The Athens rap community remembers Mac Miller for his style and business strategy, as the rapper died last week in Los Angeles from an apparent drug overdose.
“I was surprised at how many people were so hurt by Mac Miller’s death,” said Athens-based rapper Will Rittmeyer, whose stage name is Witt The Rapper. “So many people opened up about it.”
Rittmeyer said that his favorite part about Miller was his vibe, and that he was an inspiration to white rappers.
“For a lot of white rappers, he showed that you can have sauce,” Rittmeyer said. “Mac Miller was just cool.”
Miller’s music has soared in popularity following his death, as his album ‘Swimming’ is now the No. 1 album on Apple Music.
“It’s kind of sad too that his music is getting more attention now that he died,” Rittmeyer said.
Matt Yarbrough, a sophomore student at Georgia whose brother is a rapper, said that Miller impacted his brother’s decisions in the industry. Yarbrough said that Miller is the reason his brother is an independent artist, as he didn’t accept an offer from a record label.
“Mac Miller inspired him to stay independent and keep working on his own label,” Yarbrough said.
As Miller passed away from a suspected overdose, Rittmeyer said that drug use is common in the rap community.
“There definitely is substance abuse (in rap), and you can see it a lot in the lyrics,” Rittmeyer said. “There probably is a problem in Athens with drugs and stuff like that (in the rap community), but that’s how it’s been everywhere.”
For help with substance and alcohol abuse, you can find information and resources on the University of Georgia’s Health Center’s website. The Fontaine Center at the Health Center offers alcohol and drug prevention, early intervention and recovery support.
By Ross Crowell