Although he has died aged only 26, of a reported drug overdose, the American rapper and music producer Mac Miller had already created a body of work that looks set to endure long after him.
Last month, his fifth studio album, Swimming, debuted at No 3 on the Billboard charts, making it his fifth consecutive US Top 10 album. Critics hailed the disc’s confident production and languid musicality, and the deftness with which Miller was able to confront his personal history of substance abuse in his lyrics, at the same time managing to impart a laconic sense of optimism.
However, his problems were deep-seated. Even on his first full-length album, the chart-topping Blue Slide Park (2011), Miller was delivering unnerving bulletins about his mental state. “I ain’t normal, I’m clinically insane / I guess it’s the result of drugs that enter in my brain,” he sang in Of the Soul, while the punkish Up All Night was a riotous account of non-stop drinking and party-going (“Yea, I got a reputation of gettin’ wasted,” he observed). Read more