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Rest In Paradise Mac: My Views on Drugs and Hip-Hop

Matthew Sanchez, Staff Reporter

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“I’d rather be the corny white rapper than the drugged out mess who can’t even get out of his house. Overdosing is just not cool, there’s no legendary romance. You don’t go down in history because you overdosed…you just die.” – Mac Miller

Malcolm James McCormick, better known as Mac Miller, brought smiles to the faces of millions, including mine. From what I knew he was the type of person to bring peace, love, and positivity wherever he went. The money that came along with sold out shows, tours, and multiple hit records never changed him and the tragic loss of the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania homegrown rapper, singer and music producer will never change the legacy he left behind for us.

The first sign of his downward spiral was when I heard Mac Miller had received a DUI and totaled his Mercedes-Benz back in May. It made sense that he might have been constrained to do so by the devastating split between him and ex-girlfriend singer/actress Ariana Grande. The couple had shared a romantic relationship for the course of two-and-a-half years ending earlier in the month but maintained a friendship. Hundreds of tweets and comments were posted claiming that Grande had everything to do with Mac being pushed to the point of no return.

A viral tweet claimed her to be at fault.

“Mac Miller totaling his G-Wagon and getting a DUI after Grande dumped him for another dude after he poured his heart out on a ten song album to her called Divine Feminine is just the most heartbreaking thing happening in Hollywood.” tweeted Elijah Flint.

It’s completely unproportionate. The girl had little to no say on what Mac did or didn’t do and shouldn’t be held accountable for his actions. In fact, she stated in her only response that “I am not a babysitter or a mother and no women should feel they have to be,” she replied. “ I have cared for him and tried to support his sobriety and prayed for his balance for years,” responded Grande.

The answer we’re looking for won’t be found in others. Mac Miller was a grown man and at the young age of 26, he had been through a lot.

Before I had discovered him, Mac released a series of early mixtapes including the infamous K.I.D.S., the mixtape that caught my attention, until his 2011 indie album Blue Slide Park debuted at number one on Billboard’s Hot 100. A record deal with Rostrum Records and the success of the album had launched the future of his career beyond expectation. In 2013 he released his second studio album Watching Movies with the Sound Off which, along with his Billboard number one, incorporated a refreshing artistic sound. Following, was his third and surprisingly most romantically influenced album, The Divine Feminine.

From what I got out of it, this love-lust inspired album expresses the divinity of woman and emphasizes the transcendental experience of love itself, most likely related to his relationship with Ariana Grande. The album was released fall of 2016. It was two years prior to the breakup. Just two years after, he completed his most recent and final album titled Swimming on August 3 of this year, featuring a cover displaying him sitting in an upright coffin.

To be completely honest, when the album was announced, I immediately had no intention on listening. I knew how much it would hurt to hear how depressed his music would be influenced compared to the Mac Miller I knew of when he and I were younger. The urge to discover his new sound came over me and I listened to the entire album. If I could use one word to describe it, ‘sentimental’ would fit appropriately.

He made it clear to the world that he had been affected by reality and expressed it vividly through his craft. By observing the timeline of his discography, I noticed the young artist’s release of emotion as he declined in enthusiasm and slowly slipped into an intense depression-induced drug addiction.

I see this pattern spread widely within the hip-hop community and it doesn’t help when highly influential artists glamorize the use of prescription medication.

Rapper/singer Lil Peep expressed his use of drugs as his escape from the world through his emo-rap style, a popularly emerging genre of 2016, eventually landing him on the top charts of SoundCloud, headlining tours and the gain of an impressive social media following.

When I first heard his track “Witchblades” featuring fellow GBC (Gothboiclique) member Lil Tracy, I was completely mind blown by his blend of early 2000’s alternative vocal melodies and vulgar embellishment of Xanax and cocaine.

“These guys are going far,” I thought to myself.

With lyrics like,“Switchblades, cocaine, Gothboiclique ‘till my soul take…cocaine all night long, when I die bury me with all my ice on,” and “Droptop smokin’ ‘thrax, looking at the stars, gettin high takin’ bars ‘till we on Mars,” from tracks “Witchlades” and “Gym Class”, my generation of underground hip/hop lovers were easily impressed.

As time passed and Lil Peeps drug use never slowed, his untimely death occurred in November of 2017. The world was awoken to the awareness of this epidemic and the use of prescription medication continued to be viewed controversially.

Fellow SoundCloud rapper, ironically self-titled, Lil Xan took to social media to denounce the use of Xanax, because of Peep’s overdose, hoping to change the way teen demographics are influenced to use drugs by the media.

Obviously, it didn’t change much.

What I hope we could learn about this is love is serious and heartbreak is devastating. Depression takes over and drugs allow it to be suppressed. Momentarily you detach from reality and your problems wash away, which pushes people to want more.

More can be life taking.

Rest easy Malcolm.

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Rest In Paradise Mac: My Views on Drugs and Hip-Hop