A picture of Mac Miller, who suddenly died in September, projected at the back of the stage at the Greek…
Scott Dudelson / Getty Images
Mac Miller made it out of Pittsburgh on the wings of a rap career, a craft he studied and spent his creative energies until suddenly he died in September at age 26. His death landed hard with the musical society he dended when he toured the world under his teens and made a home in Los Angeles in his 20’s. Miller, who launched his fifth album, Swimming, in August, had planned to launch a national tour this week. Instead, the band he had repeated with, as other musicians had said they were jealous of, many musicians baked Mac had collaborated and befriended when they were in a tribute concert. The performance favored the reason that his family began after his death, which means encouraging underserved children in their hometown to create art.
I went to the concert at Halloween, in Greek in Hollywood, because I wanted to write about Mac Miller’s legacy, which I’m pretty sure is not in the end to become the music he did, but instead realized and realized the realized the potential and art of the musicians.
I do not say so to reduce what he did and how people felt about their work. What comes out of Mac’s time on earth is the things that are less visible, a bit trickier to measure. You can not quantify moral support or anticipate the effect that increases someone’s confidence, what artist will do with an open door, what an audience will develop from a creative mind.
For example, five years ago – that is, the summer before Macklemore “robbed” (his words) Kendrick Lamar of all the Grammys, the summer of “Control Magna Carta Holy Grail Nothing was the same and Running the Jewels – Mac Miller’s Watching movies with the sound of went up against Kanye West Yeezus ] and J. Cole s Born Sinner for the first week’s sale. He lost the special battle, but he still sold more than 100,000 copies during the seven-day period, making it the 10th highest opening week of some hip-hop albums that year.
2013 was a weird transition time, with phenomenal albums appearing every month and mediocre songs dominating all forms of airwave. The chiefs threw their weight while passing on the Soundcloud musicians redirecting the rewriting of the playbook.  It seemed that the gap between well-motivated music and popular music became insurmountable. Some people like it so: it makes them feel good as a consumer to be in the minority. But being small is not a big dream for any creator; The big dream is to grow into a colossus while living who you are. It does not happen without finesse.
That summer, in this climate, Macs played in the big leagues Vince Staples and the Chance Rapper on his way with him. By that time, Vince had released three mixtapes, the latest that Mac had produced. Chance had posted two. Each of its 2013 bands had worked well, especially Chance’s Acid Rap but they had not been touring and they did not have the companies money behind them yet.
Mac put them in front of a vocal audience, children with exponential reach and money to spend before they had built national fanbases. People who paid a lot of attention to hip hop knew they should. It was quite clear that Vince and Chance were insanely talented (in different ways, hip hop was a very big tent) and focused. They had already found their voices and locked in with strong teams.
So it was not like Mac hardened them through its artistic infant or something close to it. But he surrounded himself on that tour of documents that were so nice and complex and unambiguous that it was not guaranteed that they would one day serve crossover sales, evangelize merch athletes who could not name three other contemporary rappers or raped Twitter consequences, eager to hear and / or klowned.
Some people would not be able to handle the artistic competition that the bill was drafted. Some people would not think it was fun. Some people would have tried to spread some of the pressure to sell tickets. Some people would have liked to have more hooks or more fashionable. Some people would have thought it would be smarter if the setup was whiter.
But Mac and his team booked the Space Migration Tour as they did, which also included dates with Earl Sweatshirt and Action Bronson. And all four of these actions came on Wednesday night in LA
It was quite cold but the production had the Summer Jam feeling: After an act had left the scene, the opening tribes opened the tire song the next artist’s arrival, the audience picked up the clues and and appropriately demonstrating as he or she walks out. In the front half of the show, the songs made the song they had done with the Mac, then one or two of their own, then said a few words about him and went away.
The crowd was all revealed by Mac’s home movies like a little child or fun or playing a piano.
There were dissonant moments, like when Domo Genesis almost asked for his song with the Mac and his solo song. He said he wanted it not to happen under these circumstances. The live stream of the concert was to put Domo in front of a large audience that he can not control himself; Even in death, the Mac audience was available to anyone else, and the transaction – the imbalance of fandom who seemed to enjoy someone like Mac, in contrast to someone like Domo – was gifted by Domo’s discomfort. It was at least for me. The people around me, in quite expensive places, definitely not nose blood, hit dab in the middle, just floated along.
Earl came out and made “Guild” and “New Faces” and then he said his friend would be angry if he let us leave sad and the DJ drove the father to “Hey Ma” whom they had covered together. Chance did its thing and was the only artist to mention, much less blessed, the reason supported by the benefit.
Vince talked about the man he called his best friend, and was emotionally enough to hit a nasal character voice, which was sure of distance. But at the end of the night, when Mac’s family came out with almost all the actions that had taken, Vince Mac’s mother held. She leaned on him. John Mayer came over to shake his hand and Vince left her for a second, but then he was just there. He hid his back under his arm. It was the kind of physical support you ask that you never need.
Remedy Bronson barreled on stage and then chopped Alchemist, Mac’s producer and Action’s “Red Dot Music” to get out of the wings and go with him. During another lifetime, they collapsed with the song, which three years ago worked to kill by Easy Mac, the person occupied by Miller when he broke out, 2011 Blue Slide Park which marked him yet another white baby room with more appeal outside of hip-hop than in it. “Red Dot Music” is more “real hip-hop”, and atmospherically it’s what’s suitable for adults or at least masculine: it’s angry, stoic and hypnotic fatalistic. It does its job very well, Mac and Action, starring in a compilation movie that the bad guys you mess up. The problem is, with Mac now dead from drugs, engaging in word games with the sentence seemed stupid.
