Can’t Keep Losing You: Fans Remember Mac Miller

Posted outside Reed&Co. in Lawrenceville, September 2018.

Legacy. What is a legacy? It’s planting seeds in a garden you never get to see.

These words from Hamilton played on loop in my head for some time after Mac Miller’s passing.

When a beloved artist passes away, they trend on Twitter. But only for a day or two before the next big newsworthy, trend-worthy event occurs. They are eulogized by accounts with blue checkmarks, sharing personal anecdotes or just admiration and gratitude for the deceased’s work. Think pieces are written about the artist’s life and work and where they sit in the imagined Pantheon of those we’ve already lost.

But then there are thousands if not millions of posts from everyday people, all over the world, who have just had their hearts ripped out of their chests and the air knocked from their lungs because their hero is gone. Their lives are forever changed by the artist’s work and now changed again by their passing.

Mac Miller was a special type of artist. Not only does he leave his work for us to remember his time spent on Earth, but by all accounts he was a good man, whatever his struggles. But it didn’t take long reading fans’ grief to see Mac’s true legacy in the fans he left behind with a message of “No matter where life takes me, find me with a smile.”

What follows is Mac’s legacy — the fans whose lives are forever changed.

This project began in the days and weeks following Mac’s passing. Participants were found on social media platforms Twitter, Tumblr, and Reddit and asked if they’d be interested in participating. Responses were exchanged over direct message and email. Responses have been edited for clarity and brevity.

@mescudye: In an industry full of gimmicks, he wasn’t one.

MW: I care about music more than I care about a lot of things, and personally, I feel that a good chunk of music nowadays seems to lack depth and meaning. That’s where Mac Miller was different. He wasn’t just a rapper, he was a truly an artist, and you can feel it in his music. He rapped about what he was feeling, thinking, experiencing.

Malcolm James McCormick was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on January 19, 1992. A graduate of Taylor Allderdice High School in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood, much of his early work features references to Pittsburgh spots Frick Park and Jerry’s Records, and Eat’N’Park’s famous Smiley cookies. Miller returned to Pittsburgh often, playing shows, attending Steelers games at Heinz Field and visiting his old school.

CR: He was a rapper from Pittsburgh, but he was SO much more than that.

HZ: He never forgot about Pittsburgh no matter how big he got.

CS: It’s more than the fact that it’s his hometown. It’s HIS city.

@mescudye: His home city was definitely special to him. It was his favourite place to be around the whole world.

CS: Every time you visit Blue Slide Park, Frick Park Market, Taylor Allderdice, you will think of Mac Miller.

@mescudye: He named his first studio album Blue Slide Park. You can tell how much the city inspired him and his craft.

AF: Mac wanted Pittsburgh to be on the map of the music scene. He wanted the city known for more than just the City of Steel.

HZ: I know for a fact his city will love him forever, we will never forget him.

@mescudye: I loved how Mac made it on his own. He used to skip his high school classes and sell his CDs outside his school. He was so keen on moving forward as a rapper. He released his mixtapes digitally and created a fanbase on his own. No manager, no PR, nothing. He released his first studio album with an independent small indie label Rostrum Records and it debuted #1 on Billboard, 16 years after the last artist with no major label charted at the top.

AK: Being a fan of Mac over the years and being able to watch him grow musically and as a person has been incredible to say the least.

@mescudye: He started off as a frat rap artist and then became this MC who was as good as the top tier rappers. I’ve always loved when rappers incorporate different genres into hip hop. Like Nas with Brooklyn Jazz, Kid Cudi with Rock influences from Queen [and] Kurt Cobain, I love that stuff.

@zayyyynah: I feel like he never held anything back when it came to making music, and he always took it one step further. He continued to evolve as an artist and I personally think that is something a lot of people don’t appreciate. Mac’s discography doesn’t stay in just one place.

@mescudye: He made 20+ projects. 12 mixtapes, 5 albums, a live album and many more. People in the industry don’t experiment much in fear of failing. [But] Mac knew his sounds.

CS: His albums were different than what you usually heard at the time they were released. He came up with and produced probably every style from his “frat rap” days to a jazz album to his current style and everything in between.

@mescudye: He made an album with Pharrell Williams called “Pink Slime,” but never released it. Pharrell said he could’ve gone the commercially successful route, but never did. He wanted to make music that not only made money or made him famous, but that pushed him as an artist and affected people.

