“Everybody saying I need rehab
Cause I’m speedin’ with a blindfold on and
won’t be long
‘til they washing me crash, and they don’t wanna see that.
They don’t want me to OD and have to talk to my mother
Tell her they could have done more to help me.
And she’d be crying saying that she’d do anything
to have me back.”
-Mac Miller, ‘Perfect Circle/God Speed’
I’m not going to sit here and pretend I was an avid listener of Mac’s music. I won’t regurgitate what information there is of his life story from Wikipedia, and I won’t highlight the ups and downs of his elaborate music career. You can find that on every other news/pop culture site. Instead, I want to emphasize the relationship Mac had with his music, and the endless cries for help we always somehow seem to ignore when it comes to celebrities. This isn’t the story of how Mac overdosed, or even how he got addicted to drugs in the first place. Rather, it’s the question mark lingering at the end of his obituary: Mac was so evidently struggling–so why didn’t anyone reach out to him?
Mac Miller had an extensive battle with addiction throughout his career. I’m sure we can all remember when news broke that Mac had been in a car accident, charged with a DUI and hit-and-run. Indeed, he’s been incredibly open about addiction. Following the release of his first album, Blue Slide Park, Mac confessed to Billboard magazine he had been relying on the concoction lean following the heavy criticism of the album.
“I love lean; it’s great… I was not happy and I was on lean very heavy,” Miller says. “I was so fucked up all the time it was bad. My friends couldn’t even look at me the same. I was lost.” (Mac Miller, Billboard Magazine)
Perhaps most striking of all from Mac’s openness with his addiction are his lyrics. In 2018, Mac released the single, Self Care– “Somebody save me from myself, yeah / Tell them they can take that bullshit elsewhere / Self care, we gonna be good.” It gets more devastating with the 2015 track, Perfect Circle/God Speed, the lyrics of which are also referenced in the heading of this article: “They don’t want me to OD and have to talk to my mother / Tell her they could have done more to help me / And she’d be crying saying that she’d do anything / to have me back.”
Look, it’s not abnormal for musicians to vent about their struggles with mental health through their craft. Look at Twenty One Pilots, Demi Lovato, Blackbear; some of the world’s most prominent artists are famous solely because their lyrics are raw, rooted in pain and consequently, relatable. We feel the most when we listen to these types of songs, yet we rarely ever worry about the artist. Plenty of musicians write lyrics discussing suicide and depression, and what do we do with these songs? We add them to a dark playlist to save for when we’re sad, then move on.
As fans, perhaps it wouldn’t have made a difference if we were worried about Mac or not. We didn’t know him personally, so there’s nothing we could have done to reach out to him, to truly help him. And we shouldn’t jump to conclusions about his friends, either. We know people were there for him, we know his friends had his back. There is still so much about his death that we don’t know about.
Yet there’s been an outpour on social media in regards to checking on your friends–and that, perhaps, is the biggest piece of advice I can leave with you in ending this piece. You can be there for your friends and still not know about their struggling. You can think you know your best friend in and out, and still never truly know what they’re going through.
Check up on your friends. Listen to their problems. Listen to their thoughts. Ask them if they’re okay. Ask them if they’re sure when they say they’re fine. Ask them about their day.