Mac Miller — who died aged just 26 of an accidental overdose — would have celebrated his 30th birthday, yesterday.
The rapper left an enduring legacy despite his short time on earth; just one month before his death, his critically acclaimed studio album, Swimming, became his fifth consecutive US Top 10 release.
Hailed as an emblem of Miller’s lyrical maturation, the album confronted his substance abuse and mental health struggles. He was optimistic about the future, though — as was conveyed by its signature, leisurely grooves, and his invocation to not wait forever: “just shoot yo’ shot.”
Tragically, the continuing evolution, both personal and musical, that Swimming promised never came to transpire. Miller passed away on September 7, 2018, in his Los Angeles home.
Speaking just a week before his death, Miller addressed his mental health. “I really wouldn’t want just happiness,” he told Vulture. “And I don’t want just sadness either. I don’t want to be depressed. I want to be able to have good days and bad days.”
Now, to mark his 30th birthday (January 19), Miller’s friends and collaborators have been taking to social media to pay homage to the Good News singer.
In a letter published in Rolling Stone, Thundercat said that he’s grateful for knowing the rapper, whose life “changed” his own. “I hope that on your birthday, the clarity, and places and spaces that you’ve always wanted to go to, see and feel — I hope that you feel that infinitely,” he wrote. “I hope that you can see further than you’ve ever seen before. I hope that wherever you are, it’s funny. Gotta be funny. If it isn’t funny, it sucks.”
“I hope that wherever you are, you’re still changing lives,” the Dragonball Durag singer continued. “I really wish I could hear the soundtrack to where you’re at that you would create because I’m pretty sure that’s intense, extreme. On this birthday. I hope that you get everything that you want, everything that you think you want, everything you didn’t want or didn’t ask for … I hope you get all of that. I hope it’s as extreme as it was here. Because it was fun.”
Fellow Pittsburgh rapper, Wiz Khalifa, also paid tribute to his late friend, who he said had “gone too soon”.
“I remember our early days back at ID Labs in Pixburgh with E. Dan making legendary music,” he wrote. “You were the young homie coming up so fast and representing the Burgh. We’ll never forget you, man. Love you, bro, happy birthday.”
Miller’s mother, Karen Meyers, also took to Instagram to share a photo of her with her son, with a series of heart emojis.
His family, including Meyers, have been dedicated to keeping his legacy alive over the past few years. In January of 2020, they released the rapper’s sixth and final studio album posthumously. Circles was being worked on by Miller prior to his death, and production was completed by Jon Brion.
“When the family came to me, it was one of the most memorable days of my life, because a little bit of time had passed, but it was very, very, very fresh for parents who had lost a kid,” Brion said to Vulture of the process. “They asked me to see it through. I said I would.”
“The term I found myself using when deciding what to add to ‘Circles’ was ‘complete thoughts’,” he continued. “They weren’t thoughts I had to complete for him. This was a guy who spoke very well for himself.”