AK: His sound grew with him. As he grew older and began being exposed to the ugly ways of this world and industry, that’s when the “Easy Mac with the cheesy raps” phase ended. “Macadelic” [in my opinion] was a prime example of his sound transitioning into something more mature and unfiltered.

@mescudye: There are only few rappers who are brilliant in incorporating old and new sounds and Mac was a master at it. The jazz influence in his music is what made me love him even more. The fusion of the two worlds [was] so perfect.

CS: I think he had multiple styles and sounds that he brought for each album, mixtape, project, or whatever he was working on at the time.

@mescudye: I’ve seen his growth from his very first mixtape to his latest album. He is the kind of artist that has only grown and experimented with his craft.

CS: He has something for any way you’re feeling.

CS: A lot of people say his earlier style like “K.I.D.S.” and “Blue Slide Park” was kind of like frat rap. I kept listening and you can hear how he changes his style over the years. His lyrics and ideas become more complex and he shared them through his chosen style for the specific album or project. For “The Divine Feminine,” he based the album around the idea of love. He came up with an idea or a certain way he wanted the album to sound and created tracks that fit the whole concept.

The Divine Feminine (2016)

@mescudye: “Faces” is without a doubt the best mixtape ever made. 24 tracks, no skips. The jazz, soul, and funk influence, the lyrics, the bars and production; everything is the best I’ve ever heard. But I know there was so much more he had to give to us still.

MW: Because of the way his style was evolving and how he was finally making the music he had always wanted to make, I think he was just going to keep getting better and better.

MW: After listening to all of his work, I personally think “The Divine Feminine” could be considered a masterpiece of his. From start to finish, you can tell he wrote the album from a place of pure love and the way he incorporated jazz was perfect.

AK: “Faces” is Mac’s musical masterpiece. Listening to this project paints vivid imageries of the raps that Mac expresses. I believe this is his best work because he produced it and he’s vulnerable about his vices and insecurities. Although he did touch on a few of his vices with his mixtape “Macadelic,” he didn’t go into as much depth as he did on “Faces.”

JB: Mac was moving onto different types of music. Mac’s music is a completely different style. Listen to “Best Day Ever” and then listen to “2009.” It’s so beautiful and seeing how much he’s grown has made me so happy. I’d love to say Mac has made his masterpiece, but he had SO much more to do.

@zayyyynah: He’s influenced modern music by having no boundaries. He makes what he wants. Most people think of him as just a rapper, but I think of him as much more. He pushes the limits of being an artist, especially in this time. He has no problem digging deep into his soul for music.

MW: You can tell he thought a lot about life and death and just the experience of being a human being on this earth.

CS: I think he was more in tune with who he was and was more open about sharing his struggles.

@mescudye: He was open about his drug use and he made beautiful music out of it. “Faces” is probably the best mixtape of all time and it’s not him glorifying the drug use.

Faces (2014)

AK: Mac’s influence on modern music has been overlooked by many. His lyricism is unmatched, not to mention that he also plays multiple instruments and has released projects under at least 3 different aliases.

@mescudye: He produced almost every album [himself]. He had these aliases. One was named Larry Fisherman, [Mac] described him as a fat bearded guy sitting in the studio making beats all day. He produced all his stuff under [Fisherman] and [produced] for many other artists as well. Another was Delusional Thomas, who was like this psycho killer and his mixtape titled “Delusional Thomas” is his most ambitious work to date. Delusional Thomas is dark, depressing in a haunting manner, but it’s a way ahead of its time. The other alias was Larry Lovestein, which he said was all shy and [like a] lovey-dovey hipster.

HZ: [Mac] showed you can step outside of the box as much as you want. He was known as a rapper, but created slow love songs, jazz-y songs, and everything in between. But I think he showed new artists that you can step outside of your “genre,” and you can tell about how you truly feel in your music.

AF: Mac went from frat kid rapper to the most evolved artist in the industry. Some may think the change in his sound was his downfall, but in my opinion it was the best to hear him change with every song, tape and album he put out. He was so complex and it was so beautiful to see how flexible he was when it came to sound and music. I think Mac influenced modern music more than people think.

HZ: Mac will 100% go down as one of the greatest ever. He always made music that was true to himself and didn’t try to be someone he wasn’t.

