Rapsody Remembers Mac Miller

“He always led with love.”
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Rapsody Remembers Mac Miller (Year of Mac)

There are no bad Mac Miller stories. 

Aside from keeping his legacy alive, that is the ultimate lesson I’ve learned while running the Year of Mac series. This week, we spoke with Mac’s collaborator and friend Rapsody about her relationship with Mac Miller, their time on tour, and the way he lived his life by loving others as much as possible.

Our conversation, lightly edited for content and clarity, follows below.

DJBooth: Take me to the first time you met Malcolm.

Rapsody: It was 2010; he and Khrysis and 9th [Wonder] had connected on Twitter and they were actually on tour. It was the first tour they did, and I know they were traveling in a station wagon and it was the core crew: Mac, Jimmy, Treejay, Q, Clockwork. He came to the studio, and he just worked! Mac has always been who Mac is from the first day I met him to the very last time I saw him. Always been this fun, energetic kid who was filled with so much love. That’s just what it was, and you feel that soon as he came in the door. He loved hip-hop. You knew he loved the music and he was gifted, and you knew he wanted to have fun with it and share that positivity.

He went right to work, you know? He talked to 9th, he joked. We recorded “Extra Extra” that first visit that he came. And he left, and I think maybe two or three days later, he hit 9th like, “Yo, I wanna bring Rapsody on the road with me.” Just like that! Nobody really knew me at that time from a can of paint, so from day one, you just knew what kind of person he was.

Is that what drew you to him as an artist?

Before that, before I even met him, I saw the videos and I just thought he was dope. He came out at a time when, you know, he took [hip-hop] back to the essence and core of what it was. For him to breakthrough during that time, I thought it was dope. Like here’s this kid and “Kool Aid & Frozen Pizza” comes on and it’s an ode to [Lord Finesse] and you’re like “Wow! This is dope.” For a kid that young to appreciate it, and he could go! He could spit. He had flow. That’s what drew me in a first, like this was different. He didn’t care about what was trending. Then when you get to meet the person, that makes you fall in love with the music even more. It’s a direct reflection. You know it’s not fake. With Mac, it was real! What you saw was what you got. We were drawn to the genuine person that he was.

What was he like when you two filmed the video for “Extra Extra?”

[Laughs] I think that video is just a day in the life. We recorded that video, it was one of the last stops on the tour. I went out with him for three weeks, and this was at a time where every video Mac was putting up was getting millions of views and he had this song, and I didn’t have any videos. So, it’s like, let’s just do a visual. So we got Kenneth Price, who was our homie at that time, like, yo let’s just go to the diner and do something fun. What you see is we went to the diner, ordered some food. Mac was being Mac. That video is basically a documentary of an hour or two hanging out with us. Joking and rhyming. We wanted to be as natural as possible. It was a vibe for us, more than anything. You just see two kids, at the time, having fun and living their dreams.

It wasn’t about celebrity or how big he was becoming at the time, it was just two people that were homies that had love for each other, just wanting to make dope music. It was just raw like that. I remember he was like, “You want some hummus, man?” He was like, “Rap, how you don’t eat hummus? You gotta try this.” I went and tried it, like “Nah, bruh. I’m not fucking with no chickpeas.” Those are the memories I remember. And just watching Most Dope. How much love they have for each other, they were really brothers. That’s what I remember: him always joking. The dude never stopped laughing.

Everyone tells me that he was the most generous man, too.

There’s nothing that Mac wouldn’t do for anybody, whether he knew you or not. You didn’t have to meet him to see that side of him. That’s why he was loved. Every artist that he has taken the time to put on, there are so many artists that have a similar story to mine. Mac giving you free verses, or Mac calling you out the whim to come on tour with him. I remember, with Blue Slide Park, I thought it was so dope that he tied that project into a charity. His whole thing was he wanted to make the world better, and you do that with love.

How was touring together? Syd told me it was all about being together.

Yeah, same thing with me. It was my very, very first tour. Him, Jimmy, Treejay, Q, they were all very welcoming. Anything we needed… I didn’t party as much as Syd may have. They would always invite me like, “Rap, come hang!” But I was like, “Nah, I can’t hang with y’all because I can’t drink like y’all!” [Laughs]. It was always a party. It was always about having a good time. They were always welcoming after every show. That’s what Mac was. It wasn’t fake because you can’t fake anything for that long. He just loved people. He loved to make people happy. Fruit snacks was a thing! We always had to have fruit snacks on the rider. It felt like… A tour, but a traveling house party at the same time. That’s what it was.

I had one bad show. We had a stop in Fort Lauderdale that had like four, five opening acts. You know, nobody trying to have that long of a show. I went on right before Mac, but right before I got on, it starts pouring down rain. I go on, everybody’s drenched. By this time, they have ear fatigue, they’re wet, and all they really wanna do is see Mac Miller, right? I come in, again, I had Return of the B-Girl. I got 20, 30 minutes, and it’s not going well. The crowd is not receiving it. I’m sure they don’t wanna receive it under the circumstances. The show just went left. I ended up walking off. It’s the only show I’ve ever walked off.

I just remember, Mac came out and he was like: “Yo, Rap is my friend and she’s gonna finish her set. And y’all are gonna show respect.” What had happened was I was performing and people were talking and I was trying to rap through it, and someone threw a brown piece of paper at me. And I’m from the South so my mind just went somewhere else when that happened. But for him to even do that, that spoke to the person that he was. He didn’t have to do that at all. That’s another thing I’ll never forget, is how he stood up for me. How he stood up for all his friends. How he stood up for all people.

Do you have one other story that really captures his essence?

I think all his stories, in some shape or form of fashion, capture his essence. He always had an open heart and always kept an open door. I was working on She Got Game, and we hadn’t seen him in a year of two, and we went to LA and he was like, “Come see the studio, come see my house.” Always had an open door. Came in, we hung with him for 10 or 20 minutes, and he was like “Alright, y’all, I’mma go hang out. Y’all just stay here. Do whatever you want.” [Laughs]. Like, Mac you leaving? All of that, just sums up who he was. Whether it’s sticking up for your friends, always making sure people are comfortable and welcome… Being inviting to anybody and everybody… He always did things to uplift people and make people feel good, maybe even when he himself wasn’t feeling good. He always led with love.

That’s a beautiful thing to say.

There’s nothing else to say, outside of what encompasses those things, about Mac. I don’t remember any bad things about Mac. He just didn’t have that kind of heart.

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