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Malcolm McCormick and the Codeine Catastrophe

Updated on May 3, 2022

In late 2011, a fresh face in the rap game released his first album, Blue Slide Park; an album that quickly peaked at number 1 on the US Billboard chart. Songs like Missed Calls, Smile Back, Frick Park Market, and many others were changing the face of hip hop all across the country. Displaying a carefree attitude and a contagious smile, Mac was someone you could easily feel connected to; his mellow, easy listening beats were certainly no exception. Miller was featured in XXL Magazine's freshman class - quite an honor for someone at the tender age of 19. It is possible, however, that the Pittsburgh rapper felt his time was long overdue; he had been rapping since the age of 14. The musician's hopes, dreams, and hard work were finally starting to pay off, something that many people struggle to adjust to; and Miller's case proved to be no different at first.

Malcolm said in an interview with Complex magazine that his addiction to lean - a mixture of codeine and promethazine, began in 2012 when he was on tour for his latest mixtape Macadelic. He told Billboard in an interview that "A lot of the reviews were more on me as a person," - "To be honest, that was even worse. You’re 19, you’re so excited to put out your first album, you put it out, and no one has any respect for you or for what you did." As Mac dealt with the critics that were dissolving what emotion he still had left, his occasional social use of the purple liquid turned into something more - a heavy addiction. Miller gained somewhere around 40 pounds during his experimentation with the prescription drug, and his closest friends were noticing how his life had taken a turn for the worst. In talks with Complex, Mac Miller's childhood friend Jimmy - his friend since the age of 6, said at the time of Miller's addiction, "I saw him in that mentality I remember being in - you’re getting fucked up because you feel like you need to. You’re trying to get away from everything. For how much he was drinking, it was unbelievable that he stopped, it's one of the most impressive things he's done."

In June of 2013, the album Watching Movies With The Sound Off was released, pushing Mac Miller's career to a new level; and showing just how trapped in his own mind he was. One of the more notable songs from the Album is REMember. The first three letters are capitalized, in memory of Mac's best friend, Reuben Eli Mitrani, who passed away at the age of 20. The tone of Miller's new album is noticeably darker, almost a musical notepad for the thoughts that he couldn't get out of his head. The lyrics and beats that are featured on his latest album sound as if they're coming from someone who is considerably in more of a depressed state than they were before - which is noticeable when you compare Blue Slide Park and WMWTSO. With all of the criticism and pain that had started plaguing Mac the previous year, A codeine addiction may have been less than how someone else in his position would have contained the situation. In the summer of 2014 Mac claims in an interview with that he hit his lowest point. He says that with the help of his friend Rick Rubin, he got clean. Things began to look up when the Pittsburgh native started his own record company - he called it REMember music in honor of his late friend.


After almost 2 years and a mixtape since his last album was released, Mac is on the verge of releasing a project that he says on twitter "has a year and a half" of his life's work put into it. GO:OD AM is scheduled to be released on September 18th, and that's not the only thing Malcolm has to be excited about. Miller has been using Twitter non-stop to promote his new work, and has gotten considerable attention. Now mostly drug free and back in the game, the new album is sure to be a piece of lyrical art; a trait that Mac has never failed to provide to his fans.

In the interview with Grantland, Miller says one of the encounters that made him change his life was an eye-opening experience that left him without a dry eye. “I had this assistant and part of what he did was wipe the coke - and sometimes blood - off my rolled-up bills. And I had this moment when I looked at my phone and saw that I had him [listed] in there as ‘Intern.’ I asked him what he had me in his phone as. He said ‘My hero.’ “I lost it. I couldn’t stop crying. And that’s when it hit me that, even then, I could still have a positive impact on some people’s lives.” In the same interview Mac says that he's not completely clean; but he has come extreme lengths from where he was before. The Pittsburgh native now lives in New York with his long time girlfriend, Nomi Leasure.

Mac Miller is a hero to some, and a musical escape to many. From Blue Slide Park, to Macadelic, to Watching Movies With The Sound Off, to Faces, and now GO:OD AM - he's been helping people get lost in the world of deep, intellectual rap for almost 5 years now. Hopefully he has no intention whatsoever of stopping there. Fans all over the world are patiently awaiting the release of Miller's album on the 18th, and there is almost no doubt that he will deliver the genius flows and masterfully constructed beats that have made him millions; and given millions of people a new perspective on music. Thank you Malcolm McCormick, thank you Mac Miller, and thank you Larry Fisherman.


Here is a link to stream Mac's new album GO:OD AM, which he will be releasing September 18th:


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