Once You Let Music into Your Soul, It Never Dies

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Tell me what you listen to and I will tell you who you are.

Music is the transcription of emotions. Music is an eruption of the soul. Music can evoke our laughter, our fears, and our greatest aspirations. Through our identities, we can both unify ourselves by emphasizing similarities and differentiate ourselves to create our own unique person; however, from these identities we are able to create community, maintain cultural ties, bring change, negotiate alternatives, and reinforce shared values. Music, especially as an adolescent, is one of the key factors in building identity because it helps people gain a sense of self and make sense of their emotions. The musical renderings of Mac Miller have affected Keshav Bhatnager’s cultural and social identity by helping him gain a better sense of himself and the world around him, while also giving him a community that he previously likely would have never found.

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The Stoner Poet was known for capturing the euphoric highs and gutting lows of life observantly. Malcom James McCormick, known professionally as Mac Miller, was an American rapper and record producer. He started his career as a rapper at the age of fourteen and released his own mixtape at the age of fifteen, but his breakout occurred in 2010 and 2011. His words were usually intelligible and studiously crafted, but he thrived less on content and more on form and feeling. His music is very unique. Unlike any other type of rap that Keshav heard at the time, “he had a different voice, as well as a different style, and the messages that he tried to convey in his music were things that were not already being conveyed in conventional rap.” For example, in his song come back to earth the entire song is about him feeling trapped in his own head. The song came out recently and all of the lyrics are relatable to anyone who has experienced anxiety, loneliness, or any sort of hopelessness, a stark contrast to the numerous songs about sex, love, and drugs on the market. He raps “I got neighbors. They’re more like strangers. We could be friends I just need a way out of my head.” On September 7, 2018, Miller died of a suspected drug overdose. Keshav was first introduced to Mac Miller through two of his close friends, while they went out to get food. During this time, he was going through some emotional changes, as most teenagers do. He used to be very anxious and nervous, so he was trying to figure out who he was as a person and who he wanted to be. Mac Miller helped him figure all of that out. Music can change the world because it has the ability to change people. When he listens to Mac Miller’s earlier music, Keshav immediately thinks of energy, hope and life. His music evokes feelings that the world is in the palm of your hands; however, as his career progressed, Miller’s music changed to a slower and more thoughtful music. When he listens to music from this point in time, he thinks introspectively. “You become very conscious of yourself and your surroundings. It makes people think about the mentality of they have towards themselves and the people around them. Everyone has their own lives and their own struggles.” With his later music, Miller is focused more on the beat in the background as well as the meaning of lyrics, when compared to his earlier music, as opposed to just including lyrics for the sake of having them, which is what makes them more thoughtful. Mac Miller made him consider why things are the way they are in life and how he can change them. In the grand scheme of things, an individual person is so small, so what can you do to make an impact.

His favorite old song of his is “The Spins” and his favorite new song of his is “Come Back to Earth.” “The Spins” is his favorite old song because he really likes the beat in the background. Also, the lyrics and song in general are very erratic, which reflects the state of mind of being a teenager or young adult who is still trying to figure out his/her life. “Come Back to Earth” is my favorite song of his because there is not a single lyric in that song that does not carry deep and heavy meaning. My favorite lyrics from “Come Back to Earth” is “I was drowning, but now I’m swimming,” because at this time Mac Miller was going through lots of tough times in his life and, in a song that exemplify sadness, it showed a glimmer of hope, happiness, and self-awareness.

The emotional point in his life when he listens to Mac Miller a lot, specifically with his old music, is when he felt a sense of accomplishment, triumph, excitement, and hope for the future. Now when he listens to his newer music it’s more self-reflective. Miller’s music affected his mentality and how he goes about his life on a day-to-day basis. It makes him more aware of how others are feeling and how people’s outside never truly reflect their inside.

Mac Miller’s death seemed extremely surreal to him since his music has change how he carries himself for a third of his entire life. When he saw that Miller died, he realized how rapidly life changes. He still sees his music under the same light that as when he made it for the first time because, as a long-time fan, he knows that he would have wanted his music to be carried on for the reasons he wrote it at the time.

Music is a unifying force. Something that people who differ on everything else can have in common. Mac Miller’s music is very widespread and reached a lot of different audiences and demographics. He raps about his experiences with a lot of different things that people can relate to. His music gives Keshav an opportunity to connect with people who he normally would not have found an immediate similarity with, but because his music was very widespread, a few of the friendships that he has formed now have been solidified by Mac Miller’s music and all of their appreciation for it. Mac Miller’s music made it very apparent that even high-profile celebrities, who seem to have it all, undergo the same struggles that everyone else does mentally and that it’s something that relates all humans. The love of Mac Miller’s music had brought him closer to two people who he hasn’t been close to before and they all recognize the fact that Mac Miller and his music were the things that sparked their friendship and today they’re some of his best friends.

Once you let music into your soul, it never dies. The music that you listen to becomes a part of yourself forever. Music helps you process your emotions, make sense of your emotional life, and connects to something within you that makes you feel like your understood. Keshav listens to Mac Miller to connect with people or escape from reality, but also to make sense of his emotional life and confront his fears. Where words seem to fail, music speaks to people.

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