On Jan. 17, a new album by rapper Mac Miller was released — over a year after his unexpected death.
Let’s take a look at how “Circles” came about and what it means to those who loved the artist.
Born Malcolm McCormick, Mac Miller grew up in the Pittsburgh-area and created mixtapes and tracks throughout his teen years. In 2011, his hometown-themed album “Blue Slide Park” shot up the charts. He continued to release records throughout his fame, including his album “Swimming” in 2018. Later that year, Mac died due to an accidental drug overdose at the age of 26.
Before his death, Mac was already working with producer Jon Brion on his follow up album. This record, eventually labeled “Circles,” would be seen as a sister record to the former.
“Two different styles, complimenting each other, completing a circle – Swimming in Circles was the concept,” Mac’s family explained in an Instagram post.
Jon continued to finish the album after the artist’s untimely death, working off of ideas the two shared before he passed. With the family’s blessing, the new and final album was released posthumously at the beginning of 2020.
The Miller family played a vital role in the release of the album. Taking over the Instagram handle @92tillinfinity, they announced the release of the single “Good News,” the album release and exclusive merchandise for the fans. In addition, they announced three listening and multimedia exhibits located in Los Angeles, New York City and Pittsburgh, titled “CIRCLES: TIL INFINITY.” All of the proceeds from sales went to the Mac Miller Fund with The Pittsburgh Foundation, a charity committed to arts and community-building in underprivileged communities. The organization also supports other groups that tackle substance abuse in the music industry.
Mac’s family shared this message among many others:
“Thank you to all the fans who’ve supported him unconditionally through the years…We hope you take the time to listen. The look on his face when everyone was listening said it all.”
The album’s release came with an immense reaction from fans. Although it is a heartbreaking situation, this album is one of Mac’s most successful. The early-released single “Good News” made Billboard’s Top 10 R&B/Hip Hop Songs chart, with over 46 million streams on Spotify. The listening exhibits featured artwork and other creations from fans that commemorated Mac’s memory. Reactions were positive, with many fans explaining how much they missed the musician, yet cherished the opportunity to have this final piece from him.
This album is more than a collection of songs, it is a collaboration of his producer, his family and his fans, all committed to honoring his legacy. It is a piece that brings people together and grounds them. It is a final farewell to a great artist and an endless celebration of his life.
At the “CIRCLES: TIL INFINITY” pop up exhibits, the welcome statement said:
Understanding that, like all things, we are simultaneously temporal and infinite, driven together by our collective humanity.
You can listen to “Circles,” along with the rest of Mac Miller’s discography, on Spotify, Apple Music and other streaming platforms.