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The Transparency of Mac Miller Life Through Music

Mac Miller.  Photo Credit: People Magazine

Whenever we lose somebody in the hip hop world, it’s exceedingly painful. There are lots of reasons why, but hip hop fans seem to have a connection to their artists that other fans do not. With the loss of Mac Miller over this past weekend, we’re once again subjected to coping with losing a young, vibrant and gifted talent that was struggling with issues and inner demons that many of us only knew about on the surface. And that’s part of what makes losing Easy Mac with the Cheesy Raps even harder. While Mac was extremely transparent about his addictions, his flaws and those things that hindered him so, fans can only go so far as to understand what an artist is really going through. Like the old MTV slogan used to say: “You think you know, but you have no idea.”

I personally got the most familiar with Mac Miller than I ever had through his 2013 album Watching Movies with the Sound Off. Up until that point, I had personally pegged Mac to be a poor man’s version of Asher Roth: a white college rapper who thought he was down but was really just skating by via comparisons to the likes of Eminem.

I was stone cold wrong.

Watching Movies… showed me that Mac Miller was extremely funny, pretty complex and even a little dark at times. My favorite song on the album, one that I still bang to this day, is “Red Dot Music” featuring Action Bronson. It’s satirical, it’s whimsical, it’s a dark comedy in hip hop song form. And it’s brilliant. Funny how Watching Movies… came out during a year that was as good as any in recent years and saw major releases like Yeezus, Nothing Was the Same, Magna Cara Holy Grail, My Name is My Name, and Long.Live.ASAP, and can easily be placed in a conversation with each of them as a top 5 hip hop album of that year.

Right now, there are many who are praising Mac Miller for being an artist who was constantly evolving and not afraid to push the envelope. And he was certainly that. He wasn’t afraid to experiment and go to the outer hinges of music to make something that people could nod their head to. But we should be remembering Mac for much more than just his songs and albums. Look up any Mac Miller interview on YouTube and you’re likely to find him sitting down with any reporter from any hip hop publication or magazine being as forthright, honest and open as possible about drug addiction, coping with the rap lifestyle, and unfortunately, death. These days, rappers can’t help but to be transparent. That’s because there’s really nowhere to hide from the ever-glaring, all-seeing eye that is social media.

But for Mac, it was never about him having to save face. It wasn’t about him having to do damage control because he was not afraid to put his damage out there for all to see. You could hear it in his music, you could see it in his eyes and feel it when he spoke. Mac seemed to never be somebody who was going to be fake with you. He likely felt like he didn’t have a choice in staying true to himself in all his dark, disturbingly funny corniness.

Needless to say, Mac Miller will be missed for many things, especially music. But greater than that, he’ll be missed for being himself and owning who he is, and not letting anyone knock him off of his square in doing so.

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