Mac Miller is your favorite rapper’s favorite rapper. — Altheea Ramon

@mescudye: He helped Chance the Rapper’s career. He gave so many artists the chance to headline his concerts when they weren’t even that famous. Including the Internet, Odd Future Group, Earl Sweatshirt, Vince Staples, SZA, Njomza, 6lack, and so many.

brwnee: He also had such a big presence in the music community behind the scenes, as far as stuff that he’s produced or collaborated on with people you’d never think he’d work with. He also introduced me to artists that I’d never heard of before I heard them on his songs. Believe it or not, the first time I’d heard of Kendrick Lamar was on “Macadelic” “Fight the Feeling.” Without Mac I might not have eventually been exposed to one of the best albums of this decade “good kid, maad city”.

@zayyyynah: I know Mac worked so hard. He even talked about how usually he drops every year and this time [with “Swimming”] it took two.

@mescudye: It hits you at all the right places. Sonically, lyrically, everything.

MW: Listening to his music honestly feels like I’m having a deep conversation with a friend, and that’s awesome.

@mescudye: Some tracks where he foreshadows his overdose and death are hard to listen to, but they’re too genius and beautiful not to. He put in blood, sweat, and tears making them. His music gives me an insight into depression and the mind.

AK: The lyrics and wordplay he gave us was incredible. Mac had always been pretty ahead of his time and he thankfully left us many beautiful bodies of musical works for us to be reminded.

MW: A good musician can change peoples’ lives with their music, and that’s definitely what he did.

In addition to being a talented musician with incredible creative vision, tributes to Miller often highlighted his kind spirit and good character. Not only were mourners grieving the loss of a beloved artist and collaborator, but friend as well.

@mescudye: You’ll get an idea of how Mac was. Always full of life, making other people happy, smiling and never showing what was going inside. He was hard on himself with music.

MW: I hope Mac’s impact is never forgotten. After looking through what everyone has wrote about him, it’s evident that he left a huge impact on everyone’s lives — both friends and fans. I hope a lot of people take away something from the person that he was and [can] learn something from it.

@mescudye: I remember his manager posting that there was a concert he had to perform and he skipped that and came to his manager’s daughters school for her Peter Pan skit and was late for his own show. He would fly to be there for his friends. His friend Dylan was diagnosed with cancer and through initial checkups at the hospital, Mac would stay with him. When Dylan had to shave his head off, Mac shaved his head off too. When one of Mac’s friends died, his name was Reuben and he made his own record label, naming it REMember music in his honour.

MW: He was very in touch with himself and the world around him, you can tell. Famous or not, it’s not often that we come across genuine people in this life and he was definitely one of them.

@mescudye: He would [take any] opportunity to say I love you his friends or family. He was all about love, life and kindness. That is who he was. A battling soul with depression, but [he] put up a strong exterior to make everyone around him happy.

AK: Him being open about his demons and battles helps us Macheads realize that we really aren’t alone and that it’s okay to not be okay sometimes.

@mescudye: Always with a smile on his face, welcoming arms and [an] open house for everyone. No malice for anyone in his heart. He was a pure soul. I think all we can do is learn to be even a fraction of the person that Mac was.

MW: Everyone that knew him personally describes him as one of the most genuine, kind, funny people that they have ever known. As for his fans, he’s widely recognized as an artist whose music helped them through the toughest times of their life.

@mescudye: He helped so many people get through their battles, but sadly no body could help him.

brwnee: “Macadelic” came at a time when I was severely depressed and didn’t know how to express myself.

JB: I’ve dealt with melancholic depression for a while myself. I’m fine now, but I can go into that dark place again any time. I know now how to cope with it, partly because of music and his especially. His music just connects and resonates.

CS: He has helped me through a lot of tough times in my life. His music acted as an escape for me sometimes because everything always seemed a little better when I listened to him.

AF: “Best Day Ever” actually holds a special place in my heart, it’s lifted me up when I thought I’d never stand on my own two feet again. “I’ll Be There” brought a different light to the relationship with my mom, my only parent.

MW: My personal interpretation of the album “Swimming” is that he was in a dark place and finally finding his way out of it. “I was drowning, now I’m swimming.” Not only does it hurt that this person who was struggling was finally starting to find peace and happiness, but I relate. The struggle with depression and anxiety is real, and hearing his lyrics I truly feel like I’m not alone in what I’m dealing with and that I can get through it too.

