On Wednesday night, the Mac Miller Circles Fund hosted a tribute concert in the late rapper’s memory. It was a star-studded event — Mac was a near universally beloved figure in hip-hop — featuring artists like SZA, Chance The Rapper, Rae Sremmurd and Travis Scott. It also featured video interstitials, showing unguarded moments with Mac, explanations for why he created his art and touching testimonials from a wide range of celebrities and collaborators he’d worked with. The most affecting moment of the show, though, came with the unveiling of an unreleased Mac Miller song.
Just because everyone could use some Mac Miller singing and playing the piano in their life..❤️ pic.twitter.com/UEMTVSw1F8
— ryan (@RyanTheKing17) November 1, 2018
Shot on what appears to be a smartphone camera by Miller himself, the video is a simple clip of him at the piano, singing a song. It sounds nothing like a typical Mac Miller track, with the untitled song a straightforward, earnest piece of personal songwriting more in line with Elton John at his most introspective (and stripped down) than anything Miller had produced in the past.
While sonically different than past releases, it bears hallmarks of a Mac Miller song: a deft command of melody, sharp, emotionally open lyricism and Miller’s common theme of the individual’s place in the world (“Once a day I rise / Once a day I fall asleep with you / Once a day I try, but I can’t find a single word,” goes the chorus).
Much has been written about how Mac, at the end of his life, appeared to still be at the beginning of his artistic journey despite having over 10 projects to his name. With every album, he sharpened his talents, often abandoning sounds that had won him fans in favor of more daring, complex or interesting ones. No one knows where his next steps would have taken him, but this song, still rough and untitled, is a brief reminder that no matter how unexpected the direction he was going in, it would have been worth listening to.
For the full version of the song from the tribute concert, jump to 3:23:00 below.