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Mac Miller made it on the wings of a rap career, a craft he studied, and created his creative energy until his sudden death in September at the age of 26. His death was hard on the community of musicians he had worked for. In his teens, he traveled the world and made a home in Los Angeles in his 20s. Miller, who released his fifth album, Swim, In August it was planned to start a national tour this week. Instead, the band he'd just been rehearsing with, one of which musicians had said was jealous, supported many musicians Mac had partnered with and made friends with while holding a tribute concert. The show benefited the foundation that founded his family after his death. This means encouraging underserved children in his hometown to make art.
It was Halloween for this concert in Greek Hollywood because I wanted to write about Mac Miller's legacy. I'm pretty sure that in the end, it will not be the music he's made, but the potential and artistry of the musicians he knew, loved and supported.
I do not say that to reduce what he did and how people felt about his work. What will last the longest of Mac's time on Earth is what is less visible and harder to measure: one can neither quantify moral support nor predict what effect a person's trust will have, what one Artists with an open door will do what an audience will elicit from a creative mind.
For example, five years ago – that is, the summer off Macklemore, Kendrick Lamar "robbed" all those Grammys (summer) of the "Control" verse. Magna Carta Holy Grail, Nothing was the same and Perform the jewels – Mac Miller Watch movies with the sound off went up against Kanye West Yeezus and J. Cole's Born Sinner for sale in the first week. He lost this particular battle, but still sold more than 100,000 copies during this period, making it the tenth-highest opening week of a hip-hop album this year.
2013 was a strange transitional period with phenomenal albums that appeared every month and mediocre songs that dominated every form of Airwave. The majors put their weight around, while Soundcloud musicians quietly rewrote the playbook.
It felt like the gap between well-recorded music and popular music had become unbridgeable. Some people like it this way: they feel well in the minority as consumers. But staying small is not the big dream of every creator. The big dream is to become a colossus while you stay who you are. This is not without finesse.
That summer, Mac, who played in the big leagues, took Vince Staples and rapper Chance to the streets. At the time, Vince had released three mixtapes of which Mac had last produced. Chance had released two. Each of their 2013 tapes had performed well, especially Chance's Acid rapbut they had not gone on tour yet and did not have any company money behind them.
Mac introduced her to a singing audience, children with exponential reach and money they could spend before building national fan bases. People who paid much attention to hip-hop knew that they would. It was perfectly clear that Vince and Chance were incredibly talented (in various ways, hip-hop a very big tent) and focused. They had already found their votes and locked themselves in strong teams.
So it was not like Mac would watch her through her artistic childhood or anything nearby. But he surrounded himself with such skilful and intricate acts on this tour that it could not be guaranteed that they would one day achieve crossover sales that evangelized merch merchants who could not name three other contemporary rappers, or enthusiastic Twitter Followers are told and / or tapped.
Some people could not cope with the artistic competition that this bill set. Some people did not think that was fun. Some people would have tried to dispel some of the pressure to sell tickets. Some people would have liked more hooks or more fashion. Some people would have thought it would be smarter if the lineup was whiter.
Mac and his team booked the Space Migration Tour the way it did. These included appointments with Earl Sweatshirt and Action Bronson. And all four of these acts turned up on Wednesday night in L.A.
It was a bit cold, but the production had the feel of Summer Jam: After one act had left the stage, the opening strands of the song on the deck heralded the arrival of the next artist, the crowd who recorded the queues and was accordingly demonstrative step out. In the first half of the show, the acts did the song they did with Mac, then one or two of their own, then said a few words about him and walked away.
The crowd was played by Mac's home videos as a kid, or played fun or piano.
There were dissonant moments when Domo Genesis almost apologized between his song with Mac and his solo song. He said he wished it would not happen under these circumstances. The live stream of the concert brought Domo to a huge audience that he can not handle alone. even in death, Mac's audience was made available to someone else, and the transaction – the imbalance of the fandom that someone like Mac had enjoyed, unlike someone like Domo – was uncovered by Domo's discomfort. At least it was for me. The people around me, in rather expensive seats, definitely not the nosebleeds, clapped in the middle, just floating with them.
Earl came out and made "Guild" and "New Faces". Then he said his friend would be crazy if he left us sad and the DJ pressed the fader on "Hey Ma", which they had discussed together. Chance did his thing and was the only artist to mention the benefit-supported foundation, let alone bless it.
Vince talked about the man he called his best friend and was so emotional that he influenced a nasal character voice and kept himself safe by far. At the end of the night, however, when Mac's family came out with almost every performance, Vince held Mac's mother in his hand. She leaned on him. John Mayer came over to shake her hand, and Vince spent it for a second, but then he was right there. He put her back under his arm. It was the kind of physical support you will never need.
Action Bronson stormed onto the stage and challenged Alchemist, the producer of Mac and action "Red Dot Music", to step out of the wings and join him. In another lifetime, they together celebrated this song that had contributed to killing Easy Mac three years ago, the person Miller had occupied at the outbreak of 2011 Blue Slide Park Another white baby face, which is more popular outside of hip-hop than in it. "Red Dot Music" is more of a "real hip-hop" and atmospherically it is what applies to adults or at least to men: it's dry, stoic and hypnotic fatalistic. It does its job very well, Mac and action play in a buddy movie as the bad guys you became. The problem is that Mac is dead now because it died of drugs.
