Back in September of 2018 hip hop lost a major light in this world with the sudden passing of Mac Miller. Miller would have been turning 27 years old today, January 19th. The Pittsburg rapper has been part of the Power 106 family since the early days of his career from performing at Bear Mountain in 2012 to multiple interviews for his various album releases with DJ Felli Fel, The L.A. Leakers, and The Cruz Show.
On August 3rd, 2018 Miller released his fifth studio album Swimming and followed by holding two intimate shows in Los Angeles at a spot in Hollywood called The Hotel Cafe. J Cruz had the privilege of being one of the people in attendance and sat down to reflect on some of the memories he had with Mac and also shared what the experience was like being part of what he didn’t know would be the last Mac Miller show he’d ever attend.
Cruz, tell us about the first time you met Mac, do you recall?
I met him for the first time for an interview here at the station (Power 106). I was really happy to meet him and did not disappoint. The first time we interviewed him was when I was on the Liftoff with Justin Credible. We had a lot of fun with him, if you go back on the Youtube video you’ll see.
I felt this way before he passed and still to this day about the last time we had him on The Cruz Show... I knew Mac had a sense of humor so I didn’t really talk music with him, I went ahead and was being silly and I think I took an L in that interview looking back… I worry I came off as wasting his time going for humor trying to personize him. I learned a lot from that interview, and I thank god he didn’t walk out because he was cool to go along with it. He always made sure everyone else was happy before him.
What were your first thoughts on his album Swimming?
When I heard it, it reminded me of the Mac that first caught my attention, YouTube Mac in a weird way.. not that he strayed away from that but as an artists career progresses so does their sound. Listening to Swimming reminded me a lot of that feeling of where I was when I first heard his music.
You had the opportunity to attend his show in Hollywood right after he released Swimming, fans waited hours to be able to secure one of the very few spots in the venue. What was the energy like being in there among some of his biggest fans?
It was so cool man, everyone was there to see him and they were so happy. Mac had gone through a very public break up and a rough patch struggling with addiction so seeing him on stage with the band…the energy was right… the vibe was so right, he gave that little room a gift before he left this world.
“What’s the Use” #MacMiller, this was the second time he ever performed this in front of a crowd, the energy was undeniable in that small room filled with fans. #Swimming pic.twitter.com/cgmfESz4w0
— Mckenzie H (@mckenziehollis) January 18, 2019
“Hurt Feelings” #MacMiller performing at The Hotel Cafe in Hollywood #Swimming pic.twitter.com/AnxZwHBKJt
— Mckenzie H (@mckenziehollis) January 18, 2019
You had a moment after the show to go back to his dressing room, what was that conversation like?
We talked about the crowd and the vibe. Mac said “I told my manager I just want to do a million shows like this but that would cost us millions of dollars” and we all just laughed. CeeLo was also in the room hanging out with his wife along with Mac’s parents, that was the first time I got to meet them. His dad was talking to him and said “Hey is that J Cruz?! I should meet him!” and Mac responded with “Yo excuse me my dad wants to meet J Cruz!” it was such a funny and candid moment. I grabbed a picture (see above) and got out of his way because the venue was small and the green room was even smaller.
This was a few weeks back, I told Mac how much I appreciated small worlds off of #Swimming, his latest project. I met his parents that night, it was dope to see him on stage happy and receiving love. Rest In Peace #Macmiller. Prayers up for your family, friends and fans. pic.twitter.com/fOm5GXacwO
— KIM K’S #1 FAN (@JCRUZ106) September 8, 2018
After watching his performance, what was your favorite track off of Swimming?
“Small Worlds”, I complimented him on it backstage about how I loved the sound of the track on some nerdy dumb shit… I wish I had a better compliment for him but when he performed that one people went crazy. Mac shared with me that his manager was saying that song was the one and he was right about that because when he performed it everyone was singing along.
How happy were you to see Swimming got Grammy Nominated for Best Rap Album?
Man..I wish his parents a lot of luck because I know they’ll be there. Even if he doesn’t win, Mac Miller will continue to win for a very long time because his music will stand the test of time.
Any final thoughts?
Wow.. It’s crazy so many artists have thanked Mac Miller for ways he helped them and a lot of us didn’t know about it. Mac wanted you to smile so he could smile, when he started videos on YouTube I think it inspired artists like Big Sean and so many more behind him.
He brought something so special and carried that til the day he passed. He had a short time here and I wonder if he ever had a premonition that maybe he knew he wasn’t going to be here on earth very long… but he made sure to leave his footprint on hip hop.
A lot of artists and radio have continued to thank him for his music. He was a radio artist, an amazing producer, he was also a good son and an incredible human being. He wanted to make sure he knew that about yourself before him… it’s true man his spirit was something special. RIP.