Mac Miller’s tragic passing at 26 has shocked many students at Montclair State University. The rapper, whose songs include “100 Grandkids” and “Best Day Ever” died Saturday in his San Fernando Valley, California home of a suspected overdose.
“I’m kind of shocked,” said senior theater studies major Charles Cobbertt. “Drugs are a big deal and if you’re stuck on it for a while, it can just end your life and that’s how you know drugs aren’t cool.”
Richard D’Andrea, a junior majoring in chemistry, found his passing saddening.
“I wish I listened to more of his music when he was around so I could’ve appreciated it, like [artist] Lil Peep,” D’Andrea said. “We won’t get that kind of music again.”
Students, like undeclared sophomore Sarah Kajian, considered Miller an inspiration in the rap world.
“I listened to him when I was younger,” Kajian said. “It’s hard because I’m not really into the music scene, but he’s sort of an inspiration to that genre of rap.”
For many, Miller’s music was a coming-of-age staple.
“I was really into Mac Miller when I was a kid,” Christian Curatola said, a senior double majoring in history and television and digital media. “I always kept up with his work. He was an integral part of me growing up. I figured he’d be one of those people who’d retire early and live on it because he seemed pretty chill.”
Many students, including undeclared sophomore Miranda Grasso, were upset to see the media focus so much on one of Miller’s ex-girlfriends, Ariana Grande.
“They’re not really focusing on him or his death, but her reaction and what it means for her,” Grasso said.
Some students consider the involvement of Grande by the media to be a disservice in the mourning of Miller.
“It seems weird that everyone’s blaming Ariana Grande,” said Linda Nenonene, a sophomore getting her BFA in acting. “It’s not her problem, not her fault. It’s not her job to make sure Mac Miller is alive. It’s completely irrational that now that she’s engaged to another guy, people are saying ‘Oh you should’ve stayed with him. This is your fault.’ That’s utterly unfair.”
Others think that as someone who spent years in a relationship with the rapper, it is only natural for Grande’s take on his death to be sought out.
“When I first heard about his death, my mind went to ‘Oh my God, what’s happening to Ariana?'” said sophomore music therapy major Gabrielle Salzarulo. “Like how she felt about it, but then I realized wait, that’s not her responsibility and not how I should be looking at it. He’s been dealing with depression and substance abuse for years. I wasn’t that much of a fan but I hate when people die.”
Shane Furst, a senior studying audio design, tried to find a silver lining in the tragedy.
“I think it gives more people a reason to listen to his music, even though that’s not really a good thing, but I guess it’s a positive outcome,” Furst said.
While speculation over details around the musician’s death has created a stir, at Montclair State the rapper’s legacy seems to be a positive one.
“When I found out he died it was weird to see how affected I was because he was such a big part of my upbringing,” Curatola said. “It felt genuinely weird and uncomfortable. It made me go back and listen to his stuff again, but it made me still feel happy. I hope his legacy is, at least for me, and everyone else will hopefully feel a similar way: content and relaxation.”