Rapper Mac Miller dies at 26

Students express sadness over rapper's death, reflect on 2016 Spring Fest


Rapper Mac Miller was found dead on Friday afternoon after a suspected overdose, as first reported by TMZ.

Reports of Miller’s death came Friday afternoon, as fans and peers quickly took to social media to express their grief.

The Pittsburgh rapper rose to prominence with 2011’s 'Blue Slide Park,' forging a massive following with the release of five studio albums. Miller’s final release, “Swimming,” which came out on Aug. 3, met positive reviews from critics and debuted at number three on the Billboard 200.

Miller performed at UB’s Spring Fest in 2016 alongside Icona Pop, Coleman Hell and The Chainsmokers. The fest was a packed event, with roughly 6,500 students attending and 500 being denied entrance due to overcapacity in Alumni Arena. Students, many of whom attended the 2016 Spring Fest featuring Miller, expressed their sentiments toward the famed rapper.

Daniel Cox, a junior exercise science major, attended the fest and shared sentiments of sorrow.

“I’ve always been a huge fan of Mac Miller ever since I heard “Blue Slide Park” and I was fortunate enough to see him at Spring Fest two years ago,” Cox said.

Cox also discussed the issue of addiction as an overarching lesson to take from Miller’s death.

“A part of me still hasn’t come to grips with it,” Cox said. “I think that goes to show the amplitude of America’s drug epidemic and that what we’re doing to combat the issue isn’t enough.”

Other students remembered Miller’s artistry and musical impact on their everyday lives.

Joe Ramos, a masters student in the Athletic Training program, appreciated Miller's artistry.

“One thing I appreciate most is an artist who experiments and develops their sound throughout their career,” Ramos said. “[I’m] glad I got to experience him live and it was better than I could have imagined.”

Ramos also commented on Miller’s struggles, highlighting the rapper's battle with substance abuse and his mental state preceding his death.

“Despite the pain he was suffering [from], it seemed like he was on the right path,” Ramos said. “This just proves that the side effects of substance abuse and mental illness are bigger than fame and fortune.”

Thomas Wightman, a senior international trade major, echoed the sentiments of his peers.
“Mac Miller was truly one of the first rappers of our generation that captivated a fan base through projecting his soul into beats and demeanor,” Wightman said. “We were all on the ride of life with him and he has a lot more supporters than people realize, and his lyrics were truthful and lyrically upbeat which made it an easy decision to implement into our everyday soundtracks.”

Artists like G-Eazy, Drake and Childish Gambino dedicated their concerts to Miller following the rapper's death, while others like J. Cole also took to Twitter to voice their sorrows.

Fellow Spring Fest performers, The Chainsmokers, expressed their condolences on Twitter.

“Never had the chance to meet Mac Miller but was a huge fan of his music,” a member of the band wrote on Twitter. “Our prayers go out to his family and friends. And for those struggling with addiction or know someone who is, please seek help. You are not alone, these things don’t just get better.”

Brian Evans is the senior arts editor and can be reached at Brian.Evans@ubspectrum.com and on Twitter @BrianEvansSpec