“The number one reason people give up so fast is because they tend to look at how far they still have to go, instead of how far they’ve gotten.” — Mac Miller
Just a week ago the music world was left reeling from the news that rapper Mac Miller was found dead in his San Fernando Valley home. Miller was a unique artist, always in a self-described “state of evolution”, with each project showcasing his growth as a person and artist through the use of lyrics and exceptional beats. Miller had a significant impact on this generation, seeing as his breakthrough project K.I.D.S.came out when many of us were in our early teenage years. To commemorate his life and music, here are ten of his songs everyone should listen to.
10) Kool Aid and Frozen Pizza
One of the biggest songs to come out from his K.I.D.S.mixtape, Kool Aid and Frozen Pizza was one of the defining summer/high school songs of 2010, the song gives you the sense of everyday Mac Miller who was a normal teenager just like his listeners.
9) Snapback Freestyle
The 12thsong off Miller’s 2009 project The Jukebox, Snapback is a short freestyle sampling Summer Love by Justin Timberlake. The song’s catchy tune and lyrics quickly give anyone the feeling that they could take on the world.
8) Nikes on My feet
Another of his earlier works, Mac throws many comparisons of where he was previously in life to his current level of success. While it is not one of his best songs, it is one that embodies the old Mac feeling of when he was a kid just starting out.
This is one of Mac’s best songs and is a MUST-listen. A nod to his older days of rapping about partying and having fun, the song encompasses a slower, more somber tone, and showcases the battle of a stressful and hard work week while we struggle to make it to the weekend to be able to enjoy life and the time we have.
Coming off his 2013 album Watching Movies with the Sound off, REMember is dedicated to a deceased friend of his. Using emotion from the tragedy, we see a peek at the depths Mac can achieve within his songs.
5) The Question
A song hailing from Miller’s 2012 mixtape Macadelic, it embodies the relatable feeling of accomplishing a great deal while attempting to stifle that excitement, as the fear that nothing has actually been achieved takes over.
4) Self Care
The lead single off his last project Swimming, there is a lot to write about this song. The single could not have dropped at a more perfect time, especially as people put a heavier focus on the issues of mental health, addiction and weight issues. Self Care is an ode to Mac’s own struggle with drug use and the battle to ‘be okay’—something many can relate to in some way. Self Care delivers its message of the struggle of trying to figure ourselves out (which many face) and reminds us to not rush, to take our time and keep working at it. It is a lifelong battle, so don’t get discouraged along the way. Of all the songs, please take the 5 minutes and 47 seconds to listen to this one.
Coming off 2016’s Divine Feminine,Miller and Anderson Paak take an upbeat approach to failed relationships. From the Mac’s lyrics to Paak’s vocals on the chorus, everything about this song makes it one of 2016’s best. There aren’t many songs about failed relationships which convey it in a way that will keep you smiling. Dang!’s outlook showcases Mac’s creativity and the depth of his music.
2) Missed Calls
Coming off Blue Slide Park, Missed Calls truly showed Mac’s range as an artist. Stepping out from his usual upbeat, hype rap songs, Missed Calls tells us the story of a break-up due to Miller’s rise in fame and success, and a growing distance between him and his partner. The use of pianos and violins is so well-done that the song drags you into itself. The song really hits you and is amazing to belt out while driving down Route 280 at 2AM, when you are feeling extra sad…not that I’ve ever done that.
Ty Dolla $ign’s vocals on the chorus right at the intro smack you with surprise at the meshing of his soft singing and slight rasp. Miller echoes this style of singing throughout the song, stretching out certain words and singing with soft tone that also has some edge to it. Unlike the typical love song, Cinderella showcases raw emotion in the vocals and captures Miller’s ingenuity and musical diversity.
Photo Credits: “The American rapper Mac Miller at the splash! Festival 20 (2017)” Photo by Nicolas Völcker