The death of Mac Miller on September 7, 2018 shook the hip-hop world to its core. Due to an accidental dose of fentanyl-laced cocaine and a series of unfortunate events, Miller succumbed tragically at the age of 26.
Just a while ago, his first posthumous release surfaced on the Internet. The song is titled “Benji the Dog” and was recorded in 2015 with a sample from Valerie Simpson’s 1972 song, “Benjie.”
This song is certainly bittersweet for hip-hop enthusiasts. But rather than focus on the despair that came along with Miller’s passing, it is important to realize all that he brought to the world. Not just a force in hip-hop, he was a person who empowered everyone who ever came in contact with him. Never one to make others feel sorry for him, Miller constantly lifted the spirit of his counterparts through humor and collaborative energy.
“Benji the Dog” is a familiar song for those in touch with the discography of Mac Miller. It was originally slated to be on the GO:OD A.M. album with the title of, “That’s Life.” On this first posthumous track, just as he always did so well, he is able to intertwine struggle and triumph brilliantly. On a song that sounds rather light and playful, he deals with heavy ideas and situations that stretch far beyond the surface level. It is heartbreaking to hear the dark energy that surrounds this track. It was apparent that drugs could not entirely drown out his pain and emptiness.
One of a Kind: Mac Miller
Throughout his career Miller was curious, kind and highly revered. He showcased progression and introspection as he climbed the ranks of hip-hop lore and consistently reinvented himself through sonic and thematic experimentation.
Since his demise, there have been a few glimpses of some of Mac Miller’s musical contributions. Another single to hit the airwaves since his passing is the record, “Time.” The song features Kali Uchis and sends the listener into a free space realm to explore the minds of these individuals. Uchis’ dreamy vocals let the audience enter a different type of continuum. Mac faces his inner demons head on within the song and addresses isolation issues. It is a very emotionally gripping record and one where Mac is raw, unguarded and open to vulnerability regarding his personal relationship issues, substance abuse and mental health burdens.
What is astounding about Miller is the way he was able to make others feel so entirely amazing. Whether it be direct contact through knowing him or through any of the several mediums he expressed himself, he was unafraid to bare his entire soul for the world to hear and relate to. Miller’s emotional journey and honesty throughout his lifetime speaks volumes to the type of person he was. Mac never burdened others with his problems as people always responded positively whenever he demonstrated his talent.
Miller’s piano renditions of Billy Preston’s, “Nothing from Nothing” and “Dunno” at Spotify Studios in NYC became available online a few months ago. He also was featured in Alchemist’s “Bread EP Short Film” for a stint. He received a posthumous 2019 Grammy nomination for his album, “Swimming,” and there is a project exclusively recorded with Madlib that will hit the airwaves one of these days. Until then, long live the one who always kicked incredibly dope shit, Malcolm McCormick.