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How Mac Millers discography represents a person's life span, from childhood till death.

Macs whole discography is like a full lifetime experience, from childhood to death (hear me out).

Starts of with KIDS (self explanatory) and it captures the youthful freedom of adolescence, its not perfect and there's definitely room to grow but that's sorta what I love about it. He really was just a kid back then and this tape captures that perfectly.

"I guess I'm doin' well Smokin' all the weed that I used to sell But once my album goes in the shelves It's going Nextel how it's finna sell"

Macadellic is where he's introduced to fame and drugs. Two very dangerous things. This tape represents how fun and exciting this part of his life were. Being rich young and famous and living that party life. Mac was like 19/20 touring Europe with Lil Wayne and Macadellic shows how much fun he was having. More importantly though this tape definitely shows a huge maturity from KIDS, both musically and lyrically. There is some serious introspection on this mixtape which foreshadows his future work.

"They just dreams, turn 'em to reality Double-cup of lean, standin' on my balcony Lookin' at the sky, thinkin' it could all be mine All we got is memories, so what the fuck is time?"

WMWTSS is like Macadellic but with the polish of a studio album. If Macadellic was the party life, this album is the morning after. Much more introspection, Mac is in his early 20s, living in LA. He is still very much living the high life. Parties, drugs, girls.. young rap star shit. But on this record he sees it for what it is and shows a real understanding of the dangers associated with that lifestyle. A lot of tragic foreshadowing too which becomes a reoccurring motif in his music.

"Love me, love me, that fentanyl, it numb me (Numb)"

Faces is Macs best work imo. Take all of the trippiest aspects of all his previous projects, all the introspection, all the drugged out psychedelic shit. I don't know what I like more about this tape, the lyricism or the production (most of which is by the man himself). He said it himself. He was not on planet earth when he made this album. Tracks like Angel Dust, New Faces V2, Rain, Funeral and Grand Finale are career highlights. All of which include heaps of drug references. This album sounds like when the drugs change from being fun to being torture. Don't get me wrong, it's still a 'fun' album to listen to, full of Macs signature sense of humour (just listen to Friends with a funny ass Schoolboy Q feature). But in the context of his death, it really is a beautiful tragedy. He says it himself on this tape - "A shame that my tragedy my masterpiece". Faces has by far the most references to death by overdose. Some really haunting foreshadowing throughout. I'm bias because Mac is my favourite rapper, but in my opinion this is the best mixtape of all time and its not even close. Honestly its probably my favourite rap project of any kind. 10/10

"Doin' drugs is just a war with boredom but they sure to get me"

After leaving planet earth on Faces, as Mac put it, he went to live with legendary Rick Rubin for a few months to get sober. I mean whos to say how long this sobriety lasted or even to what extent he was sober. But that is honestly none of our business. But if Good A:M is any sort of indicator, Mac seemed to be in a much better place. The title is very fitting because Mac seems to be awake. If WMWTSO is the morning after a party, then Good A:M is the morning after that day of being hungover. On this album, Mac very directly addresses his issues but assures his fans that he's on top of it. Musically, this is probably his most 'rap' based project. The beats knock and there's some real bangers on it (when in rome, cut the check, 100 grandkids, club house) but there's still some deep shit on here (God Speed is one of his best tracks, with many heartbreaking moments of foreshadowing)

"I ain't saying that I'm sober I'm just in a better place"

The Divine Femine is a fully fleshed out album of elements he only had just teased in previous projects. 10 songs all about different aspects of love. Mac is dating Arianna Grande at the time (though he says most of the album had been written before they were together, a common misconception is that this album is all about her) it seems as though through love, Mac is able to get out of the cycle of addiction that he was in over the years previous. I don't even want to bring up anything drug related in the context if this album because this album really is not about that. Dang is also a fucking banger.

