Mac Miller meant the world to a world of people. He was a bridge builder and a light to everyone from fans to fellow artists to critics. Mac Miller was our artist, and no one has a bad Mac Miller story. We are grateful for him.
Across his prolific career, Mac linked up with all scopes of musicians, one of which being veteran rapper-producer Chuck Inglish. The two began working together in 2011, and the rest is history up until the final drum hits on Miller’s last album, Swimming. Their relationship, as it seems Mac’s relationship with everyone turned out, ran deeper than music and was founded on genuine human connection.
Yes, Mac Miller was an artist’s artist, but he was also a person’s person. He had enough heart for everyone.
To celebrate Mac’s life, DJBooth reached out to Chuck Inglish, giving him the forum to remember his friend and collaborator Malcolm McCormick. The transcript of the conversation with Chuck, lightly edited for content and clarity, follows below.
“I haven’t lived a life where I haven’t lost friends before. With him, it’s a little different because I never lost a friend that I’ve been that close to, or kinda seen grow up with, and then they pass and the whole world is in on it. That was my first time experiencing that. I think that I spent a lot of time not grieving, but just more in a… It’s been confusing, and you’d never think shit like that… It’s hard to just sit there and say, ‘That’s God’s will.’ I still, to this day, think that was just a shitty mistake. I don’t think that was supposed to happen.
“There’s a story where, this is like early 2011 after we first met, he wanted to work. I told him I’m down for sure, and we hadn’t really met and he was a rapper on the up and up. I told him if he flew to Chicago and booked a room at a studio right near where I was staying we could lock in for a week. It wasn’t about charging him. In two days, that man pulled up and we spent three days together eatin’ food and picking each other’s brain. I think that was the first time that I took a chance on someone that I didn’t know. That’s what established our real friendship: we were locked in together. It was like this ‘Do you think I’m tight? Hell yeah.’
“From there, we just always had these quality control conversations. I think that’s what I’ll always hold on to the most. When Mac wanted to know if some drums hit, or if he wanted to know if something was cool, I would always hear from him. If he thought it was cool, that shit was tight, but if I thought it was cool? That’s what’s up. I would get calls at all sorts of times of the day. He would switch a number, and you know when a number pops up on your phone and it says ‘Maybe:’? I squint and look at the clock and be like, ‘Okay, that’s Mac.’ Or, I'd be asleep or it be early in the morning and I get a FaceTime and it’s him: ‘Hey man, I need more drums.’ Me and his nerdiness for production and our love for drum sounds…
“When he first got really deep into making beats, is to me when he moved out to LA after we did a tour together. Mac just knew… I’m not hella domesticated but my house and the things I do are really clean and tranquil. One of the best days I had was when Mac is like, ‘I’mma get you my credit card, and I want you to go to Bed Bath & Beyond and help me put my studio together.’ At that time, I’m thinking, ‘I would never do that shit; I wouldn’t give nobody my credit card for nothing,’ but at that time he trusted me. I came back with everything that you saw in that studio from that Mac Miller [and] ScHoolboy Q song ['Gees'] that we did.
“I will never forget helping him set it up. I don’t like doing that shit, helping friends move. But it was about being with him while he took a step up. He comes off tour, buys a mansion, got a new car. I was just proud to be with him at that point, knowing that two years prior he was trying to figure out ‘Was this going work?’ Our early moments, that shit is still here like it was yesterday.
“I’m just appreciative that he got to see Swimming coming out. I think through time, and not too much longer in time, I think he’ll be immortalized way more than we think he’s gonna be. That keeps me happy, too, because I feel like he deserves that.
“A really good story is me, Ab-Soul, and him are shooting this video ['Easily'] on Easter. It was the only day that I knew I could have Mac and Soul on Fairfax and wouldn’t nobody trip. After that, all the homies there, and nobody had nowhere to go. I knew where I was going for Easter, but ain’t nobody else have nowhere to go. Soon as the video shoot was over, Mac had made a few calls—Easter dinner was at his house. Everybody that was there had Easter dinner at Mac’s house. That’s the type of motherfucker I wanna be around.
“He was just a selfless person. Mac wasn’t just a 'Oh you could be around him,' he cared about the people. Not just cared about them but would be there for you and help you out. And not just give you something that could get you from point A to point B, but give you something that could get you around the whole alphabet. I think he had a producer’s mentality, but not just musically. He liked to see things come together and get created. That’s another thing that makes him so well-missed. There aren’t too many people like that. He’ll make sure that if you’re around him and it ain’t a family thing going down for you, he’ll create that for you.
“For sure a bridge builder. Complete. Stone. If he could get you there, he’ll get you there. There’s a lot of camaraderie in rap. Everybody, when they’re in LA, hanging around Alchemist for a bit, and then when Mac came out here, it was like two different versions of rap camp. You go over Mac’s house and anybody could be there. I could pull up. It be ScHoolboy, it be Vince, it be Earl. There be people there by themselves. Everyone wanted to go to Mac’s house because it was a safe place to create. It was the spot! He created those moments. A lot of people found their sounds being around Mac. It was a real steel-sharpens-steel situation.
“Then, it was just working with my little brother. Now, I just… It hurts. I don’t feel like we got to do enough even though I had a couple beats on this new one. I won’t forget this. When he got back from Lollapalooza in South America, he had sent me one of the best songs I had ever heard put together and he took the drums off. He said he didn’t like the drums and he wanted me to do my Chuck thing on this song. I remember just listening to this shit for four days straight before I even put drums on it. I was really impressed with the direction the album was going, and I’ll never think I’ll get over the fact that I don’t feel completed. I think two days before, I was trying to text him to come over and play him the new stuff that I had before we get to working on whatever projects was next.
“Certain shit you don’t get over, you just get through. I ain’t over this shit. I don’t think I’ll ever be. I don’t think I’ll ever be to the point where it just is what it is. I’m just glad I have the stories I got with him, but other than that, it’s still heavy, and that shit just don’t make no sense… Don’t be scared to be sad. Being sad is a part of shit and if somebody meant that much to you that them not being here makes you sad, you can’t be stronger than that. That’s not the definition of strength: ‘Oh, I didn’t cry.’
“I sat with it, I didn’t do shit for a week. I didn’t want to go and do shit that my mood wasn’t ready for, and now this week it’s way more of a celebration in my mind. When he crosses my mind, that’s my boy. He was here, we did this. When something makes me sad, I don’t run from it. I stand with it, I experience it, and the hard part will go away. When things happen or someone passes, honor them with your sadness. I just know that one of the last things I told that man was I loved him. That’s all I know.
“On some honest, honest shit… I honestly think that if Mac knew he was dead right now, he’d be pissed. If you listen to Divine Feminine, Swimming, Watching Movies with the Sound Off… That was a musician’s musician. If Mac didn’t know something, he would figure it out. I honestly think that he was coming to a place where he was going to be the common denominator of all artists. He’s an artist’s artist. He was about to go on tour with Thundercat! You not getting too much better at anything than Thundercat with the bass. I think he would wanna be remembered not how the hip-hop media perceived him, but how his peers perceived him.”