A Tribute to a Lost Spirit

January 4, 2019
Aaron Kirkpatrick

Bethesda, Maryland, United States

Class of 2020

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Right before rapper Mac Miller passed away, he released his final album, titled “Swimming”. This album was overlooked as it came out at the same time as Travis Scott’s highly anticipated album “Astroworld”. There is a stigma that as a white rapper you have to perform a certain way to be successful, which is how Mac spent most of his career, but eventually, he learned that success is not important if it means giving yourself up. Because of this, instead of being the standout rapper he normally was, he decided to take a step back and reflect. Reflecting on his past addiction was not an easy path for Mac because in the midst of the stress and depression of his peaking career, he believed that the only way for him to feel better was through drugs.

An infamous quote that truly embodies his addiction is shown in a video when he says, “I’m not on drugs, the drugs are on me”. He also gets very personal about his addiction on his first song of the album dubbed “Come Back to Earth”, where he talks about his regrets, putting an emphasis on the need for a way out. He found relief in the form of drugs, which he admits by saying, “and I was drowning, but now I'm swimming through stressful waters to relief”. Over time, his drug addiction engulfed him and influenced each of his highly popular albums. He admits that he went through too much and sacrificed too much to discredit these albums, even if he was on drugs when producing them.

After stepping out of the spotlight of rap, he moved into an apartment by himself, where he had an identity crisis. He shares this on the eighth song, which is titled “Small Worlds”, and talks about how people believe they are just a speck of dust and that they don’t matter, yet that is not the truth. One of the lines is “the world is so small till it ain’t”, revealing Mac’s unorthodox view of the world which he formed while both on and off drugs within this album.

His most introspective and reflective song of the entire album is “2009”. The title alone tells a story, the story of how Mac Miller became Mac Miller. 2009 was one year before Mac Miller released his mixtape “KIDS” that sparked his career. Aside from the name of the song, he also mentions how much he has learned throughout his career, “I ain't asking why no more I know I'll take it if it's mine I don't stay inside the line It ain't 2009 no more yeah, I know what's behind that door”.  The track overall is a reflection of the lessons he has learned and the wisdom he has gained throughout his career. His last album showed the impact Mac Miller wanted to leave on this generation to be felt by all of us was that he  “wan[ted] be positive as a human being and through music, but I also want[ed] to have low points”.

Rest Easy Mac, a true pioneer.

Aaron Kirkpatrick is an Aleph from Northern Region East: DC and loves being a punter.

All views expressed on content written for The Shofar represent the opinions and thoughts of the individual authors. The author biography represents the author at the time in which they were in BBYO.

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