Worst day ever: the day we lost Mac Miller

Nolan Hovell

Mac Miller, born Malcolm James McCormick, was found dead inside his home in San Fernando Valley, California, of an apparent overdose on Sept. 7. The Pittsburgh rapper, producer and singer was 26. Seeing how the world has reacted in the week since his passing has me asking the question: how do people mourn?

In remembrance of the young artist, various celebrities and artists have expressed their sorrow and shared their stories from working, touring and being in the presence of a person who fellow rapper J. Cole remembered as a great soul.

Last Thursday at the open mic poetry night held in Cherry Hall, I began my time on stage with a short moment of silence and a poem commemorating the artist. There is no correct way to mourn. Whether you’re listening to his music, reading about his life, sharing his message or just taking a moment to reflect on the impact of his life provides some closure.

According to Rolling Stone, when Childish Gambino dedicated his song “Riot” to Miller at his concert in Chicago the day following his death. He prefaced this by asking the audience to put their phones away, saying, “My heart was broken… and I, like, feel good about being sad because it tells that he was special—that I had a special moment.” Childish Gambino reminded the audience what is really important: honoring the legacy that Mac Miller left seemingly unfinished.

Milller created an extensive and diverse discography—having produced five studio albums as well as numerous EP’s, mixtapes, collaborations and other projects. His fluid beats and introspective rhyme schemes on his final album, “Swimming,” were one of many innovative steps taken by the artist.

In a 2016 Fader documentary called “Stopped Making Excuses,” Mac admitted his music is heavily influenced by drugs and openly discussed the ways it has affected his life and creativity. But he suggested he hadn’t recently let it become a problem the way it had been in years past.

“Overdosing is just not cool. There’s no legendary romance,” Miller said in the documentary. “You don’t go down in history because you overdosed. You just die.”

The artist’s morbid words are tragically ironic, but hopefully his fans’ and friends’ mourning will show that the opposite is true.

College-aged students grew up listening to Miller, and many lost one of their favorite artists when he died.

“It breaks my heart that a legend like Mac Miller left us under such tragic circumstances. Nonetheless, I’m sure his legend will live on,” WKU junior Christina Libigal said.

“As far as impact on my life, this last album really hit home dealing with this addiction I’ve had to overcome.  When he said, ‘I was drowning, but now I’m swimming,’ I really felt that,” sophomore David Hayden said.

A few days after the news broke, his hometown of Pittsburgh held a vigil in remembrance of his life and influence at the famous Blue Slide Park, referenced as the title of his debut album. Thousands of mourning fans—including Miller’s grandmother—gathered to listen to his music, be with the community, and mourn the untimely end of a local legacy. The energy was somber, but that didn’t stop a group of fans from gathering around some turntables and freestyle rapping on the park’s benches.

Wielding lighters and phone lights, everyone convened in the center of the park to hold a moment of silence—every one of them mourning differently and beautifully.

Our list of the top ten Mac Miller songs (Warning: Explicit).

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this story said that Miller’s hometown was Philadelphia. The error has been corrected and the College Heights Herald regrets the error.