Action was less guarded than Vince in his expression, and as he chanted: “It must be the drugs …” over and over to close the song, he started shaking his head. It seemed that he suddenly remembered why he was up there, as if he suddenly felt uncomfortable as crooning, unsure if he did the right thing. He tried to cover it up by saying that he was in ***** that it was an emotional night.
The thing is, it was not. Not in the audience.
The rear half of the show was artists who did not have a song with Mac. They are too big for him. They actually knew him, they said he had been their friend, but the gap between mainstream pop and more challenging music, even if it feels more bridgeable lately, is still there.
The people around me seemed too happy to throw away the conflicts that existed on the surface of the lineup; When an act offered a song that made it possible for us to pretend that consequences are not something, the crowd went out of the way to tear up in the club too fast. It was disorienting, and the transition in the transition made me think that the reflective moments were just a thin layer over a deep well. A well on what I can not say, but the audience felt entitled to it. Travis Scott was not afraid to talk about love, who really underwent this whole company, no matter what is exchanged on top of it. But “Sicko Mode” to end a tribute?
Juicy J materializes to bang “Bandz A Make Her Dance” blew the ceiling, but after leaving the people around me was like “what was it?” Rae Sremmurd got the night’s call when DJ threw on “No Type” from nowhere. For Dolla Sign, Mac told him that “Blasé” was one of his favorite songs, so it was his excuse to release his biggest hit. He said it was quite doubtful, but when he got off stage and ran through the pit, deep into the seats, far past where he usually went, the energy felt right.
Soon after Mac, there was this exhaustion of love and gratitude on social media. Future people felt the need to send public messages regarding their relationships with him and his sudden nature. My friends who do not pay as much attention to music as I asked if it was true if these celebrities and musicians knew this way earlier or if it was a bandwagon situation. I told them I saw love for him behind the scenes for years, artists who worked in his house all the time, collaborating everywhere and other than a couple of times when his falling from the wagon hit other people’s schedules, no dirt.
So I think it was true. I believe in this time and if a public person reacts strongly that a private loss should spontaneously make a statement about it, they will do it via a channel they control. And it will be the full extent of their expression on the issue of strangers out of the house.
None of the documents would talk to a reporter at night. They had already written their sorrows; why would they go through it again and try to find FCC-approved words that are short-lived but moody, burn the tension in the throat to bands and any confusion or guilt or fear and shame or insecurity that those feelings are revealed and preserved forever in your memory or on the merciless Internet?
But the weeks that passed between the elegant posts and last Wednesday night had allowed Mac’s friends to take care of themselves too little. Accept this gig that takes place for a moment that required a home-tagging label, especially because Mac’s mother was right there, meant that they were shaken back to a general role, and this had prescriptions on it.
From my place, it seemed as if there were fleeting moments where Mac’s friends did not know what their responsibilities were here. Especially when ScHoolboy Q wondered not to have the words right now, I wondered if he feared there was something he could have done to prevent his friend’s death. After my podcast, Microphone Control mentioned a 2015 interview with Mac just after his death, we received comments from listeners who worried me; I wondered what words any of us should use when talking to people who might be in a dangerous state. What can you give to a total stranger, many less tens of thousands of strangers, with his own unfair reaction to the tragedy? What if you say the wrong thing?
Almost everyone on the stage credited the Mac with opportunities they had used and supported their metabolism in performance. Then some people said we came up for our boy. Some people said to take care of your friends. Some people spoke directly to him. Chance looked up and said, “Hi Mac. Is not it awesome?”
Parts of it were cool. Dancing through it, everything, especially shoulder to shoulder with people you love, is tiring and constructive. Forgetting for a second is relief.
There were so many different types of music performed that night. So many different ways to perform are demonstrated. It was like a mini-festival in the trippy, all-meeting-on-level plan kind of way, the fake barriers between indie and major and niche and mainstream and melodic and heady and euphoric and internally and forever and desperately sadly spoiled.
I think Mac’s life work was a group of musicians who responded to a request to play a couple of songs one night, for a good thing, “For Mac and his family? Sure, that’s no problem.” The musicians are very different from each other, and it extends to how each one responds to a captive audience’s call to know what is good in this situation. The audience was not sure what to do with this gone but still personal sorrow and the musicians were not interested in performing their trauma. That none of this was resolved, that the night never coincided with equalization in the crowd does not mean something went wrong.
Who knows? It is possible that the Mac’s circle itself needed to be collected in this particular way. And it is possible that some of their efforts on his behalf were subtly meaningful or instructive to say the six 20-year-olds in my part who drove in for the show from North Dakota. Among all the different microgenres and approaches on the display that night was a handful of ways to mourn. What felt destabilizing cycled through them: serious, loving, optimistic, fact. Relationships that took the form of close friendship, business partnership or mutual respect. We listened to songs about drinking your problems and falling in love again and about gravity.
And then we just left. I did not witness any drama; The lifting party was patient. The conversation about me as we drove down the road was about wanting more: more Travis; I still can not believe he’s dead Is there too much to ask for an Ariana look? There is no doubt that Mac Miller music is not released, but after it has been packed and delivered and affixed, it will no longer be.
Mac’s friends and comrades and competitors will continue to grow. And more people will hear what they are doing because of the choices that Mac has made. It is enough. Someone could easily rest and know they did.