cover image Most Dope: The Extraordinary Life of Mac Miller

Most Dope: The Extraordinary Life of Mac Miller

Paul Cantor. Abrams, $25.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-4197-4800-4

In this engrossing debut, journalist Cantor unpacks the complex legacy of Mac Miller (1992–2018), “a rapper who spent his life... explor[ing] the space between his own madness and genius.” Born Malcolm McCormick in Pittsburgh, Pa., Miller grew up in a house “full of art and music.” By his teens, he was rapping at his Jewish summer camp’s Shabbat Concerts and, in 2008, he released his first album with his hip-hop group, Ill Spoken. After going solo under the moniker “Mac Miller” (Miller was a family name), his freestyling prowess got him signed to the indie label Rostrum Records. Cantor briskly recounts how this catapulted Miller from Pittsburgh’s underground rap scene to becoming an international sensation, before inking a $10-million deal with Warner Bros. in 2015, and releasing “the best album of his career” with 2018’s Swimming. While he extols Miller’s outsize talents, Cantor also candidly reckons with the rapper’s inner demons: his fame, for one, plagued him, and while “his openness about his battle with substance abuse endeared him to many,” it was Miller’s addiction that led to his fatal accidental overdose. In doing so, Cantor offers a raw look at the struggles that fueled Miller’s most enduring creations. Fans won’t want to miss this. (Jan.)