AK: Mac’s music makes me feel like I have someone in this world.

CR: 2013 was the worst year of my life. Bedtime was always my favourite time of the day because I could listen to my favourite music. At the time, Mac was going through a similar situation with drugs and inner demons, so we related on that. He helped me during some of my darkest times with his music.

@zayyyynah: There have been times [where] I have absolutely no idea what to do other than put on his music to ease what’s bothering me.

brwnee: I think his death really just broke my heart the way it did because his music truly saved my life. It’s terrible that someone who can have that effect on people he didn’t even know [can] end up leaving this world tormented by demons [that] he had no way of coping with alone.

drpepper-is-a-woman: I started listening to him when I was a junior in high school. I was going through a pretty tough situation and was living away from home. That’s around the time he dropped the “Blue Slide Park” album. It instantly became the soundtrack of my summer and was one of the few good memories I had at that time.

AF: I found Mac at the perfect time in my life. I was struggling a lot with myself and the world around me and it seemed that every time I was in a really bad spot, he would drop more music or tweet something that instantly just changed my perspective on what I was going through. He was always there for the worst times of my life at the best time.

AF: One night I was just really going through it mentally. I wasn’t even tweeting at Mac, [but] he responded to a tweet [I wrote] about me thinking that no one cared about me and [he] told me that I gotta care about myself. That tweet will always hit me the hardest because for so long I didn’t give a shit about myself and I didn’t think anyone else did either. But he did and he wanted me to care too. It started my process of seeking help for myself mentally. I went into therapy because of that tweet. I know it sounds corny and it may not make sense to most, but it really turned my life around. He saved my life without even knowing it. The very first time we interacted he told me to live forever and whenever I suffer from suicidal thoughts I just think “live forever.”

AR: No matter where life took me, (and I’ve been through quite some rough patches), Mac let me know that “This too shall pass” and that he would always be there for me. His music is what got me through it all.

drpepper-is-a-woman: Mac would rap about loving his home town and being home sick and at the time I related to deeply to it. It was like no matter where I went I had a piece of home with me.

DS: His music really helped me cope with my depression and it still does to this day. His death hit me pretty hard, but I’ll help his memory and legacy live on forever.

JB: I wish we could’ve done something. He wanted to live. He was all about life. He gave me so much. I’ll forever love him and take his legacy forward and I’ll pass his music to my kids.

Through Miller’s honest, candid writing about his personal struggles and his positive, encouraging outlook, he inspired great devotion from those who could relate to his songs.

@mescudye: I remember the very first song I heard by him was “Smile Back” [from] his first studio album “Blue Slide Park.” It was 2011. And video came up on TV and immediately I was hooked. He had this charming face, I was like “Who is this kid?” I just loved him then and there.

JB: The first Mac Miller song I ever heard was “Knock Knock” when I was in 8th grade. That’s where my love for Mac started. From then, I went through my high school years listening to him grow while I grew.

CS: I first started listening to him back in either 2010 or 2011 when a friend played me one of his songs. After that he quickly became my favorite artist and all I wanted to listen to. I think the first Mac Miller song I heard was “Party on Fifth Ave.”

MW: I’ll start off by saying that I never truly explored any of Mac Miller’s work before his passing, mostly because I put him in this predetermined box in my head of “just another rapper.” I was in high school when “K.I.D.S” came out and I remember people always talking about him and playing his music, but (unfortunately) I never really payed close attention. I knew a few songs here and there, but never truly dove into his entire catalogue of music, or knew basically anything about him as a person. I started out with “The Divine Feminine” and his new album “Swimming.” Instantly, I hated myself for not listening to him sooner. The albums were beautiful and had me holding back tears on the train to work.

MW: I do remember about two years ago my boyfriend was playing music in the car and “Dang!” came on. I was like, “Hold on, what is this.. I love this.” When he told me it was a new Mac Miller song, I was like “Mac Miller?” I had no idea Mac Miller was a funky ass dude. I proceeded to replay the song about 106 times.

brwnee: The first time I heard of Mac Miller I was watching a Wiz Khalifa music video. The first song of his that I heard was “Kool Aid and Frozen Pizza.” I instantly fell in love and started listening to the rest of the “K.I.D.S.” mixtape. For a while that was all I listened to.

