By Emma Thomson
On the afternoon of September 7, 2018, 26-yearold rapper, producer and vocalist, Malcolm McCormick, better known as “Mac Miller” passed away. McCormick struggled with long-time drug abuse and addiction. The music icon dropped his first mixtape, “But My Mackin’ Ain’t Easy,” in 2007 at the age of fifteen, before going on to release eleven other mixtapes, thirty-one singles, forty-one music videos, and five full-length studio albums. For many students at Fitchburg State, Mac’s music remains a representation of compelling memories from their adolescence.
FSU student, Ally Ruth, describes listening to “Best Day Ever” for the first time while in middle school. Ruth felt a personal connection with Miller due to his honest and positive lyrics, she said, “‘No matter where life takes me, find me with a smile’ is a line that made me fall in love with his music. It’s a saying that I will always live by. Every song I listen to I can relate to something he says. I never met him, and I know I never will, but I feel like I did.”
Fitchburg State junior, Connor Boland, says he started listening to Mac Miller in the seventh grade, but as he grew older and felt an increased sense of pressure and loneliness that came with growing up, he began to relate to Miller’s music to a greater extent. “When you’re young like he was when he released, ‘KIDS,’ for the most part everything in your life seems good, and all of his songs were happy and upbeat. As you get older, you look at your life differently, and a lot of people start to feel like they’re alone. To watch the evolution of Mac Miller from a young, happy kid, to a questioning teen, to an adult who battled depression and addiction was truly a gift to all of us who appreciated his lyrics,” said Boland.
Similarly, Josh Lorrain, a junior at Fitchburg State, describes Mac as “a success story with a tragic ending, who remains an inspiration and a warning.”
The process of adolescence and being a teenager can be fun, but also extremely difficult. Often teens rely on alcohol and substance abuse to endure the mental changes and challenges that occur during this time. According to an article published by “The Nation’s Health” in accordance with Substance Abuse and Mental Health Association in 2015, “12.4 percent of youth who reported having co-occurring disorders made up 28.4 percent of the 1.3 million teens who also reported having a substance abuse disorder” The research states that those numbers are still on the rise and need to be actively addressed. To the students at FSU who represented Mac’s audience, his music served as an escape from mental disputes.
These students suggest that through Mac’s music and songs like “Senior Skip Day,” “Best Day Ever,” “Life Ain’t Easy” and “Smile Back,” Mac authentically portrayed the importance of everlasting youthfulness and ultimate endurance.
IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW IS BATTLING ADDICTION,
CALL THE 24/7 NATIONAL DRUG HELPLINE AT 1-866-236-1651.