RIP Mac Miller.
It's been a tough week. Like millions of others, I grew up with Mac. A year apart in age, I was hooked from the moment I watched the "Cruisin'" video back in 2009. Over the last decade, I've watched and heard Mac mature and maneuver through life as I have my own, and he's soundtracked too many important moments to mention.
I saw Mac a few weeks ago at the listening party for Swimming in New York. Drunk and stuffed from free hors d'oeuvres, I watched Mac silence the crowd of over 100 guests as he began to introduce what we now know to be his last album, a deeply personal set of songs about death and depression, but also about powering through to find peace by living.
When he spoke, Mac was jovial and joking around. He seemed happy. But as the album began to play, he retreated to a couch. Everyone in the room, a crowd of over 100, was laughing and talking, most not even listening to the music they came to hear.
When I looked over at Mac, sitting on a couch by himself among all those happy people, I noticed he was staring at the ground. It only lasted for a moment before someone tapped on his shoulder to ask him a question and his smile returned, but I haven't been able to shake that image of him sitting there alone at his own party. I thought about how lonely it must be as an artist, to have all those people there for you and yet be completely cut off, if only for a brief second.
I don't remember much about the music that night, but I'll never forget that image of Mac. It stuck with me through the coming weeks, and it's been weighing on my mind as I continue to process his death. Swimming was about finding peace, and I hope he found it. I'll miss him terribly.
Here are a few pieces that have helped me deal with the loss:
- "Thank You, Mac Miller"
- "So It Goes: Mac Miller's Duty-Dance With Death"
- "In Loving Memory of Mac Miller, Our Artist"
Music always helps, even in cases like this. So even if I've wanted to do nothing more than retreat into Mac's discography since his passing, I've poured through a week of new music to give you the very best.
Joey Purp — "24k Gold/Sanctified" ft. Ravyn Lenae & Jabari Rayford
Joey Purp’s QUARTERTHING opener embodies everything great about Chicago’s rap renaissance over the past half decade. Triumphant, visceral, unconquerable, spiritual, teeming with soul-it’s a powerhouse opener to a rumbling record to cut your teeth on.
Masego — “Lavish Lullaby”
After three years of waiting impatiently for Masego's debut album, I finally have Lady Lady. And yet, for all the originality and musicality that flows through the veins of the versatile Virginia maestro's music, it’s his stab at 2018’s prevailing contemporary rap trends that I can’t stop listening to. “Lavish Lullaby” sounds as lavish as its name; SoundCloud rap on a penthouse terrace, draped in silk and trading in the pint of lean for a bottle of Cabernet.
Octavian — "Lightning"
Hot off a string of must-hear singles, Octavian has delivered SPACEMAN, a concise new project that features none of those prior efforts other than “Revenge,” released last week. The 14-track, 36-minute mixtape is a showcase of versatility, bouncing between hard-hitting shit-talking (“Sleep,” “Break That,” ) and more tranquil melodic cuts (“Stand Down,” “This Is My World”) with ease, and coming to a head on “Lightning,” a kinetic dance record that shuffles euphorically across a warm bed of bass.
Wiki — “In the Park” ft. Gloss Gang
Wiki, New York, bodega, 1 train, etc. “The 2018 Lou Reed” taps Gloss Gang for his latest Tony Seltzer-produced gem.
Majid Jordan — “All Over You”
As the sticky heat of summer gives way to the stark chill of fall, it’s time for new Majid Jordan. “All Over You,” one of two new singles from the OVO duo, is a blurry dance floor groove, all propellant bass thumps and swirling vocals.
Armand Hammer (Billy Woods & Elucid) — “Dettol”
Paraffin, the new album from Billy Woods and Elucid as Armand Hammer, sounds like underground rap actually created underground, in some subterranean bunker still experiencing the aftershock of a nuclear attack. The album is an onslaught of uncompromising bars and blistering production, one that leaves you feeling like you just stumbled out of a funhouse set in the dystopian future of 12 Monkeys.
Supa Bwe — “Entropy” ft. Dounia
Supa Bwe is versatile. The Chicago artist's latest release is “Entropy,” a lo-fi chill song you can study/relax to, but more importantly that you can get lost inside.
G Perico — “Play Wit It” ft. Kalan.FrFr & Garren
South Central's rising G-funk star G Perico grabs two other up-and-coming local talents for the laid-back standout to his new EP, Guess What?
$uicideboy$ — "Carrollton"
"Hol' up fuckboy, who the fuck said we cool? / Man I quit smoking with hypebeasts back in 2002." The first single from $uicideboy$' new album I Want to Die In New Orleans sounds a lot like what I imagined something from a $uicideboy$ album named I Want to Die In New Orleans would sound like—a bass-heavy banger liable to soundtrack a felony.
Kanye West & Lil Pump — “I Love It” ft. Adele Givens
Yes, it’s here.
Album of the Week:
Joey Purp — QUARTERTHING