CR: I was 15 years old the first time I heard about Mac Miller. My best friend used to call me on the phone and for hours we’d play different music for each other, and one day it was Mac Miller. I remember telling him to “Turn that shit up, Who is that?” When he told me it was Mac, we hung up the phone, and I went straight to my computer to download this dude’s music to my iPod. It took 3 days to download “Blue Slide Park” to my computer because all I had was dial-up internet.

AR: Everybody that knows me, even if they don’t know me personally, knows that I’m a huge Mac Miller fan. People I know associate anything related to him with me.

@alayshajessie: When I was like 12 I’d have Mac themed birthday parties.

AF: I started listening to Mac when I was 11 [or] 12, now I’m 21 [and] still [have] the same love for him.

drpepper-is-a-woman: I’ve been a pretty loyal listener for years. I’m 23 now, it’s like I almost grew up with him.

@alayshajessie: I got my first tattoo for him. He was gonna be my first concert. My first meet and greet. I didn’t go to anyone else’s concerts because I wanted him to be my first.

AF: When I hear “Best Day Ever,” for some reason I flash back to 2011 when the tape just dropped. I stayed up listening to it all the way through making sure I knew every word and I didn’t sleep till I did.

brwnee: When I hear songs from K.I.D.S., it brings me back to my freshman year of high school when I met my best friend (9 years later and we’re still bffs!) We both loved and bonded over his music. It just makes me think of a time in my life where I was truly carefree. His music was definitely a soundtrack for that part of my life.

CS: I always try to share his music with my friends and get them to listen. Some of them actually did and started to like him and listen on their own. That made me happy. People used to always give me shit or make comments to me because I liked him and his music, but I didn’t care. I was and I still am proud to be such a big fan of his.

AR: He inspires me every single day to reach my fullest potential. Because of him, I got into making my own music and have done so many great things in my lifetime.

drpepper-is-a-woman: His music will always have a special place in my heart because it’s been playing in the background of my life for so long, he’s always gonna be one of the greats in my book.

AR: When I hear Mac’s music, it brings me a sense of comfort. It reminds me that everything will be okay. His music is what gets me through life; the ups and downs. It’s an unbreakable bond I have with him and his music.

@alayshajessie: I don’t listen to anything else, but him.

AK: When I hear Mac’s music, I think about my college years spent in my dorm room, but I also reminisce on his live performances.

HZ: His music has always made me feel a sense of comfort, and it was always relatable. All throughout high school I was known as the girl obsessed with Mac Miller. When I met him at the Fillmore at 15, it changed everything.

CS: I remember when I was meeting him for the first time, it was his Cleveland show and I was first in line for VIP. I was so nervous, but so excited. He came into the room and I couldn’t stop smiling. When I walked up to him, he had the biggest smile on his face and gave me such a big hug. I’ll never forget it.

AK: The aura at his concerts was incredible.

CS: I’ve traveled to multiple states and would wait outside for hours in any weather condition to see him.

AR: I didn’t mind standing in line since 9 in the morning. Mac Miller was worth it.

CS: I finally got the chance to meet him in 2015 during the “GO:OD AM” tour. I got to thank him in person for everything he’d done for me. I finally got to hug him. It meant so much to me.

JB: He walked up to me, gave me the biggest hug and said “Hi, how are you?” and I said “I’m great” (because I was freaking out). He asked where I was from in Michigan, we took our picture, and he signed my CD. He said he was glad he got to meet me.

AR: It’s crazy to think that out of so many of his fans, Mac knew who I was. We talked, he interacted with me a lot, follow[ed] me on Twitter and [took] the time to comment on my Instagram post. He recognized me in real life the second time we met during “The Divine Feminine” Tour. I never thought I would experience my idol knowing of my existence and even calling me by my name. It’s the little things that made me smile.

CS: I was super excited to be seeing him and meeting again in November, but then he passed unexpectedly. His death broke me, shattered me in every way possible.

@alayshajessie: I worked almost 75 hours a week to buy tickets and meet and greet. I don’t want my fucking money back. I want my friend.

@zayyyynah: He was so excited for tour and to perform these songs live for us to hear. There’s something very special about this album. I will appreciate “Swimming” a little bit more than the rest, simply because it was a chapter Mac was not able to finish.

On September 7, 2018, Mac Miller was reported dead of an accidental overdose. He was only 26.