Action was less guarded than Vince's in his expression, and when he shouted over and over again, "It must be the drugs …" He shook his head to finish the song. It looked to me as if he had suddenly remembered why he was up there, as if suddenly feeling uncomfortable whirring what he was doing, and unsure if he was doing the right thing. He tried to cover it up by saying he was crazy, it was an emotional night.
The thing is, it was not. Not outside in the crowd.
The last half of the show were artists who did not have a song with Mac. They were and are too big for him. They knew him in real life, they said he had been their friend, but that gap between mainstream pop and more sophisticated music, though it has been a bit of a nagging lately, is still there.
The people around me seemed only too happy to throw off the conflicts brought to the surface by the lineup. When an act offered a song that seemed to us as if repercussions are nothing, the audience was torn too quickly. It was confusing, and the delirium of transition made me think that the reflective moments were only a thin layer above a deep well. A well of what I can not say, but the crowd felt justified in doing so. Travis Scott was not afraid to talk about the love that was truly committed to this whole company, no matter what was exchanged about it. But "sicko mode" to complete a tribute?
Juicy J, who materialized into "Bandz A Make Her Dance," blew up the roof, even though people around me like "What was that?" Rae Sremmurd got the call of the night when the DJ opened "No Type" out of nowhere. Ty Dolla Sign told us that Mac told him that "Blasé" was one of his favorite songs. That was his excuse to get his biggest hit. He said that was somehow questionable, but when he dived off the stage and ran through the pit, deep into the seats, past the point where he normally would go, the energy felt right.
Right after Mac's death, there was this outpouring of love and gratitude in the social media. Prominent people felt the need to publish public news about their relationships with him and the abrupt nature of his death. Friends of mine who do not pay as much attention to music as I have asked me if it really is, if these celebrities and musicians felt that way before, or if it was a situation in which the car is moving. I told them that I saw him for years behind the scenes of love, artists who worked constantly in his house, collaborations everywhere and except a few times when his fall from the car affected other people's schedule, no offense.
I think it was real. I think that in this day and age, when a public person reacts strongly enough to a private loss to make a spontaneous statement about it, they do it through a channel they control. And that will be the full extent of her expression to strangers outside the home.
None of the deeds wanted to talk to a reporter overnight. They had already typed their grief; Why should they go over it again and try to find words approved by the FCC that are short yet evocative, the tension in their throats blown and what confusion or guilt or horror and any shame or insecurity about those feelings for always having revealed and preserved your memory or the godforsaken internet?
But the weeks that had passed between these elegiac posts and last Wednesday night had allowed Mac's friends to mourn a little in peace. When he accepted this performance and performed in a moment that required home-style etiquette, especially because Mac's mother was there, it meant that they were being pushed back into a public role and that this was a ban.
From my seat, it looked like there were fleeting moments when Mac's friends did not know what their responsibilities were. Especially when ScHoolboy Q apologized to us that he did not have the words now, I wondered if he feared he could have done something to prevent his friend's death. After my podcast Check microphoneHaving re-released an interview with Mac in 2015 after his death, we received comments from listeners who worried me; I wondered what words each of us should use when talking to people who may be in dangerous condition. What can you give to a complete stranger, much less tens of thousands of strangers who have their own unknowable reaction to the tragedy? What if you say the wrong thing?
Almost all on stage gave the Mac the opportunity it had claimed and supported turned into performance. After that some people said we should come to our boy. Some people said, take care of your friends. Some people spoke directly to him. Chance looked up and said, "Hey Mac, is not that cool?"
Parts of it were cool. It is defiant and constructive to squeeze everything, especially shoulder to shoulder with people you love. Forgetting a second is relief.
There were so many different types of music performed that evening. So many different ways to demonstrate. It was like a mini-festival in this trippy, all-clashing way, washing away those spurious barriers between indie and major and niche and mainstream and melodic and intoxicating and euphoric and inward and eternal and desperately sad.
I think Mac's life's work was the community of musicians who responded to a request to play a few songs one night for a good cause: "For Mac and his family, sure, that's no problem." These musicians are very different, and this also applies to how each of them responds to the call of a trapped audience to find out what is going on in that situation. The spectators were not sure what to do with this distant land, but they were still sad and the musicians were not interested in doing their trauma. That nothing was determined that the night in the crowd was never pushed to poverty, does not mean that something went wrong.
Who knows? It's possible that Mac's circle only had to gather in this particular way. It is possible that part of their effort in his name was subtly significant or instructive for the sixteen-year-olds in my department who drove for the show from North Dakota. With all the different micro-genres and approaches shown that night, there were some ways to mourn. What felt destabilizing was going through them: serious, loving, optimistic and factual. Relationships that took the form of close friendships, business partnerships or mutual respect. We've heard songs, how to drink his problems away and fall in love again and about gravity.
And then we just left. I have not seen a drama; The Lyft lot was patient. The conversation around me as we walked down the street was about wanting more: more Travis; I still can not believe he is dead. Is it too much to ask for an Ariana performance? Undoubtedly there will be unpublished Mac Miller music, but once it has been packaged and delivered, there will be none left.
However, Mac's friends, colleagues and competitors will continue to grow. And more people will hear what they are doing because of the choices made by Mac. That's enough. Everyone could feel reassured knowing that they did.