Photo courtesy of www.pitchfork.com
The final album of Mac Miller foreshadows the death of a legend
December 8, 2018
At the time of its release, Swimming was not expected to be Pittsburgh rapper Mac Miller’s final album, but on September 7th, 2018, Miller unfortunately passed away in his home of a supposed drug overdose less than a month after its release.
Swimming itself is a melancholy, artfully composed, hip hop album with influences from genres like jazz, funk, and R&B. The production across this album is immaculate, with slightly trap influenced beats produced by J. Cole, groovy signature bass lines by Thundercat, and skillful guitar by John Mayer. Some of the best instrumentals across this project include “What’s The Use?”, “Self Care”, “Ladders”, and “Small Worlds”. Occasionally, the instrumentation does fall into a bit of a gimmick, and becomes a bit hollow, on songs like “Dunno” and “Perfecto”, but over all Swimming holds a deep appreciation for jazz and somber melody.
Mac’s singing may be a turn off to some, as it sounds fairly untrained and moaning, but it is also undeniably emotionally charged. His repeated motif of “Oblivion yeah yeah” on the song “Self Care” is chillingly poignant, and his singing is a large part of what creates this. Miller’s rapping across the album is consistently on point. His changing flows and his word play is tastefully subtle. Topically, this album is generally full of sadness and regret, but pieces of hope crack through the surface with bars like, “Somehow we gotta find a way no matter how many miles it takes.” Another consistent lyrical theme is small allusions to Miller’s death, which become significantly more hard hitting after his untimely passing away. On “Small Worlds” he says, “Tomorrow might be right around the corner but I swear it’s gonna be worth it if I make it babe.”
Tragically, Mac will never be able to release another album, but this piece and much of his others will always hold a place in the hearts of many. From classics like 2010’s “Nikes On My Feet” to Swimming, Mac Miller’s contributions to music and art will never be forgotten.
Rest In Peace Mac Miller 1992-2018