Fans and fellow artists took to Twitter to share their condolences and remember Miller’s life and work.

@mescudye: I’ve never seen 4 million people talk nothing, but only good things about a guy who passed away.

MW: When a friend told me the news that he passed away, I immediately was paralyzed in shock. My hands were shaking, it felt like I was hit by a train and I truly couldn’t understand why. I hardly knew anything about this person and it felt as if I lost a close friend. I’ve experienced the loss of some of my idols and all-time favorite musicians Scott Weiland, Chris Cornell, and Chester Bennington, but I can honestly say that none of their deaths had the effect on me that Mac Miller’s did and I couldn’t understand why.

MW: That night, I had a dream that I was in a large crowd of people with Mac and only I could see or hear him. It felt so real as if he was actually there, talking to me. I woke up feeling even more uneasy about his passing and still so confused about why it was hitting me so hard.

MW: Since then, I’ve been listening to his music non-stop, on repeat. A lot of his lyrics resonate with me on a deep personal level and genuinely inspire me in so many ways.

CS: I still can’t process that he’s gone. Sometimes it feels like he’s still here, but I know he’s not and I get super depressed about it.

HZ: When I hear his music now, I choke up. I have to hold back tears now. But before, I felt content and safe. He was like my safe haven. He helped me through the lowest points in my life, I will forever be grateful to him for that. All I ever wanted was to be able to tell him that. It sucks I’ll never be able to now.

AR: I just hope Mac knew how much I looked up to him. I can’t stress how thankful I am to know that he is there for me. Mac has been with me for a huge majority of my life and I will forever be grateful for him and his guidance to my life. I want to thank him for the memories.

CR: I’ve had his music on repeat for 11 days straight now and the pain of Mac being gone hasn’t gotten any easier. But his passing has inspired me to pick up my guitar and learn every song from “The Divine Feminine” and every song from “Swimming” acoustically.

AR: Thank you isn’t enough in my opinion, but I hope he knows that I love him and I appreciate him to the fullest extent. Mac Miller will always hold a special place in my heart.

CS: Whenever I hear his music, I feel happier [and] more at peace. Everything seems better.

MW: I have so much regret for not giving him a chance so much sooner. I could have been a fan all these years. Even though I gained a whole new favorite artist of all time, I truly feel like I’ve lost a friend in the weirdest way. His death still does not sit with me and I still can’t stop thinking about it.

CR: His music spoke to me on so many levels. After “GO:OD AM” dropped, I stopped listening to his music, I don’t know why. I think I just caught up in other music and other talents. Then he dropped “Swimming” and I gave it a listen, and I thought to myself “Why did I ever stop listening to Malcolm McCormick?” Because this album was something else, it was emotional, it was raw. I then realized I completely missed “The Divine Feminine,” so I went back and listened to that too and loved it just as much. A month later, Mac passed away.

Blue Slide Park in Pittsburgh served as the unofficial mourning place for fans to gather and remember Miller. Several impromptu meet-ups were held there in the weeks following Miller’s passing and fans came from all over to pay their respects and leave items in Miller’s memory. There have been meet-ups planned each year on the anniversary of his passing.

CS: The day after his death, a friend I met through him and I drove up to Pittsburgh to pay our respects. We met up with some other people at Blue Slide Park, where we spent most of the day and talked about Mac for awhile. I later made the drive to Pittsburgh on September 11th by myself to attend the vigil that was held for him. I’m glad I was able to go because it was something I really felt I had to do.

CS: When the vigil started, there was a decent size group of people gathered at the top of the slide just listening to the DJs playing all of Mac’s music. There were people painting absolutely stunning portraits of Mac in different areas of the park. There were posters of him hung up too. A petition was going around to have that section of Frick Park renamed to Mac Miller Blue Slide Park. Hearing people speak at the vigil brought tears to my eyes.

CS: It was quiet for awhile. I sat on a bench just thinking about Mac and looking around at everyone at the park and occasionally going to look at all the things people left at the top of the slide again. I wasn’t as happy as I would usually be to be back at the park or in Pittsburgh in general. I knew I was there to mourn and celebrate the life of the man who meant an incredible amount to me. I was sad, but I thought it was amazing that the city would hold a vigil for him. It was something I never expected to do especially for him, but I knew I had to be there no matter what.

