people. “Weekend” in particular made the bottom of my psyche reverberate like a gong, and I kept tapping play with all the force of a swinging mallet. It showed me that there was someone else seizing onto a tiny hedonism to keep going. Telling themselves they’d be good by the weekend, or the next, or the one after that. I didn’t see his show when he was touring Europe then. This summer, I kept telling myself I would eventually get a ticket to his next Chicago show.
Mac was never my favorite rapper or favorite producer, but he was damn good at both, and I got to watch him build those skills in public in real time. As a white artist in a black art form, he was a model for how to participate and innovate in his own lane. Mac was dedicated to exploring music when it would have been so easy for him to just coast off his initial success. Instead, each new record was truly new. He brought out the best in the best musicians alive. It was clear how much fun he had doing it. Listen to the chorus of “Weekend.” It feels like a parade.
His struggles with relationships, substances, and his own mind showed there is no linear path, no simple binary between good times and bad. Watching an artist, a person like Mac grow isn’t possible in retrospect via magazine back issues and social media archives. It’s something you can only understand as it’s happening, and only appreciate when it’s tragically cut short.
Originally published on Saint Audio.