Mac Miller felt invincible before he died.
At least that’s what the 26-year-old confessed to a close friend after his almost fatal car accident in May 2018, when he had jumped behind the wheel of his Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon after a night of drinking and plowing it. luxury car with its head first into a pole.
One would assume that Miller, born Malcolm James McCormick, would be rattled by such a dense brush with death. But friends of the rapper said he seemed almost blasé over the accident, feeling both confused and encouraged by his actions.
Miller admitted he did not know what made him floor the pedal as he turned around in a turn that night, but at the same time he felt an inexplicable feeling that he was untouchable.
“I do not know why I did it, I do not know what the hell I was thinking,” Miller told a friend as he intensely smoked a cigarette. “I just felt invincible.”
It would only take another four months after the crash that Miller was discovered dead by his assistant at his Los Angeles home after an accidental overdose of drugs, which a toxicological report confirmed was due to a mixture of cocaine mixed with fentanyl as well as alcohol.
Miller’s peculiar stance on the car accident stuck with – or rather haunted – his close friends in the wake of his death. It was a moment many took up with the author Paul Cantor, whose biography Most Dope: The Extraordinary Life of Mac Miller, hits the shelves on January 18, a day before the rapper would have turned 30 years old.
Writing the book was not easy for Cantor, an experienced music journalist whose bylines have appeared in Rolling stones, New York Times, Esquire, Billboard, and XXL. He had been a fan of Miller since day one, almost literally, when a publicist for Miller’s future record label had sent Cantor a clip of the young rapper’s early music, asking for his opinion.
With an affirmative answer that yes, Miller deserved a shot, Cantor looked over the years as Pittsburgh MC’s profile rose through the ranks of hip-hop top names. The two even crossed their paths a handful of times. So as a fan himself, Miller’s sudden death captured Cantor, as it did with the rest of the world. But it was not only the writing that Cantor found challenging, as he also faced a huge setback from Miller’s family, who not only refused to be interviewed, but publicly put him on the air in a family statement encouraging the rapper’s fans to avoid being interviewed. Order.
This is not the first time Miller’s family has openly rejected a project that touched on the rapper’s legacy. In July, his brother, Miller McCormick, slammed a report that Machine Gun Kelly was set to star in a film about a “troubled musician in his last days,” inspired by Miller’s life. The project was originally titled “Good News”, apparently taken from Miller’s track of the same name from his posthumous album Circles. Shortly after the news of the film came out, McCormick tweeted, “Fuck you, fuck your movie, at least change the title.” (It is worth noting that the family supported The book about Mac: Remember Mac Miller, which was released in October and largely focused on the artistry of Miller’s albums.)
While Cantor in an interview with The Daily Beast admitted that the family’s rejection hurt, he was ultimately not deterred. “I actually had a lot of support, contrary to what was written about this book,” he said. “I had a lot of support from people around him. Their support is actually one of the reasons I pursued it myself. Had they not been supportive from day one, I probably would not have done it. But it was them, and it motivated me. ”
“One of his closest friends, I remember it very clearly, when we actually talked about this specific topic, he said, ‘His story belongs to the world.'”
“One of his closest friends, I remember this very clearly when we actually talked about this specific topic, he said: ‘His story belongs to the world.’”
The result is an insight into Miller’s life through the eyes of his friends and industry peers, and traces the musician’s life journey as he quickly rose the ladder from a high school amateur to a bonafide star – someone who could call John Mayer a guitar riff on his latest track, and who had a beaten Ariana Grande on her arm.
And for those looking for clever details about Miller’s relationship with Grande, they will have to read elsewhere as Cantor avoids relying on tabloid-like coverage of their nearly two-year romance. The couple had a high-profile relationship, primarily due to Grande’s pop star status, and she had been a rock for Miller when the book reveals he had been going to rehab for about three weeks in 2016, with Grande making several visits to facilities.
During their relationship, as Miller was striving to remain sober, there would be periods when he was MIA, where Grande became concerned for his safety and called his friends to find out where he was. At the back, Miller Grande supported after the Manchester Arena bombing in 2017, and flew back to the venue for her One Love Manchester concert to sing their hit duo “The Way” together.