"You in my dreams, that's why I sleep all the time Just to hear you say I love you, just to touch you, just to leave you behind"

After TDF Mac goes the longest amount of time without releasing music. Queue a breakup with Arianna, a DUI, and some tweets from Grande alluding to Mac being back on drugs, fans are sort of worried. Then, Swimming drops. This album is a beautiful blend of every other album, but its also very much its own thing. If fans are worried, this album seemed like a reassurance, but also an acknowledgement that the worries people had weren't entirely unfounded. Swimming was an acknowledgement that he's not okay, but that he is persevering. Some really beautiful somber moments on this record but also some of his most upbeat funky cuts like Whats The Use and Ladders. Such a tragic album in the context of his death because you could tell he was trying to get through the darkness. I really think he was in a good place, and his death was a tragic mistake which can truly happen to anyone who dabbles in drugs.

"I got all the time in the world, so for now I'm just chillin' Plus I know it's a, it's a beautiful feelin' In oblivion, yeah, yeah, oblivion, yeah"

Circles is a direct extension of Swimming. To me, if Swimming is about the importance of perseverance, then Circles is about the acknowledgement that its okay to experience setbacks in your pursuit of being better. Of course, this album came out after he was dead so there's no other context to hear the album. Really stunning album musically. If there was one song I would choose to sum up the career of this man (not that this is possible given the absolute diversity of his discography) I would have to choose Good News. This is one of his best songs. It captures how sometimes things seem hopeless, but also a sort of strange optimism that things will get better, and an awareness that the struggles you experience will serve to build character. Circles as a whole is sort of filled with this tragic optimism. His death really solidifies the tragic nature of the project.

"And I don't have a name, I don't have a name, no Who am I to blame? Who am I to blame though? And I cannot be changed, I cannot be changed, no Trust me, I've tried I just end up right at the start of the line Drawin' circles"

So when I said that his discography sort of represents a lifespan, I mean that in this sense

  • KIDS is the beginning, almost childlike in its innocence. Circles is the end, a morbid and tragic acceptance of one's mortality. Everything in-between has been growth and maturity. The fact that there's only 7/8 years between KIDS and Circles is insane and truly is a credit to Mac and it highlights my favourite aspect to him as an artist - constant evolution.

RIP Mac forever.

92 - ∞


With a career as rich as Macs, there was obviously some projects I couldn't include. Blue Side Park carries over similar themes to KIDS and it marks the beginning of Macs immense commercial success (number 1 independent album?!) Delusional Thomas shows just how weird and tripped out and off the wall he could get, this tape couldn't be further removed from KIDS era Mac. His pitched up alter ego talking about murder and drugs. Sick project with some killer production from Larry Fisherman himself. Speaking of production, even if he wasn't a rapper, his production talents probably would have been enough to secure him a spot in the big leagues. Miller produced Vince Staples first big tape (Stolen Youth) and Vince credits Mac for helpiny to jump starting his career. Vince isn't the only one to thank Mac for helping out in that regard.

See Mac was one of the first to capitalise on Internet/YouTube era and he was a streaming juggernaut in the early 2010s in terms of YouTube views. With that success, he moved to LA. Now this is around the time that all sorts of new rappers were coming up through the industry. Odd Future is starting their rise, TDE is in its early days. Kendrick Lamar supported Mac Miller on tour in 2012. Yes, that Kendrick Lamar... Ab Soul has some cuts produced by Larry Fisherman and a couple of guest verses. Everyone knows how close Schoolboy Q and Mac were. I seen Mac live when I was 16, it was the Space Migration tour for WMWTSO. Chance The Rapper and Action Bronson were the supporting acts and The Internet also had a set beforehand as well as being his live band. My point is, Macs footprint is all over the new wave of rappers who emerged throughout the early 2010s. His legendary studio 'The Red Room' is probably the studio which birthed some of your favourite tracks of that era and chances are you wouldn't have known that. Mac didn't boast or brag but he was SUCH a major player and the rise of so many great artists.

The point of this post was initially to point out how Macs career sort of reflected the span of someone's life from childhood to death. I know it sort of digressed into a Mac Miller appreciation post, but I hope I got my main point across because for me, viewing his discography in that regard has added a lot to how I listen to his music.

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