To some, he was EZ Mac with the “cheesy raps,” and to others he was Larry Fisherman, Delusional Thomas, Larry Lovestein, Mac Miller, or Malcolm James McCormick – it depended on his mood or the genre of music.
Regardless of his pseudonymous identity of the day, Mac Miller, born Malcolm James McCormick, inspired those around him. Whether it was a fan listening to K.I.D.S halfway around the world or his family at home in Pittsburgh, those who knew him or knew of him were consistently uplifted by his music, thoughts, and personality.
Miller’s first studio album, Blue Slide Park, was a massive success. It was the first independent debut album to top the Billboard 200 in sixteen years. From there, Miller released four more studio albums, launched his own record label, had a reality TV show on MTV2, acted alongside Snoop Dogg in a Scary Movie V, was featured in the 2011 XXL Magazine “Freshman Class,” and much more.
Remembered by his family as a “bright light in this world for his family, friends, and fans,” Miller inspired us all and will be missed as if he were our family too. To echo the sentiments of many social media users, it felt like we all knew him personally.
To commemorate his natural talent, powerful music, and influential lyrics, we have compiled (some of) his greatest songs of all time.
Title: Best Day Ever
Favorite quote: “No matter where life takes me, find me with a smile. Pursuit to be happy, only laughing like a child. I never thought life would be this sweet; it got me cheesin’ from cheek to cheek.”
Why we chose this song: This was a Mac Miller staple song. It has his classic old sound, iconic word play, and radiating, positive lyrics that leave an impact on the listener. The music video also has footage of Mac rapping when he was a toddler.
Title: Smile Back
Favorite quote: “Imma do my thing until the day the reaper come for me. You can keep on grillin’, Imma smile back.”
Why we chose this song: To remember Mac Miller properly is to remember his resilient, fearless personality. The hook of this song is a bit difficult to listen to right after his death, but there is so much truth to it. Mac stayed true to himself until his final days.
Title: Objects In The Mirror (Space Migration Sessions version)
Favorite quote: “Go through the worst to reach the ecstasy when your imagination’s on pretend.”
Why we chose this song: This song appears to be a love song about a girl. However, this song is about Mac’s relationships with drugs/addiction, which he revealed in a 2013 Billboard interview. Not only was this song painful at the time after Mac explained its paralleled meaning, but each line now is haunting considering his recent overdose. The Space Migration Sessions version of Objects In The Mirror was selected here because it showcased Mac’s versatile talent and a more raw performance of the song than on the album.
Title: Senior Skip Day
Favorite quote: “Enjoy the best things in your life ‘cause you ain’t going to live it twice. They say you waste time asleep, but I’m just tryin’ to dream.”
Why we chose this song: Senior Skip Day is one of the “most Mac Miller” songs ever produced, arguably. This is his trademark sound from his earlier work. Mac raps over an upbeat track about a fun skip day from high school in this song from K.I.D.S. Many of his famous lyrics/quotes came from this song.
Title: First Day Of My Life
Favorite quote: The whole song. It’s a cover, and Mac executes it beautifully.
Why we chose this song: Posted on his SoundCloud account years ago, this Bright Eyes cover exemplifies Mac’s non-rap musical talent (he taught himself guitar!). Sometimes at his concerts, he would perform others’ indie or rock songs, but this one was posted in its entirety and one of his best covers.
Title: Self Care
Favorite quote: “I got all the time in the world, so for now I’m just chilling. Plus, I know it’s a beautiful feeling in oblivion, yeah.”
Why we chose this song: From his most recent album, Swimming, this song addresses his DUI and the public perception of the incident. The music video is also incredible, but feels almost too timely.
Title: Donald Trump
Favorite quote: “We gon’ take over the world while these haters gettin’ mad.”
Why we chose this song: Mac Miller took over the music world, and haters indeed got mad. Similar to his sentiments in Smile Back, he didn’t care if people liked him or not. Donald Trump, which interestingly samples Sufjan Steven’s Vesuvius, stirred up issues with the real Donald Trump when the song was certified “platinum” in 2013. The song is a classic, but so are Trump’s 2013 angry Tweets to “Little @MacMiller” boasting that he had “more hair” than Miller.
Title: Party On Fifth Ave
Favorite quote: “My rhyme talent is why my album is fly. Your favorite record, you gon’ put it aside.”
Why we chose this song: This was one of the first Mac Miller songs I heard. I saw the video on an MTV music video program of artists to watch. I heard the hook once, and I was hooked. I was a “Machead” from that point on. Party On Fifth Ave is also one of Mac’s best videos because it showed off his comedic side while he raps about some epic party in Pittsburgh.
Favorite quote: “Walking on a tightrope, underneath a microscope.”
Why we chose this song: Avian is a relatively underrated song from Watching Movies With The Sound Off. It’s overall very well-written and has this calming, warm sound to it. This is one of the songs that marked Mac’s transition to a new sound from Blue Slide Park to Watching Movies With The Sound Off.
Favorite quote: “Lost inside my mind it’s a prison. Homie, leave me be.”
Why we chose this song: The lyrics are fantastic. The video is also worth a watch because it encapsulates a certain era of Mac Miller: before his sidekick dog, Ralphie, was kidnapped, and when his friend, Jimmy Murton, was just coming out with his “Friend of a Rapper” clothing line.
Favorite quote: “Live a dream, that’s so cliché, but I can’t tell you what it means to me.”
Why we chose this song: It’s both soothing and calming. It’s a different vibe than most of his songs, but still retains a “Mac Miller sound.”
Title: Missed Calls
Favorite quote: “Kept breakin’ promises you said you’d keep, so you can leave a message at the beep.”
Why we chose this song: This is one of the best break up songs of its time. Missed Calls tells a story of a relationship falling apart through the narrator’s internal thoughts and dialogue between the couple. It presents the two sides of the broken relationship, but the listener can identify with both people by the close of the song.
Title: Live Free
Favorite quote: “They gonna try to bring you down, hating is what they do. But you gotta keep a smile, stay up on your move, live free, live free, live free, live free.”
Why we chose this song: A song from 2009, Live Free is another Mac Miller staple. An upbeat sound, inspirational lyrics, and a comedic “public service announcement from the kid Mac Miller” at the end, this song is a feel-good song and makes the listener feel invincible. Mac Miller made his fans stronger and more accepting of being different, and it was through songs like Live Free.
Title: Nikes On My Feet
Favorite quote: “Lace ‘em up, lace ‘em up, lace ‘em up, lace ‘em. Blue suede shoes stay crispy like bacon.”
Why we chose this song: This list would not be complete without this song.