Sara Al Jandal
The misconception of hip-hop is often portrayed as harsh, violent and disrespectful. However, Malcolm James McCormick, an American rapper better known by his stage name Mac Miller, brought more to his audience than just a good bass. His lyrics brought insight into his life such as sobriety, love and more realistic issues different from typical rap lyrics today about money, women, and fame. Although, on September 2018, the 26-year-old artist overdosed on drugs, leaving him to be pronounced dead in his Los Angeles home after a friend called 911. The declaration left fans all over the world in silence due to shock and sadness.
McCormick refused to fit in an artistic bubble of the common musicians around him, who either fit in only rap or only R&B; the artist chose the route of being able to alternate his music, rather than conforming.
His most recent album Swimming, published on 3 August 2018 left his audience in excitement after his long break from the industry. His music was taken and appreciated due to his lyrics of relevant topics occurring in many of the realities of his audience. Despite this, the rapper’s issues continued to fluctuate throughout his life up until his tragic death. The tributes of his life that followed were significant, leaving his songs to reach top-20 charts, as listeners reminisced.
The American rapper grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he developed his interest in music whilst still in high-school as he played multiple instruments and rapped. By being exposed to music at a young age, McCormick released mixtapes, joined groups and created his own band with members with similar interests. Once his songs surfaced and brought attention to others, a record label, Rostrum Records eventually signed him. His 2010 tour, The Incredibly Dope Tour, sparked his further success as the rest of the world was able to easily access his music, which lead to a serious growth in his fan-base.
Despite his fame and achievements, the stress of love, expectations and other issues brought drug usage throughout his career. The artist used to speak about his sobriety in his music and interviews, allowing his fans to resonate with his situation as he presented no social superiority with whatever he shared.
Even after a break-up with his two-year-long girlfriend and pop artist Ariana Grande, McCormick faced some issues whilst dealing with heartbreak. The busy schedules of being an artist, going on tours, and no privacy can be overwhelming for any relationship. Following the heartbreak, he took upon the usage of drugs and created a lot of music to describe his current feeling for his audience to relate.
The rapper revealed that he used promethazine and cocaine for years after the breakup with the pop-star. However, in an interview with Rolling Stone, McCormick openly shared an image to the rest of the world ensuring everyone that he is “okay” and not a drug addict. “If a bunch of people think I am a huge drug addict, OK. Cool. What can I really do? Go talk to all those people and be like ‘Naw man, it’s really not that simple?’” he says. “Have I done drugs? Yeah. But am I a drug addict? No.”
After revealing this, issues such as love and the shock of being in the public-eye surfaced again in his life, resulting in his relapse. After his death was announced, artist Ariana Grande received harsh treatment, as people blamed the overdose on her. Consequently, Grande fled the public eye and was hospitalized due to the amount of blame against her. McCormick’s death was a shock to the rest of the world, thus then people ask themselves, was it an act of suicide? Accidental? leaving the world to wonder. People viewed his lyrics as a guide for their own issues, and as they reminisce, audiences all over the world now understand the greater effect of his words and how powerful they remained to be.