Beedie was there at the bedrock of Mac Miller’s career. He was there before the Mac Miller we’ve come to love fully percolated. Before K.I.D.S. and acclaim. Before everything, it was Beedie and Malcolm making music together as The Ill Spoken.
With a piece of Mac Miller history close to his chest, Beedie was kind enough to speak to me about the life and times of The Ill Spoken, his relationship to Malcolm, and how Mac’s passing has inspired him to work on new music.
In his own words, this is Beedie remembering the wunderkind that was Mac Miller.
“We met a long time. Our parents grew up together. Malcolm was my younger brother’s best friend growing up in Pittsburgh. He was always the cool younger kid, way-way before music. He would stay over my mom’s house all the time, hanging out with my brother. We became friends that way. We have a four year age difference.
“He was so charismatic and confident! He would walk up to seniors in high school when I was in ninth grade, so he had to be in fifth grade at the time, and he would dap up seniors in high school. Like it was nothing. He was the funniest, smiley kid.
“He always made music as a kid. It was more like what he became later in his career, with more singing and guitar influenced music. I started rapping when I was 17, 18, and eventually heard he was freestyling and doing some hip-hop. From day one, he was such an interesting, entertaining person, who would light up the room. It was automatic. He just naturally had a thing for rap. We had the same birthday, as well, so we bonded on that. We decided that despite our age difference, we should gang up and do something different. It was all for fun!
“Times were crazy back then. Probably one of my favorite things, looking back, was our writing process. We did a lot of back and forth rapping. We did all our first shows together. Basically, we learned how to make songs together; learned how to perform together. We started from the ground up.
“I knew he had such star power. He’s got something you need to watch and pay attention to. He is one of the greatest artists of our generation, period. He had the power to light up a room. Even before music, he’d be performing. Walk into a room and crack jokes like a stand-up comic. He was pretty funny.
“It was very surprising for us people cared about us, you know? We started for fun, and then it picked up some steam, and we were flying to Atlanta and doing shows and having a blast. My favorite song is hard to say, but we loved all the tracks on the How High mixtape. We’ve done like 60 tracks together, for real. It’s hard to say. A lot of those are ancient and probably will never be heard. Some of them are out there. Some of them aren’t.
“We recorded with this guy Soy Sauce, with Tough Sound Recordings, that’s his studio. We would go in there and block out several hours. Usually, we’d write beforehand, but sometimes we’d be in the studio trying to finish a verse. Knock out as many songs as we could. Like I said, we were still learning how to make songs.
“So we would record, and record, and record. And try to pick the best ones. We would do everything we could, spend all of our money at the studio. Save up every dollar that we could. He definitely would come up with cash out of nowhere; I'll put it like that.
“He was more and more of a studio rat as times went on. When people his age were going out and partying, he was at home working on music. That was his studio space when he was writing. He was 100 percent always working on music, never took his brain off of it.
“The relationship was always all love. I hung out with them a lot when they were on the road for the Blue Slide Park tour, the K.I.D.S. tour, the Macadelic tour. That was my dude since way back. We did do one follow-up song. Around 2012, it’s called ‘Paid Dues.’ We made some other songs. He was so ambitious with so many ideas all the time. You’d get a call from a random number, not knowing who it is and you’d be like, ‘Hello?’ and he’d be like, ‘Yo! It’s Mac. Come to the studio! I need you.’ Some of those songs, I have no idea where they are. I’ll never even know.
“There was some distance there. Mac moved out West, and I would seldom see him. Watching him mature from a distance has been amazing, to see him evolve as a human being and as an artist. He found his version of adulthood through his travels on the road and stuff.
“The ‘Star Room’ was a room in my mom’s old house in Point Breeze, and he made the song about it. That was my bedroom at one point, and then it was our studio. That’s where he made some of his first songs, and up there he decided This is what I’m doing with my life. He shouted it out on the song. We had glow in the dark stickers of stars on the ceiling which were on the ceiling when my mom moved into the house in 2003. We didn’t put them up there, but we didn’t take them down. It was in the attic. At one point, I slept up there, and then, later on, it was a studio.
“It was very rough [after Mac passed]. I’m doing fine now. We had a music relationship, but we also have a very personal relationship; with my family as well. It was lots of waves of different emotions. At the end of it all, right now, I can say I’m thankful I got to be a part of his life and a part of his story because he was a special kid and a special artist.
“I’m not the biggest Elton John fan, but for some reason, it hit me whenever I saw Elton John saying ‘Rest in peace, Mac Miller.’ I was like, ‘Jesus Christ; this was a hell of a ride.’ I’m very, very sad he’s not able to share any more days with us, but I’ll always keep the memories close to my heart.”