The media’s interest only seemed to intensify after the two split in early May 2018, when Grande quickly moved on with Saturday Night Live comedian Pete Davidson later that month. When Miller was arrested on DUI charges of crashing her car, shortly after the news of Grande’s new sling, fans were quick to accuse her of pushing him over the edge.
Cantor said it was clear that what Miller and Grande had in common was genuine and deep, but in the wake of their relationship, there was an element of projection regarding the public’s assumption about how Miller felt about Grande’s relationship with Davidson.
“I think the moment they were together, there was definitely a real thing,” Cantor explained. “You can see from the actions explored in the book that it was real. Therefore, I do not think, to his credit, that he never said anything at all about it, other than that it was a relationship that was good while it. He would give it the dignity it deserves.
“There was a narrative about his relationship that might not have been 100 percent accurate,” Cantor continued. “He was becoming a little tabloid version of himself, and that’s not what this guy was about. He’s a really deep human being, and he put a lot of his life into his work. What’s that line, ‘It’s easy to write, you just open a vein and bleed? ‘ I mean, he bled, it’s all over his music. “
“He was becoming a little tabloid version of himself, and that was not what this guy was about. He is a really deep person and he put a lot of his life into his work. What is the line, ‘It’s easy to write, you just open a vein and bleed?’ I mean, he bled, it’s all over his music.”
‘I think he felt like he was coming by [their relationship], and he took care of himself and tried to be on a healthy track at the time within the framework of what it was he was dealing with. “
But the book dives into Miller’s substance abuse problems, where Cantor says each source brought up the subject voluntarily. “I’ve never asked anyone about drug use,” he said. “It was something other people took up. I wanted to talk to people for two hours before any of it came up – they wanted to talk about it. “Well, we have to talk about this,” and then I often let the subject lead it to where they would take it. “
Friends of Miller had long been concerned about the amount of drugs and booze he ingested, as well as the childish zeal with which he tried everything from lean to ecstasy.
For many, Miller’s use, though extreme, was part of his lifestyle and often helped his creativity while making music. Others thought he was not really an addict, but went through periods of binging. Miller himself even said he did not consider himself an addict and told Rolling stones in August 2018, a month before his death, “Have I taken drugs? Yes. But am I a drug addict? None.”
But even though Miller and his friends classified his use as binging, it still reached dangerous levels. His longtime tour DJ, Clockwork, told Cantor that the rapper’s drug use reached a record high while making his mixtape from 2014 Faces. “I thought he could die any day,” he recalled. “I had never seen anyone walk that ham before. I’ve seen bruh take enough drugs for where the average person would overdose.”
It was difficult to assess what exactly Miller went through before his death. Many of his friends, including Grande, would allude to the demons he fought in secret. “” He was the best person ever, and he did not deserve the demons he had, “she said Vogue in 2019.)
But no one could really point to what led Miller toward a downward spiral. Depression? A false tale of his heartache? Imposter syndrome? The pressure of fame? Was he just trapped by a young superstar’s thoughtless, endless party lifestyle? Maybe it was all the little demons that were masked together into a monster-sized gargoyle that was constantly sitting on Miller’s shoulder.
Each of his friends offered a different vantage point over the situation, but one thing seemed clear: Miller was intent on pushing boundaries. Musically, he explored new themes, such as heartache and struggles around mental health, with his album Swimming, released one month before his death. (Miller had plans for a companion album, Circles, which was eventually released posthumously in 2020.)
For Cantor, the book was not about getting the sensational details of Miller’s life and struggles, but about sharing an honest and raw portrayal of the man – who he was, what he stood for, and the legacy he left behind.
“I tried my best to respect life – I can not change the facts,” he said. “But I can see under the bonnet [and] really try to illustrate something deeper about someone. If I did, and someone chooses [the book] up and feel like they felt closer to this person and it makes them want to either re-listen to their music or discover it for the first time and really try to contextualize and understand who this person really was, I feel like I did what I set out to do. “