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Tuesday, September 7 marked the third anniversary of musician Mac Miller’s passing. Leaving behind a legacy of transformative lyrics and soulful artistry, Miller continues to heal others through his music, even after death. Each one of his projects distinctly signifies different chapters along his journey, laced with relatable anecdotal verses and kaleidoscopic instrumentals. In honor of his memory, we wanted to compile a list of five songs we think you should know by Mac Miller.
This song embodies the energy of youthful summer memories. You should give it a listen if you want to be reconnected with your inner child, reminiscing on simpler times. “Kool-Aid & Frozen Pizza” is on Miller’s fourth mixtape, K.I.D.S. (Kickin’ Incredibly Dope Sh*t), which features a roster of nostalgic samples. Composed of two classic hip-hop records, the beat is composed of samples from “Hip 2 Da Game” by Lord Finesse, and “Listen Up” by Erule.
It’s safe to say that any collaboration between Kendrick Lamar and Miller is something that you should check out. This particular song is off of his seventh mixtape Macadelic, a project that he released for free digitally after the release of his first studio album Blue Slide Park. Miller wanted to release a project that didn’t have a direct goal and wanted to use it as an opportunity to creatively explore. There is a clear distinction between this project and Blue Slide Park, as Miller starts to plant his feet and discover his unique psychedelic hip-hop sound. The duo works particularly well together on this project, challenging the listener to appreciate life’s journey and all of the beauties it has to offer.
“I’m Not Real” begins with a theatrical orchestral instrumental, which was produced by Miller’s counterpart, Earl Sweatshirt. Featured on his second studio album, Watching Movies With the Sound Off, the song encapsulates the project’s challenge to gain a deeper understanding of oneself outside of others’ expectations. When selecting the tracks for the album, Miller was constantly searching outside of himself to see what other people believed belonged, before realizing he was the only person that truly knew. In order to decide, he wrote an essay breaking down why each song belonged on the album.
This is the final song on the last album that Mac released before passing, Swimming. The title of the song eerily referencing author Kurt Vonnegut’s book Slaughterhouse Five, in which the main character states “so it goes,” whenever a death occurs. “You can have the world in the palm of your hands, you still might drop it,” begins Miller, a testament to the many highs and lows that we experience throughout our own lives. Yet, despite these moments we may encounter, we continue to persevere and grow.
“I Can See” is featured on Miller’s posthumous album Circles, a sequel to Swimming, which paid homage to the late artist. Released on the weekend of what would have been his 28th birthday, this song narrates that in-between phases we sometimes encounter in life. Recognizing that things need to change, but unsure what the next move looks like. However, we can find comfort in this uncertainty by making our dreams our reality.
Through his music, and his own evolution, Mac Miller was a light to this world. More than a musician, he was a healer. And while the future may not be certain, the impact that Mac Miller had on this world is undeniable.
Reina is a senior at Emerson College majoring in Journalism. When she isn’t working, she enjoys spending her free time listening to music and reading.
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