To his rap peers, Mac Miller was a friend who provided light in and out of the booth. At the time of his sudden passing earlier this month, countless members of the hip-hop community eulogized the creative on social media, including Big Sean.
The two might’ve collaborated on one song–”Hundred Dollar Bill Skyscraper” in 2012–but Sean says they developed a friendship he won’t forget. “I shed a lot of tears because I knew the type of person he was,” he told VIBE after his performance in Atlanta for One MusicFest (Sept. 8). “He was a great dude, he had a positive energy about him and was just gone way too soon.”
Sean looked back on their unique first encounter which happened in 2008 while Mac waited in line during a meet and greet for the-then buzzworthy rapper. At the time, Sean released his first two projects in the Finally Famous mixtape series.
“I’m saying this in the very most humble way, we first met when he came to my meet and greet as a fan and said that he raps,” he explained. “I signed his mixtape. That same night I was performing but he was poppin’. He hopped on the mic and everyone knew who he was, I wasn’t familiar with him but this had to be before he dropped K.I.D.S. Ever since then, we’ve just always been cool.”
Miller released his fourth mixtape K.I.D.S. in 2010. From there, he went on to release Best Day Ever, which featured the breakout hit “Donald Trump.” His sound changed over the years as he worked with the likes of Kendrick Lamar, The Internet, and Bial, but always remained true to his artistry. After his death from a suspected overdose, seven of Miller’s albums including his latest release Swimming entered the Billboard 200 album charts.
Similar stories have been told about the creative from fellow friends like Rapsody, Chance The Rapper and Wiz Khalifa. Thousands of fans were able to honor the late rapper last week at Blue Slide Park in Pittsburg in the form of live tribute art.
In addition to taking a break from social media, Sean opened up about a newfound love–singing. The “Moves” rapper is currently taking vocal lessons and learning how to play the piano. He also shared how Jhene Aiko provided his first opportunity to toy with crafting R&B jams.
“I feel like I have a good natural tone and my vocal teacher told me I have a really good voice so I’ve been working on it, doing my vocal warm-ups, just taking my craft a little more seriously,” said. “All I ever wanted to be was a rapper but lately, I’ve been writing songs.”
Sean says he was able to dive deep into melodic jams while working with Aiko on their soulful but futuristic Twenty88 album and the singer’s sophomore album, Trip.
“I wrote a song on her last album too called “Moments.” She wrote some stuff too but I wrote most of it,” he said. “She was the first person to ever let me do something like that. I’m just trying to get more into that. It feels natural, it feels right.”