A picture of Mac Miller in front of a door.

Mac Miller: Beyond the Hits

By Jennifer Romero
Rap Music Journalist

On the surface, many artists have popular songs that fans or general listeners will gravitate to. However, even though this may gain the artist more popularity or streams, many aren’t hearing more than those few popular songs. As a young kid, I loved to listen to Mac Miller and as I got older many people were “fans” based on his hits like “Donald Trump”, “The Way”, “Best Day Ever” or even “Self Care.” Miller is so much more than those hits, he was an experimental artist who wasn’t afraid to try new sounds.

I first found Miller when I was in sixth grade. I was stumbling around on YouTube when I found the video for “Kool Aid & Frozen Pizza” and instantly listened to more. Throughout middle school, I would download his music on my iPod and just enjoy every bit. The summer before high school Miller released his album Watching Movies with the Sound Off. I loved every bit of it. The album is a true dive into Miller’s mind and emotions with a space-like sound for the instrumentals. Miller proved to be clever with wordplay lyrically while still having fun on the tracks. 

As time went on, I listened to more and more of his music and am often glad I found out about Miller. He was a true character to listen to on all the music he put out. Miller wasn’t stingy when it came to releasing music either. With mixtapes and albums releases, his music was ever-changing. Miller dove into different genres and topics for his music, he was a very creative soul who put his heart in what he did. Delusional Thomas was a mixtape based on Millers’ alter ego with a horrorcore genre and disturbing bars. 

Miller then released Faces, an interesting take on his struggle with drugs and his thoughts. On another mixtape Larry Lovestein & The Velvet Revival, which was a jazz infused album about love, differing entirely from Delusional Thomas. The important thing to note is that Miller only did these very spontaneous things on mixtapes, something not very common for his commercial albums. 

When people think of Miller, they think of these albums he put out, which were amazing, but never dive beyond the surface to see who Miller really was. I believe all of Miller’s music is great, but to understand who he is and to appreciate his work, all of his music is something you should listen to. 

Miller’s last album before his death Swimming was by far his most popular and mature work of art to date. This was such a milestone album for Miller. In the time of the release, it was as though Miller was overcoming his drug addiction, while in a hard spot in his life due to a very public break up. The album symbolizes peace for many fans at Miller reflecting on his life, and being at peace with what has happened. 

Most of his past songs have this idea of not understanding what this life is and trying desperately to find its meaning, while Swimming is taking life for what it is and enjoying it. Much of his past music is deeply about his struggles with drugs and the things that haunted him in life, but Swimming is the exact opposite.

 Listening to his old music compared to Swimming just made you so happy for Miller. It was the most unfortunate thing hearing his death after feeling like he made such a change in his life. I do not believe Miller was supposed to go so soon, but I knew that if he was here, he would continue to make the best of music.

Miller is so much more than his hits, he was a man who often got stuck inside his head battling himself, but he shared it with the world. Miller was inspirational and was truly gone too soon. 

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