The Inevitable Tip of Mac Miller

When a person is an open book, it often creates a connection between them, and the rest of the world. People do this in many ways; writing, singing, songwriting, poetry, public speaking, and being in the public eye. Malcom James McCormick, known professionally as Mac Miller, was a producer, rapper, singer, and songwriter from Pittsburgh Pennsylvania who was often known for being open with his audience about his common struggles in life. He started his career at age 15 when he produced songs by himself in his bedroom, and competed in local MC competitions. Although the significant breakthrough in his career occured in 2010, when he signed to Rostrum Records, a Pittsburgh based indie record label. Throughout his career, he released 5 albums, and set many records in the hip hop music industry. Sadly, Miller died at age 26 after a drug overdose in 2018, just after his most recent album, “Swimming” was released. After their mourning, Miller’s family decided to release a posthumous album “Circles” on January 17th, 2020. Because of Mac Miller’s struggle with mental health and drug abuse, his death, and the release of his posthumous album, Miller has inevitably reached his tipping point.
The reason Mac Miller began to trend in the first place is not only because he was an admirable person who created great music, it was also because of his ability to be open and honest with his fans. Miller was not silent on about his own personal struggles with depression and anxiety. He told Variety magazine, “I just want to be honest and vulnerable. Am I nervous when I’m most vulnerable? Of course, but that’s what I have to do. It’s therapeutic to me. All the walls to whether something is cool or not have to drop. I have to create without any boundaries.” Miller was vulnerable with his fans, which helped his fans be vulnerable with each other. He became a connector in the world; “Connectors, people with a special git for bringing the world together” (Gladwell 38). As a musician, a large part of Miller’s job was not only to connect with his audience, but have his audience connect with each other. He started to rise because of his openness, and started to tip from it too, as he eventually became reckless with it. He was served with a DUI and was put on trial, just 4 months before his death (Billboard). He also refused to admit that he was addicted to drugs, which did not help his case, as his fans wanted to see him get help; “If a bunch of people think I am a huge drug addict, OK. Cool. What can I really do?...Have I done drugs? Yeah. But am I a drug addict? No”(Rolling Stone.) Since he would never admit to being an addict, his tip began when his fans started to give up on him when he gave responses like this. He refused to see his issue, he refused to get help, and his fans started to stop trying to help him, and it eventually caused the beginning of his tip.
Mac Miller died on September 7, 2018. It is a day that none of his fans will forget, as they lost someone they loved, someone they connected with on a level that most people would not understand. His passing caused an uproar in the online community; from blaming it on his ex-girlfriend and pop star Ariana Grande, to saying that the world should have seen it coming, and helped him sooner because even Miller himself predicted it. The world was in mourning, as they lost a truly talented human being. According to the Rolling Stone, “Miller’s death in September came at the critical apex of his career — his latest album, Swimming, was widely considered to be his best, and an indication that he had far more to offer as an artist.” And Miller probably did have more to offer, but sadly he did not live long enough to show the world what that was. As stated earlier, his death caused an uproar because the world was hurt, but as humans usually do, they began to heal. As his fans began to heal, they finished their mourning, and stopped being angry and blaming it on others. Slowly, they began to forget. Death is a sad thing, but once a person is not here anymore, the world often starts to think about them less and less. Sadly in Miller’s case, this is exactly what happened. People stopped being upset that he passed and started to accept it, and move on. They began to forget, and thus contributed to his downfall.
Mac Miller’s unexpected overdose shocked the entire world. His followers were and still are heartbroken that they will never hear any new content from Mac Miller. Although, before the rapper died he had pre recorded several albums worth of content. Miller’s family reached out to Jon Brions, a close friend of Miller’s, and asked him to finish one album for Mac. In a conversation with the New York Times, Brions said “I got a call from the family asking me to finish the album. I remember, before that call came in, being on a flight and listening to music with my phone on airplane mode. It could only play certain things in the library, and at some point the working tracks for a couple of the songs came up: ‘Good News’ and ‘Once a Day.’ It flattened me. Because my feeling was, ‘Yeah, this stuff is as good as I remember.’” Brions finished the album, for his good friend, and was in awe while listening to the lyrics; “He was clearly trying to sort through his demons and was just being very, very honest, not trying to hide any of it. I feel like the album is a clear picture of somebody with those troubles who is funny and intelligent and was trying to look at them critically” (New York Times). The release of “Circles” took the whole world by surprise. The album was released almost a year and a half later; no one was expecting to hear his voice again, let alone the honest anthems that Brions released of Miller’s. After “Circles” there will be nothing left of Miller other than his current music, which has already trended, and there is no reason for his older albums to trend for a second time. Since there is nothing left for Miller to give, no new content will be created by him, there is no reason for him to climb the charts again. This means that sadly, this is the beginning of his leveling out, forever.
The opposition may argue that Mac Miller will never tip, and that his unexpected death only made him more popular. They continue this argument by saying his posthumous album will keep him relevant, and that he will continue to trend in years to come. Sadly, this cannot be true, because after his posthumous album, there will be no more content from Miller, without new produced content, there will be no instances where he will trend again because nothing new will be released. His passing has left an inevitable emptiness for his fans, but after “Circles” fans will have to say goodbye to the artist. Google Trends show that in the past year, Miller has had two major times that he was searched; once on the one year anniversary of his passing, and a second time a few months later when his posthumous album was announced and released. The graph shows that when his posthumous album, “Circles”, was released, it was the last plea for laggards to join the trend. As Gladwell States in The Tipping Point, laggards are generally the last group to join a trend, and that is when the artist or topic is usually headed towards the bottom of their downfall. And the laggards did discover him, and since they are the last people to join a trend, there is no where else to go but down, and eventually level out. Sadly Mac Miller is at the beginning of his leveling out.
Mac Miller was an artist; a large part of his career was about being open and sharing his life with his fans. Being honest with his audience as well as open is was what made him so appealing to the people around him. He was not afraid to talk about everything he was dealing with. By doing this he created an unbreakable bond between him and his audience. Tragically, because of his struggle with mental health and drug abuse, his death, and the release of his posthumous and final album “Circles”, Mac Miller has inevitably reached his tipping point. Although his message of peace, love, and positivity will forever live on through his music, and his fans.
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