Arts & Culture

Rest in Peace, Mac Miller

Kailey James, Staff Writer

If you paid any attention to music when you were growing up, this is for the younger audiences, sorry “old” people, you listened to Mac Miller. Whether you liked him or not, he was there. On Sept. 7, Mac Miller was pronounced dead of an apparent overdose at the age of 26.

This summer has been filled with many deaths of musicians, but for me, this one continues to sting. Even a week later, it still seems raw. Mac was too young with so much left to do. The night before he was pronounced dead, he was on Instagram Live busting out beats. Watching that video of him the night before, it would have been hard to imagine he would be gone the next day.

     I know I am not the only fan that is still in mourning. After Mac’s death, streaming of his music has increased 970%. Many of his songs started trending on top music charts. There were multiple candle-lit memorials where fans came together to mourn and celebrate his life. This included a memorial at Frick Park’s Blue Slide playground, which inspired the name of his debut album, in his hometown of Pittsburgh. The memorial was held by Nightfall Records on Tuesday, Sept. 11. Huge names in music also expressed their condolences through social media, including SZA, Chance the Rapper, Childish Gambino, Lil Wayne and so many more. His impact on everyone he reached with his music will not be lost.

     His death is a reminder that death by overdose is common in the music industry. Musicians that have passed from an overdose include Amy Winehouse, Whitney Houston and more recently Prince and Tom Petty. Because of this, a person in the music industry’s life expectancy is about 25 years shorter than the average person’s. There’s no doubt there is a constant amount of pressure and attention on these people at all times, but when you think about the industry and the music we are listening to now and even in the past, drugs and alcohol are glorified. There also seems to be easier access to drugs for music stars, and the drugs being consumed might be even stronger.   

         This is due to the growing opioid crisis across the country. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, there were more than 72,000 deaths from overdose in 2017. The NIDA also showed the sharpest increase of death by fentanyl and fentanyl analogs, or synthetic opioids, in 2017. These opioids are what an increasing number of musicians have been overdosing on, including Prince and Tom Petty. While the cause of Mac Miller’s overdose is still unknown, and it seems that there is not much that can be done about the increase of overdoses, maybe it’s better to know than be ignorant to it.

      I think with all of this being said and all that has happened, it is a reminder that life is short, and empathy for others is important. Mac Miller will be remembered for the amazing music he has shared with us over his life. If you have not listened to his most recent album, “Swimming,” do that now.

This article first appeared in the Friday, September 21 edition of The Echo.