CS: Candles were lit, the music was still going. We were all still gathered around the slide, but there were people down on the playground and near the basketball and softball fields too.

CS: I left two candles I decorated for him, a framed picture of all the times I met him, and a letter. I cried when I placed them on the ground near the slide. It was hard for me because that made it all that more real that he was gone. Seeing all the paintings, things people left, screaming the lyrics to all of his songs, and everyone coming together for him was something I never thought I’d experience.

CS: The vigil was beautiful; the fact that more than 2,000 people showed up to show their love for him and to celebrate him was incredible. I got to talk with other people about Mac who understood how I felt. I just wish we could have done that under different circumstances where it wasn’t a vigil and he was still here, but I’m still glad it was done for him and for the people that loved and cared for him.

MW: He truly left a mark on the world and was loved by so many and that’s whats most important.

@mescudye: I think all we can do is learn to be even a fraction of the person that Mac was.

CR: He was so underrated and deserved so much more love then he got. I wish he was here to celebrate the charts he has now, the art that people are making for him, the covers, the love.

MW: I can honestly say that his music changed my life, even in this very short timespan.

AR: Mac Miller wasn’t just a rapper to me. He was much more than that. He was my friend. He meant a lot to me then, he means a lot to me now, and he will mean a lot to me for the rest of my life.

HZ: He’s perfect in my eyes. He’ll never be forgotten. His music will get me through the rest of my life.

For any artist, the concept of legacy is a daunting one. What will the world remember after they’re gone? Of course when a musician passes, we still have the music and in the digital streaming era, it has never been easier to keep an artist’s memory alive by blasting their music whenever we miss them.

brwnee: I just want Mac to always be remembered for how much he loved music and how much pride he took in the music he made and produced.

CS: His masterpiece is his art, his life, his music. All of these things and more have made and shaped him into who he is.

But perhaps even more than his music and his extraordinary kindness, Mac Miller’s legacy will continue in the form of the lives he has touched.

CS: But his fans, the Macheads, are also part of his legacy. We are the ones that have to keep his legacy alive, keep him alive. We can do this by continuing to listen to his music, share it with other people, keep sharing our stories and memories. Just making sure to make sure he’s not forgotten.

@zayyyynah: He connected countless amounts of people and brought them together.

CS: I’m so grateful for all the opportunities I’ve had because of him, like being able to talk with his close friends at shows all the time and for all the friends I’ve made because of our love for his music.

@mescudye: He was like a solid bridge. He helped so many people in the process.

AF: He’s connected me to a tremendous amount of beautiful people who all have a story some similar some different than mine. We call ourselves Macheads and they’ve all become family. He was the colorful light in a lot of our lives and we will make sure his name lives on forever.

CS: We can never forget him. He’d wants us to keep swimming so that’s what we have to do. When I listen to him now, I feel like he’s still here sometimes, it makes me think like he’s not really gone. There’s no way I could ever stop listening to him, my life wouldn’t be the same.

AR: He’s everything to us Macheads. Mac’s legacy will live on forever. He will never be forgotten and I’ll make sure to talk about him forever.

AK: If you’re a fan of Mac Miller, then you go hard for Mac Miller. Period.

@zayyyynah: I’m glad he has brought us all together in this dark time for all of us. If you know Mac, you know the world will truly just never be the same.

CS: He will live on through all of us.

AR: Once a Machead, always a Machead. Most Dope, that’s forever.

AK: You are greatly loved Mac. To say “thank you” wouldn’t be nearly enough to repay you for everything you’ve done for your fans. You are truly an angel.

HZ: He changed my life forever and I cannot thank him enough for what he’s done for me. I love life Mac, thank you forever. I will remember you for the rest of my life.

This project would not have been possible without the Macheads that were so kind as to share their stories with a stranger on the internet. This story truly is a testament to them as much as it is to Mac. Thank you to:




Alexis Fisher

Philadelphia, PA


North Carolina



Pittsburgh, PA


Detroit, Michigan

Aiesha Kornegay

Warner Robins, GA

Altheea Ramon

Laredo, TX

Cassie Randell

Ontario, Canada

Drew Scott

Minneapolis, MN

Caitlin Suriano

Brunswick, OH

Megan Wynd

New York, NY



Birmingham, NY




music writer | photographer | pittsburgh

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Emma Christley

Emma Christley

music writer | photographer | pittsburgh

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