Malcolm James McCormick, who performed under the name Mac Miller, was an American rapper and producer, born in the Point Breeze neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on January 19, 1992. He passed away at the age of 26 in Los Angeles, California.
Mac Miller was the son of photographer Karen Meyers who is Jewish and architect Mark McCormick who is Christian, and had an older brother, Miller.
Miller was a self-taught musician who by the age of six was playing piano, guitar, drums, and bass. His urge to rap came along when he was 14 and started making strides towards his rap career in high school stating:
“Once I hit 15, I got real serious about it and it changed my life completely … I used to be into sports, play all the sports, go to all the high school parties. But once I found out hip-hop is almost like a job, that’s all I did.”
Before Mac Miller his rap moniker was originally ‘Easy Mac’ (often stylized as EZ Mac) and he put out the mixtape But My Mackin’ Ain’t Easy in 2007 when he was 15. Two years later in 2009, he became Mac Miller, and released a pair of mixtapes: The Jukebox: Prelude to Class Clown and The High Life.
Miller won 21 & Under of the Year, and Best Hip Hop Video for “Live Free at the 2010 Pittsburgh Hip Hop Awards.
Mac Miller’s musical influences included: A Tribe Called Quest, Beastie Boys, Lauryn Hill, and Outkast.
Early Days on Rostrum Records
The 2010 would see Mac Miller signing to the originally Pittsburgh- record label Rostrum Records that also discovered Wiz Khalifa. Mac went on to release a slew of mixtapes on the label: K.I.D.S. on August 13, 2010, Best Day Ever on March 11, 2011, and Macadelic on March 23, 2012. He also had the EP On and On and Beyond on March 29, 2011 and the studio albums Blue Slide Park on November 8, 2011 and Watching Movies with the Sound Off on June 18, 2013 released on Rostrum Records.
Mac Miller eventually left Rostrum Records in January of 2014, becoming an independent artist, then creating his own label called “REMember Music” through Warner Bros Records in October of 2014. The reason Miller capitalized ‘REM’ in “REMember Music” was in order for it to serve as a tribute to his friend Reuben Eli Mitrani, who tragically died young at the age of 20. The label mostly focused on Pittsburgh artists and releases from Miller’s alter-egos.
Mac Miller’s alias included:
- Larry Lovestein & The Velvet Revival: Larry Lovestein was the imaginary younger brother of Mac Miller from songs like “Youforia” and “ROS”. The music was on the smokey jazz vibe.
- Larry Fisherman: This was Mac Miller’s producer alias, racking up many production credits with rappers such as Vince Staples, Schoolboy Q, and Your Old Droog.
- Delusional Thomas: Delusional Thomas is an obscure Mac Miller alias who is a representation of the evil voice that’s inside his head trying to mislead him.
Mac Miller Milestones
Mac Miller had multiple career highlights during his prolific yet short 26 years of living:
- XXL magazine featured Miller in its annual “Freshman Class” list of 2011, with ten other rappers including the reputable and respected Kendrick Lamar and Meek Mill.
- “Donald Trump” became Mac Miller’s first song to chart on the US Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number 75, and earning a RIAA platinum certification.
- Mac’s six-track EP, On and On and Beyond was his first entry into the US Billboard 200 albums chart at number 55.
- Blue Slide Park, Miller’s debut studio album, debuted atop the Billboard 200, becoming the first independently distributed debut to do so since Tha Dogg Pound made it happen with Dogg Food way back in 1995.
- Miller starred in a six-episode reality series, Mac Miller and the Most Dope Family, on MTV2 that zoomed in on the production of his second studio album. The program premiered on February 26, 2013.
- Mac Miller’s fifth studio album, Swimming came out on August 3, 2018 and debuted at number three on the Billboard 200, his fifth consecutive top five-charting album release in the United States. After Mac Miller passed away in September 2018, the single “Self Care” shot up to number 33 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming his highest peak as a lead artist at the moment.
- Swimming was nominated for Best Rap Album at the 61st Annual Grammy Awards.
Death of Mac Miller
On September 7th, 2018, the horrible news of Mac Miller dieing at the young age of 26 in his San Fernando Valley home due to an apparent drug overdose from a “mixed drug toxicity” of fentanyl, cocaine, and alcohol rang out loud and clear in the media. Mac Miller was open about his struggles drug addiction and drug abuse. They manifested themselves as constant themes in his music from time to time.
Mac Miller also struggled with stress and depression. Prior to his death, Miller’s relationship with pop singer Ariana Grande had ended, after they had been together from August 2016 to May 2018.
A vigil for Mac Miller on September 11, 2018 at Pittsburgh’s Blue Slide Park attracted thousands of loyal supporters. This location was the same Blue Slide Park that inspired Miller’s debut album title, and it continues to be a place of remembrance.
There was also a tribute concert called Mac Miller: A Celebration of Life, that followed the next month on Halloween 2018 in Los Angeles. Friends and collaborators not only showed up but also performed or provided personal messages at the concert about their love for Mac Miller. Proceeds raised benefited the newly established Mac Miller Circles Fund, an organization that focuses on supporting youth arts and community-building programs in his memory.
The Mac Miller Circles Fund charity raised over $700,000 by January 2019 and in May 2019, the renamed Mac Miller Fund began offering its very first grants, such as $50,000 to MusiCares, used to establish their Mac Miller Legacy Fund to assist young musicians coping with substance abuse issues.